From the fabled pink socks to networking events – including the coffee line – the event is all about making connections. While the personal element of making connections is one aspect of this year’s conference, a major conference theme is enabling the many and varied health IT tools make connections too.
“We’ve talked about interoperability for years without making any significant headway,” said Dave Nesvisky, senior director of NetApp’s healthcare team. “Finally, however, we seem to have reached the tipping point where we must make it happen to deliver better patient outcomes and we can make it happen because we have better data management and integration tools available.”
Nesvisky noted that several factors have coalesced to get healthcare organizations to this tipping point. “On the one hand there are pressures from patients who are now used to being able to access records online. Then there is the pressure to drive down costs for healthcare providers, payers, and pharmaceutical companies to keep help care affordable. At the same time, there’s more collaboration in healthcare in areas like genomic and pharmaceutical research and we’re creating more complex medical images and have the opportunity to use all the data that we have access to, to improve population health.”
With healthcare organizations now adopting cloud-based technologies there’s a firm foundation in place enabling providers, researchers, and payers to access and integrate this data and unlock its potential. “Even if an application can’t go into the cloud, by using all flash systems and our Data Fabric platform, the vital information can be shared quickly and seamlessly,” said Nesvisky.
The ability to share and move data quickly is a boon to healthcare providers, most of whom have struggled with latency and its negative impact on patient outcomes. “Latency is particularly critical when dealing with acute care situations that physicians face every day in the ICU or the emergency room,” said Nesvisky. “If the IT organization has implemented a non-disruptive data management platform like NetApp’s, they can arrive at a diagnosis more quickly, which results in more lives saved and better patient outcomes.”
So, with all these positive steps forward to more connected healthcare, what are the major issues left to solve in Nesvisky’s opinion? “Being able to share data freely and quickly between patient and provider, between providers, and with researchers is such an important step for the healthcare industry, but it heightens one of the other, long-lived problems – data privacy and security,” he shared.
“Even if you encrypt, secure, and lock data away, it isn’t private if nearly everyone in the organization has access to it and is using it for whatever purpose they choose,” he explained. “Similarly, you may have a good process in place, in which only certain people have access to the data, but it is sitting unencrypted on a drive somewhere, leaving it vulnerable to misuse and, more than likely, theft.”
“If you build security after the fact, you are always going to be playing catch-up to attackers,” Nesvisky cautioned. “The bottom line for healthcare organizations is to find a solutions provider that has market-leading capabilities that are unique in the data management space, so they can achieve operational efficiency and reduce what can be an administrative burden for dealing with things like privacy and security in their already hectic operational lives,” he concluded.
Book at meeting to talk about these topics and more with Dave Nesvisky at HIMSS here.