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5 Takeaways from HIMSS21

​​I’ve been to many HIMSS events, and this one was certainly different. Talking to people wearing masks and making real connections was frankly not as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, the reduced size actually made the whole experience a little more relaxed. One thing that wasn’t different was the opportunity to have some great conversations.

We had around 80 people at our Future of Health Pavillion presentation on “Breaking Through the Barriers to Production Level AI with AI as a Service,” and a really thought-provoking discussion in our AI/ML Roundtable “Coffee Talk.” Traffic at the booth was steady and kept us all very busy.

After three intense days of conversation and observation, followed by a little time to reflect, these are my five big takeaways from this year’s HIMSS event:

1) Healthcare is fragmented but working hard to integrate beyond the EHR. It seems clear the EHR is not the solution on which personalized patient journeys designed to improve outcomes and experiences will be based. AI, VC backing, and increased executive willingness to engage with startups are driving many companies to deliver improved solutions to areas formally dominated by the EHRs.

2) Intelligent solutions are the future.  You won’t see a healthcare entry from the operational or clinical side that isn’t using AI or machine learning to make a process smarter. And this only makes sense given the available data and the outsized opportunity for improvement.

3) Data platforms are sprouting up everywhere. With the need for more, and higher quality, data necessary to drive insights, data platforms that collect, curate, and deliver data solutions are rapidly growing and expanding their offerings.

4) Healthcare is finding AI hard to do. Healthcare organizations that focus on treating patients and improving outcomes need help getting to that elusive “AI-driven,”or even better, “AI-first” status. Building out an internal AI company isn’t the way to go. AI vendors will need to step up to regulatory, accuracy, and privacy requirements unique to healthcare.

5) Leaders are open to new models of outsourcing complexity to increase speed.   As competition becomes more intense, and legacy technology platforms fail to deliver the necessary ROI to drive competitive advantage, the old ways of “IT working with the business” are fading.  Companies are becoming technology and data driven. Platforms must be able to deliver AI-driven insights to increase the quality of care while lowering the cost of it. Leaders are looking for ways to work with partners who can force multiply their own data, resources, and expertise.

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Bill Fox

Bill Fox is the Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences, SambaNova Systems

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