2017 Health IT Leadership Summit Insights

Arnall Golden Gregory was a gold sponsor of the Health IT Leadership Summit, held on November 7, 2017 in metro Atlanta. More than 500 people attended the Summit, which was created in 2010 by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. Discussion at the Summit covered a broad range of timely and important topics, including artificial intelligence, value-based care, cybersecurity and consumer digital health. To help guide health IT businesses, Arnall Golden Gregory created a “legal health check,” which you can read here.

Cost slows pace of change  
Improving healthcare rests not only on advancing technology and the infrastructure that supports the technology, but changing consumer behavior when it comes to healthy living and taking medicine. Not surprisingly, cost hampers the pace of change. “The common theme is, how is the money flowing?” Jodie Braner, Summit chairperson, told the audience midway through the event.

Sharing data, protecting data – a delicate balance
One of the biggest technology challenges in healthcare is properly managing and sharing electronic health records without compromising security. During the cybersecurity discussion it was noted that employees often unwittingly trigger security breaches. Panelist Mark Ray of the investigation firm Nardello & Co. said a national policy is needed to establish uniform standards for storing and managing clinical data.

Employee training, awareness critical to cybersecurity
Kevin Coy, a partner on Arnall Golden Gregory’s Healthcare IT Industry Team who attended the Summit, advised that “companies can and should employ policies, as well as physical and technical measures, to reduce the chances of a data breach, but the importance of employee training and awareness initiatives cannot be overstated. The more that employees are sensitized to the importance of protecting personal data and techniques that cybercriminals may use to obtain data, whether by social engineering, phishing or otherwise, the better the company’s efforts to protect itself will be.”

Innovations will present new privacy challenges
Weighing data sharing against data protection will become even more critical as innovations are adopted. In the future, wearable devices and even particles in the bloodstream (nanotechnology) will collect data to measure biological changes and predict the likelihood of disease, Melissa Bader, global program manager at Google, said during a panel discussion. Ryan Jones, CEO of Florence Healthcare, which makes a document management tool, said that as data portability improves, consumers will have more healthcare choices.

AI, machine learning will change care
Morning keynote speaker Shahid Shah, known on the internet as “The Healthcare IT Guy,” said the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning will change provider roles dramatically. Future technology will sift health data, generate questions and provide answers, empowering non-doctors, Shah said.

‘White noise’ data wastes physician time
Currently, doctors are said to be the world’s “highest paid clerical workers” as they spend hours combing through data to find a nugget of useful information. Large amounts of “white-noise” data increase the risk that important information will be missed, commented panelist Dr. Michael Koriwchak. The afternoon keynote speaker, Dr. Chesley Richard of the CDC, said interoperability between public health and healthcare needs to improve to make better use of collected data.

Has your healthcare IT organization done a legal-health check-up? Please go here to read Arnall Golden Gregory’s list of eight issues that are vitally important to health IT businesses.