In an era marked by rapid technological evolution, the healthcare industry in the United States is making significant strides towards a digitally-enhanced future. A recent study conducted by Information Services Group (ISG), a prominent global technology research and advisory institution, sheds light on this transformative journey. The findings, encapsulated in the 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Healthcare Digital Services report, underscore a concerted move by healthcare providers and insurers towards embracing digital health tools, aiming to bolster the efficiency, accessibility, and quality of healthcare services.
At the heart of this digital shift are integrated electronic health records (EHRs) and patient-centric applications. These innovations are enabling healthcare organisations to monitor patients with greater precision, facilitate seamless data exchange among healthcare professionals, and offer tailored wellness advice directly to patients. The implications of such advancements are profound, enhancing patient care and operational efficiencies across the board.
Bob Krohn, a healthcare partner at ISG, highlights the transformative impact of this trend. He points out that as the industry gains a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health, there is a growing emphasis on utilising technology to promote health equity and outcome-focused care. This modernisation wave is not only about adopting new technologies but also about rethinking approaches to healthcare to ensure it is more inclusive and outcome-oriented.
A critical aspect of this transformation is the collaboration between providers and insurance companies. This partnership is pivotal in identifying and supporting the most vulnerable segments of the population. By integrating technology with a deep understanding of the social factors influencing health, the sector aims to foster behavioural changes that could lead to significant improvements in public health. Technologies such as EHRs, machine learning, and predictive analytics are at the forefront of these efforts, enabling a more personalised, holistic approach to healthcare.
The report also highlights a shift towards more cost-effective healthcare services, particularly under Medicare, through partnerships between providers and insurance companies. This move towards value-based care, which prioritises quality over quantity, is not just improving patient outcomes but is also presenting providers with new growth and competitive opportunities.
Furthermore, Generative AI (GenAI) is identified as a burgeoning technological wave poised to redefine the healthcare industry. With many organisations planning substantial investments in GenAI solutions over the next five years, there is anticipation of significant impacts on healthcare technology and economics. ISG predicts that GenAI will prompt a reevaluation of current projects, with technology service providers ready to guide enterprises through these transitions.
The exploration of healthcare technology trends extends to integrated health platforms and the increasing need for electronic medical record migration services. Moreover, the report delves into challenges such as talent shortages and the integration of new technologies with existing systems, offering insights and recommendations for addressing these issues.
The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Healthcare Digital Services report evaluates 39 providers across three categories: Payer Digital Transformation Services, Provider Digital Transformation Services, and Healthcare Platform Implementation Services. It recognises leaders in the field, including Accenture, Cognizant, and HCLTech, among others, for their outstanding contributions across various segments. Additionally, companies like CitiusTech and Persistent Systems are acknowledged as Rising Stars, indicating their promising potential in the healthcare digital services landscape.
This comprehensive report, available for subscribers or through a one-time purchase, offers an invaluable resource for understanding the dynamic changes underway in the U.S. healthcare sector and the digital innovations driving these changes forward.
Sepsis, a critical and often fatal response to infection that causes widespread inflammation and organ damage, is a major health concern, claiming the lives of approximately 350,000 Americans annually. Timely detection is crucial for effective treatment, involving prompt administration of antibiotics and intravenous fluids to stabilise the patient.
Researchers at UC San Diego Health have been exploring the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance early sepsis diagnosis. Their internally developed AI system, named COMPOSER, utilises machine learning and is trained on over 100,000 digital patient records from previous sepsis cases. A recent study published in the journal npj Digital Medicine has demonstrated the potential of COMPOSER in reducing mortality rates.
COMPOSER operates by analysing electronic health records of emergency patients at UCSD every hour. It evaluates various parameters, including medication histories and recent vital statistics, to identify individuals who may be in the initial stages of sepsis. This approach is particularly beneficial in ambiguous cases, where symptoms do not distinctly indicate sepsis.
Dr. Gabriel Wardi, a co-author of the study and a specialist in emergency medicine and sepsis, highlights the algorithm’s significance in situations where diagnostic clarity is lacking. The system acts as an additional tool for medical professionals, suggesting further examination of patients at risk of developing sepsis, thereby facilitating timely intervention.
