#HIMSS18 – What, Where and How HealthIT can impact healthcare

Blog post by Colin Hung.

With the annual #HIMSS18 conference just a few weeks away, most of the industry’s attention is turning to matters relating to technology, cyber security and the regulations around HealthIT. We thought it would be fitting, therefore, to team up with the wonderful folks at @HIMSS for a tweetchat focused on technology and healthcare.

To help us, we put together four Twitter Poll questions. Please take a couple of minutes to cast your vote. Your answers will help power this week’s #hcldr chat.

I am a fan of artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality (even though I cannot physically use VR for more than 2 minutes at a time). However, the technology that I’m most intrigued by is 3D printing – specifically the 3D printing of organs and organic material.

First, there is the impact this technology could have on solving hunger and nutrition. Imagine if we could “print” healthy food in places where growing it is difficult or where shipping it is cost-prohibitive. Imagine also if we could print foods that are personalized to each person’s unique metabolism and dietary needs. The impact on public health would be significant and worldwide.

A long time ago I read a science fiction novel that talked about the advent of this type of technology: Gateway by Fredrick Pohl. The novel made frequent mention of something called CHON-food. Pohl imagined a world where CHON machines were able to replicate food by combining four key elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The advent of these machines helped to solve world hunger and ended many of the wars for water and food that that plagued the Earth. I hope we are at the start of CHON revolution.

Second, there is the impact of 3D printing on surgery and transplants. Researchers are very close to being able to print human skin using organic printers that can be used in reconstructive surgeries. The impact this technology could have on burn patients would be incredible. So too could the impact on patients that need a transplant. According to UNOS, every ten minutes someone is added to the national transplant waiting list and on average 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. With organ-printing technology these premature deaths might be prevented. Using tissue samples, organs can be printed to exactly match the patient’s physiology. Bonus: no more worries about organ rejection.

I’ve got my eye on 3D printing and over the next few years I expect it to have an impact beyond technologies like AI, machine learning and analytics. However, it’s going to take time for this technology to mature. In the meantime, there are certain areas of healthcare that can use a little boost TODAY.

Patient engagement and behavior change is an area of healthcare I hope #HealthIT will be able to help. Patients are the most untapped resource available to healthcare. Despite all the trackers, portals and video tutorials, health literacy remains extremely low. Some would argue that the widespread adoption of EHRs had even contributed to patient dis-engagement as doctors and nurses spend more time staring at screens rather than speaking to patients about their health. I see a golden opportunity in healthcare for patient engagement technology.

In the early 90s, the field of behavioral economics took shape. Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago professor who recently won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, began publishing a series of papers that combined psychology and economics. His work led many to begin studying the ways that human behavior influences financial decisions. We need to apply those same theories to healthcare and design #HealthIT systems that nudge patients (and clinicians) into healthier behaviors.

I am incredibly excited about the future of healthcare. I am certain we are making progress towards a brighter day for patients, doctors, nurses, family caregivers and administrators. As I walk the #HIMSS18 exhibit hall I will be on the hunt for companies that share this outlook and whose products show clear signs of patient/provider design input. I can’t wait for #HIMSS18 to start on Mach 5th.

Please join me on Tuesday February 20th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here) for the weekly #hcldr tweetchat where we will be discussing technology, #HealthIT and healthcare. During the chat we will also be showing the final results of the polling.

  • T1 Which tech or #HealthIT will improve healthcare the most in the next 3 years? #AI, Analytics, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, others?
  • T2 Where can tech & #HealthIT have the most positive impact in healthcare? Example: Clinical #workflow, operations, #ptengagement, communications, security, privacy.
  • T3 What is holding back interoperability in healthcare? Tech hurdles, lack of funding, lack of a use case (no demand), status quo too lucrative?
  • T4 What impact will “newcomers” like Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Apple and other consumer tech companies have on healthcare?


