CONNECTED HEALTH CONFERENCE • Boston, MA • October 25-27, 2017
By Nick Dougherty, Program Director, PULSE@MassChallenge.
In 2011 I was told by a hospital CIO that there would never be a cloud-based technology in his hospital. Six years later, cloud is standard. US healthcare finds itself in a state of fundamental transformation--its payment and its technology appear very different today than even a few years ago.
The transition to value-based care requires better care outside the four walls of the hospital, improved efficiency, better outcomes, and happier patients (list not exhaustive). Technology promotes itself as the ultimate solution, a turnkey that unlocks value, but the desire for solutions, and the solutions themselves, have not yet fully come together.
There’s a cultural barrier built on the reasonable foundation of privacy and security that prevents new technology from achieving market traction quickly. Startups with 12-18 months of runway cannot survive a 24-month adoption cycle slowed, in-part, by fear of risk due to industry interpretations of HIPAA guidelines. As a result of these concerns, health IT vendors built closed systems to protect against hackers (and competition). Providers, fearing breaches enacted restrictive policies.
Cracks in the cultural roadblocks appeared when legacy vendors began to collaborate together through a public-private partnership with the federal government to deploy more robust API capabilities (largely through FHIR). These actions enabled new technology to be built on legacy infrastructure. Providers, payors, device companies, pharma, etc. launched innovation initiatives to collaborate better with startups. These two worlds are starting to come together through partnerships like Brigham and Women’s recently announced partnership with Redox to enable new technology partners to more rapidly integrate with the Brigham’s systems.
Technology in healthcare is normalizing towards an open-source, open-system, and API-enabled framework. The cloud comes to the clinic. Digital health is open for business.
There are still problems to solve. Digital health won’t stay open if the business of healthcare isn’t willing to use these new advances in technology. It won’t stay open if startups don’t prepare for the real risks their technologies present. It won’t stay open if we cannot collaborate at scale. Startups and their solutions cannot survive the process of making one-off solutions for each client. They need standard requirements at scale between organizations and regions. What’s exciting is that we have examples of digital health working and ways to implement those solutions successfully. This is doable.
For the first time, the nation’s digital and connected health innovation hubs are convening to discuss how to accelerate collaboration and successfully deploy digital health solutions at scale. If you have problems you want solved or solutions that need scale, join Bruce Greenstein (CTO of HHS) and countless other innovators at Fueling the Innovation Economy in Connected Health – An Ecosystem Approach on October 25th at the Connected Health Conference for an interactive, collaborative, and output-oriented day focused on implementing the future of healthcare.