The study involved 6,217 emergency patients at UCSD’s Hillcrest and La Jolla emergency departments. Comparing the outcomes of 5,000 patients treated before the implementation of COMPOSER with 1,152 patients during its active phase, researchers observed a reduction in sepsis mortality from 11.39% to 9.5%. While these results are promising, they represent correlations rather than direct cause-and-effect, due to the non-randomised nature of the trial.
Karin Molander, director of the Sepsis Alliance, acknowledges the potential benefits of AI in healthcare, particularly in continuous monitoring without human limitations. However, she emphasises the importance of verifying AI-generated recommendations.
The implementation of COMPOSER required careful calibration to minimise false alerts, ensuring that it aids rather than burdens healthcare providers. The system, while capable of predicting sepsis, cannot replace medical professionals, who are responsible for all patient care decisions.
Shamim Nemati, a co-author and UCSD associate professor, notes the challenges in training the algorithm to differentiate between sepsis and similar conditions. The ongoing development of COMPOSER includes enhancements to request additional diagnostic tests when necessary.
UCSD is expanding the use of COMPOSER to include patients admitted to the hospital, and its application is expected to extend to the new East Campus. The integration of advanced wearable sensors and large-language models like ChatGPT into the system is also underway, aiming to improve data accuracy and reduce false alarms.
UC San Diego Health is actively incorporating AI into various aspects of patient care, having appointed its first chief AI officer and collaborating with Microsoft Inc. to utilise AI technologies like ChatGPT in routine patient communications. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to centralise data integration and maximise the benefits of AI in healthcare.Read More
The Mayo Clinic, a renowned non-profit medical institution based in Rochester, Minnesota, announced a strategic partnership with the Silicon Valley-based startup Cerebras Systems on Monday (15th of January, 2024). This collaboration aims to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in enhancing healthcare services.
With significant presences across three major campuses in the United States and additional facilities in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, the Mayo Clinic is set to utilise cutting-edge computing chips and systems supplied by Cerebras. The collaboration will delve into the Mayo Clinic’s extensive archive of anonymised medical records and data, laying the groundwork for the development of bespoke AI models.
According to Matthew Callstrom, Mayo’s Medical Director for Strategy and Chair of the Radiology Department, these AI models are poised to revolutionise various aspects of medical record management and diagnostics. Some models are being designed to interpret and summarise extensive medical records for new patients, streamlining the patient onboarding process. Additionally, other models will focus on identifying intricate patterns in medical imagery and genome data, patterns that might elude even the most experienced medical professionals. However, Callstrom emphasised that these systems are intended to augment medical decision-making, not replace it. The human expertise of doctors remains paramount in the clinical decision-making process.
“The integration of AI is about enhancing the decision-making process for each patient, considering the multitude of factors and drawing upon extensive experience,” Callstrom explained.
The Mayo Clinic’s collaboration with Cerebras is anticipated to yield results that will be accessible via the Mayo Clinic Platform. This platform is a comprehensive data network already utilised by various healthcare systems such as Mercy in the U.S., the University Health Network in Canada, and other systems in Brazil and Israel.
While the pricing model for the AI technology developed through this partnership has not been finalised, Callstrom indicated that the Mayo Clinic intends to disclose further details about this venture during a presentation at JPMorgan Chase’s healthcare conference in San Francisco.
Andrew Feldman, CEO of Cerebras, described the deal as a multi-million-dollar agreement spanning several years, though he refrained from disclosing specific financial details. Cerebras, aspiring to compete with industry leaders like Nvidia, will provide both the necessary hardware and software development expertise as part of the agreement. This collaboration marks a significant step in integrating advanced AI capabilities into the healthcare sector, aiming to enhance patient care through technological innovation.Read More
A pivotal conference in Hanoi, sponsored by the government, has recently brought together health authorities and experts from Vietnam and Australia. This gathering focused on exploring collaborative opportunities to enhance Vietnam’s digital healthcare infrastructure and capabilities.
The conference saw participation from the Vietnam Military–Civil Medicine Association, the Health Strategy and Policy Institute under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, and the Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.
The significance of this event lies in addressing the urgent need for Vietnam’s health sector to secure resources for its digital transformation. Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Tran Van Thuan, emphasised the importance of such advancements in improving patient access to medical services. He highlighted the potential role of international cooperation and assistance in achieving these goals.
