3 Takeaways from HIMSS19

Posted by Alison Arthur on 19 Feb 2019

Alacriti was privileged to attend the HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition hosted February 11-15, 2019 in Orlando, FL. In addition to our insightful conversations with attendees and exhibitors, we also sat in on educational sessions to gain a deeper understanding of the latest topics in health information and technology. Here are three takeaways.

1. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) aren’t new concepts in healthcare, but their time has finally arrived.

AI and ML are no longer hypothetical ideas in healthcare. Rather, they are actively being applied to create valuable benefits for both healthcare providers and their patients. In the session, “Using Machine Learning to Drive Innovation-Driven Healthcare”, the panelists shared real-life applications of how AI and ML are coming to life. One example is finding the right clinical trials for the right patients at the right time. AI and ML allow providers to scan approximately 11,000 documents per hour to find the right match, potentially expediting access to effective treatments and even cures. In addition, AI and ML can help structure text in medical records, make billing/reimbursement more efficient, and reduce administrative waste.

2. Voice assistants have the potential to completely transform interactions between healthcare providers and electronic health record (EHR) systems.

EHR systems offer many perks to healthcare providers but navigating the trove of information they contain can be cumbersome. Macros were developed to help providers locate specific data quickly, but they require pre-scripted, exact phrases to work. Voice assistants are emerging as a tool that can help streamline these interactions and locate information quickly using natural language processing (NLP).

A team from Vanderbilt University Medical Center shared their experiences developing a voice assistant for EHR in their session, “Transforming EHR Interactions Using Voice Assistants.” They explored the benefits of using natural voice commands to quickly retrieve pertinent information from patients’ records. They also discussed some of the challenges they encountered in developing their voice assistant including context, intent, latency, and the right balance between brevity and clarity. While some providers might balk at the amount of work required on the back end to make them work, voice assistants can make the valuable information contained in EHR more accessible than ever.

3. PCI DSS compliance isn’t just the IT department’s responsibility.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is a complex, multi-faceted endeavor for organizations of all sizes. However, that complexity only grows as organizations get bigger. In the session, “Streamline PCI Compliance in a Diverse Hospital Environment”, the speakers took a deeper dive into approaching PCI DSS compliance in a large hospital environment.

A key topic of discussion was the question of who owns responsibility for PCI DSS compliance in a large organization. While the task tends to get assigned to the IT department, the Treasury department should have a stake in the process too. The ideal approach is for IT and Treasury to partner together and consult with merchant processors and acquiring banks for additional guidance.

Hospitals are a prime example of many small merchants making up a larger organization. For example, one of the panelists cited that, in his experience, approximately 80% of all payment transactions in a hospital are generated from the cafeteria. Hospital parking and gift shops are other key drivers of payment transactions. Interviewing people throughout the organization to learn how they accept payments and identifying any non-compliant workarounds are keys to improving security and compliance throughout the entire organization.

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Alison Arthur Product and Content Marketing Manager Alison creates timely product marketing and thought leadership content that keeps Alacriti's community informed on the latest developments in billing and payments technology. With a background in payments and financial services, Alison specializes in composing content related to technology, security, compliance, and overall industry trends.

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