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Healthcare has so much data but we're 'probing in the dark,' expert says at HIMSS19

AI will spur innovation in technology that comes from sources other than healthcare that will help the industry to adapt, expert says.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Hal Wolf and Gary Shapiro discuss AI and innovation at HIMSS19.Hal Wolf and Gary Shapiro discuss AI and innovation at HIMSS19.

Data and how to handle the volume of information has been a huge topic at HIMSS19. The big piece is how providers, payers and others make the data  work for the consumer and how they keep pace with new innovations.

The Office of the National Coordinator announcement on Monday for greater interoperability, especially in sharing data with patients, set the stage for  conversations all week.

"My mindset when I think about healthcare starts with a consumer point of view," said HIMSS President and CEO Hal Wolf, speaking with Gary Shapiro,
president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association and author of Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation.

"The ability to change in a fast-moving field is almost impossible," Shapiro said. "The reality is we're probing in the dark a lot."

Individual physicians cannot keep up and are starting to use clinical decision support. The physician is getting more power with AI in the background, to make a decision on the best action going forward, Wolf said.

AI got a boost from President Trump's executive order on Monday that many said was long overdue, to spur the development and regulation of artificial intelligence.

Shapiro said the marriage of healthcare and AI will increase to involve technology currently being used in the auto and cable industries and music world.

"Verticals are crossing over," Shapiro said. "You can't just learn one discipline, you have to cross over. Voice is the new meaning. Alexa is so powerful now."

When Wolf asked if there was a playbook for bringing innovation forward,
Shapiro said that the biggest threat to success is the nation's deficit and the related spiraling healthcare costs.

"Success is not assured," Shapiro said.

What keeps him awake at night is that companies will not pursue a path to innovation for fear of making a mistake.

Large companies want large strategic plans and it's hard with that mindset to adapt to change. Startups without money do not waste money and adjust along the way, he said. This only exists in a culture willing to fail.

Finland ranks highest in the just released Global Innovation Scorecard, Shapiro said. In the United States, despite having Silicon Valley, California as a state does not rate high for innovation structure. Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas and Arizona all ranked well.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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