Vietnam currently faces several challenges in its journey towards healthcare digitalisation, notably its underdeveloped IT infrastructure, which hampers the support for Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Additionally, there is a notable scarcity of funding to integrate new health technologies in medical facilities across the country.
Dr Tran Quy Tuong, chairman of the Vietnam Health Informatics Association, pointed out further obstacles, such as the shortage of IT skills and manpower and the lack of standardised protocols and guidelines for integrating data across various medical information systems.
The Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute from Swinburne University of Technology, which participated in the conference, is actively engaging in collaborations with governments and industry stakeholders. Their focus includes the management of patient health records among other digital health areas. However, there has been no formal announcement regarding a partnership between the research institution and the Vietnamese government.
In the broader context, Vietnam is aiming to establish smart healthcare by 2025 as part of its National Digital Transformation Programme. This initiative encompasses three key areas: smart disease prevention, smart medical examination and treatment, and smart health administration.
Vietnam commenced its healthcare digitalisation foundation in 2019 with the nationwide implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). While all public hospitals have adopted Health Information Systems (HIS), there is still progress to be made in integrating PACS, RIS, and LIS systems.
International collaborations have been crucial in introducing advanced technologies in Vietnamese healthcare. Earlier this year, IT giant Microsoft entered its first technology partnership in Vietnam, teaming up with VinBrain, a local AI healthcare company supported by Vietnam’s leading conglomerate Vingroup. Their collaboration focuses on three primary AI healthcare areas: data sharing, cross-product validation, and research and development.Read More
NHS England’s recent decision to award the £330 million Federated Data Platform (FDP) contract to US data analytics firm Palantir, in collaboration with Accenture, PwC, NECS, and Carnall Farrar, has elicited a spectrum of reactions. This announcement marks a significant step in NHS’s digital transformation efforts, with the FDP designed to connect and streamline access to healthcare data across the NHS.
Matthew Taylor, CEO of the NHS Confederation, acknowledged the FDP’s potential in enhancing care delivery by freeing up clinical time and fostering efficient, safer patient care. However, he emphasised the need for substantial efforts to garner public support for the initiative.
Contrasting opinions emerged from within the NHS. Paul Jones, Chair of the Digital Health Networks CIO Advisory Panel, expressed disappointment at NHS England’s decision to proceed despite reservations from trust digital teams and the financial constraints on other NHS digital budgets.
Nick Wilson, CEO at System C, recognised the wealth of experience within the NHS and technology companies in digital transformation but voiced disappointment over the contract not being awarded to a British consortium. He also highlighted concerns about the exclusion of GP data from the FDP, stressing the complexities of interoperability in health and social care and urging Palantir and Accenture to learn from past challenges.
The decision faced criticism from those who had campaigned against Palantir’s involvement. The Good Law Project, a not-for-profit campaign organisation, is preparing legal challenges to ensure proper handling of sensitive NHS data, focusing on maintaining privacy.
Cori Crider, Director of Foxglove, a legal advocacy organisation, raised questions about the FDP’s effectiveness, citing unsuccessful hospital trials of Palantir’s technology. Dr David Nicholl, spokesperson for Doctors’ Association UK, echoed these concerns, questioning the scrutiny around the deal and the preliminary results of NHS trials with Palantir’s technology.
David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, expressed reservations about Palantir’s suitability for handling sensitive data, citing their background in espionage and concerns about data protection.
In response to these varied perspectives, NHS England has garnered support from several organisations, including the NHS Confederation, National Voices, and the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges. National Voices CEO Jacob Lant and Dr Jeanette Dickson, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, acknowledged the FDP’s potential in driving digital innovation and enhancing data connectivity in the NHS.
To address public concerns, NHS England is developing an engagement portal for the public to learn more about the FDP and submit queries. Additionally, Dr Nicola Byrne, National Data Guardian, and Dr Nicola Perrin of the Association of Medical Research Charities have joined the independent Check and Challenge Group for the FDP, overseen by NHS England.
Furthermore, NHS England has assured that data sharing under the FDP will not commence until new ‘Privacy Enhancing Technologies’ (PET) are developed and implemented, expected by April 2024. Details on these technologies, being developed by a separate supplier, are anticipated to be released later in the year.Read More