With so much going on in health IT, it can be difficult to keep track of all the buzzwords. Here’s your quick and easy guide.
1. IoT –Internet of Things
This term encompasses the overall trend toward connectivity and computing in more and more devices. In healthcare, the increase in wearables and more use of smartphones and other mobile devices to connect with patients show that more everyday items will be connected to improve patient care. The goal of these devices and technology is to make healthcare a seamless part of consumers’ lives, says Ben Alexander, MD, chief medical information officer at WakeMed Health and Hospitals, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based not-for-profit health system.
“In healthcare, this will become more important as we try to keep patients healthy and away from the healthcare system, but are still responsible for their health outcomes,” Alexander says.
Continuous glucose monitors, fetal monitors, blood pressure and other health condition monitors are examples of how IoT technology has permeated healthcare. Ultimately, the goal of the increase in patient data will allow providers the opportunity to make better decision that lead to better outcomes, Alexander says.
“The rise and spread of wearables like the fitbit, smartwatches, and smartphones will give us a huge amount of data about our patient’s lives that we’ve never had access to,” Alexander says.
2. Data Mining
With all the different types of data being generated in healthcare, finding ways to interpret and analyze it is a very important part of the process. The amount of data generated from EHRs is just one source of the huge amount of data available in the healthcare system.
Data mining examines large databases to generate new information. As data increases, it will be important for healthcare organizations to be able to uncover patterns of patient behavior that can improve future outcomes, says David Martin, vice president of IT and operational systems at Guardian Pharmacy Services, which partners with independent pharmacies to utilize human capital management, revenue cycle management, financial reporting, and other business services.
“Modern healthcare businesses produce a tremendous amount of data on a daily basis,” he says. “Good data mining allows leaders to spot trends and predict behaviors, across almost every functional area.”
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term that has been used in science fiction, but now has real world implications. In healthcare, it refers to devices and programs that use reasoning, natural language, processing, machine learning and human interaction to learn over time. AI technology in healthcare acts as an assistant to broader cognitive computing systems in determining processes and decisions, says Jaspinder Grewal, CEO of CareSkore, a population health management technology company that utilizes artificial intelligence.
“Cognitive computing acts as an advisor. Artificial intelligence takes that a step further by acting as an assistant.”
Healthcare organizations are already using AI technology to mine patient data, study genomics, and improve financial operations. A report by CB Insights released in February 2017 estimates there are more than 100 AI companies with a healthcare focus.