“3D Printing Living Organs, And Other World-Changing Ideas in Health”, Adele Peters, Fast Company, 12 April 2017, https://www.fastcompany.com/40404565/3-d-printing-living-organs-and-other-world-changing-ideas-in-health, accessed 18 February 2018

“All the Food That’s Fit To Print”, Susie Neilson, The New Yorker, 7 May 2016, https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/all-the-food-thats-fit-to-print, accessed 18 February 2018

“Could 3D Printing Solve the Organ Transplant Shortage?”, Time Lewis, The Guardian, 30 July 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/30/will-3d-printing-solve-the-organ-transplant-shortage, accessed 18 February 2018

“Printed human body parts could soon be available for transplant”, The Economist, 28 January 2017, https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21715638-how-build-organs-scratch, accessed 18 February 2018

“How AI Is Transforming The Future Of Healthcare”, Gunjan Bhardwaj, Forbes, 30 January 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/01/30/how-ai-is-transforming-the-future-of-healthcare/#13cc00fc3e60, accessed 18 February 2018

“Machine Learning, Data Science, AI, Deep Learning and Statistics – It’s All So Confusing”, John Lynn, EMR and HIPAA, 30 November 2017, https://www.emrandhipaa.com/emr-and-hipaa/2017/11/30/machine-learning-data-science-ai-deep-learning-and-statistics-its-all-so-confusing/, accessed 18 February 2018

“Artificial intelligence in healthcare: past, present and future”, Fei Jiang et al, Stroke and Vascular Neurology, 20 December 2017, http://svn.bmj.com/content/2/4/230, accessed 18 February 2018

“Future-proofing AI: Embrace machine learning now because healthcare adoption is picking up speed”, Bill Siwicki, Healthcare IT News, 3 December 2017, http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/future-proofing-ai-embrace-machine-learning-now-because-healthcare-adoption-picking-speed, accessed 18 February 2018

“AI in healthcare: The unevenly distributed future is here”, Paddy Padmanabhan, CIO, 13 July 2017, https://www.cio.com/article/3208044/artificial-intelligence/ai-in-healthcare-the-unevenly-distributed-future-is-here.html, accessed 18 February 2018

“How an AI Entity Took Control of the US Healthcare System”, Anne Zieger, EMR and HIPAA, 19 December 2017, https://www.emrandhipaa.com/katherine/2017/12/19/how-an-ai-entity-took-control-of-the-u-s-healthcare-system/, accessed 18 February 2018

“Why Virtual Reality is the Future of Healthcare”, Scott Kim, The Doctor Weighs In, 28 June 2016, https://thedoctorweighsin.com/why-virtual-reality-is-the-future-of-healthcare/, accessed 18 February 2018

“Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Where’s the Innovation?”, Alex Senson, TechCrunch, 16 September 2015, https://techcrunch.com/2015/09/16/virtual-reality-in-healthcare-wheres-the-innovation/, accessed 18 February 2018

“Rasu Shrestha, UPMC and Healthcare Innovation – Harlow On Healthcare”, David Harlow, HealthBlawg, 22 January 2018, https://healthblawg.com/2018/01/shrestha-healthcare-innovation.html, accessed 18 February 2018

“Six healthcare interoperability barriers to watch”, Donna Marbury, Managed Healthcare Executive, 1 November 2017, http://managedhealthcareexecutive.modernmedicine.com/managed-healthcare-executive/news/six-healthcare-interoperability-barriers-watch, accessed 18 February 2018

“GAO: 5 barriers to interoperability”, Bernie Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 5 October 2015, http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/gao-5-barriers-interoperability, accessed 18 February 2018

“Interoperability among US Non-federal Acute Care Hospitals, 2014”, Dustin Charles et al, The Office of the National Coordinate, https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/briefs/onc_databrief25_interoperabilityv16final_081115.pdf, August 2015, accessed 18 February 2018

“Report to Congress: Challenges and Barriers to Interoperability”, The Healthcare Information Technology Policy Committee, December 2015, https://www.healthit.gov/hitac/sites/faca/files/HITPC_Final_ITF_Report_2015-12-16%20v3.pdf, accessed 18 February 2018

“Amazon’s moves in health care over the last year are finally starting to make sense”, Christina Farr, CNBC, 30 January 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/30/amazons-early-moves-in-health-are-only-now-making-sense.html, accessed 18 February 2018

“Amazon’s health care move could be a big win for consumer health start-ups”, Christina Farr, CNBC, 30 January 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/30/amazon-health-move-big-win-for-telemedicine-health-start-ups.html, accessed 18 February 2018

“Will Salesforce Health Cloud crush the electronic medical record?”, Neil Versel, Medcity News, 1 September 2015, https://medcitynews.com/2015/09/salesforce-healthcare-emr/?rf=1, accessed 18 February 2018

“Salesforces jumps into healthcare with a tailored cloud platform”, Katherine Noyes, CIO, 2 September 2015, https://www.cio.com/article/2979584/salesforce-jumps-into-healthcare-with-a-tailored-cloud-platform.html, accessed 18 February 2018

“Apple’s healthcare ambitions look to take a step forward”, Emma Hinchcliffe, Mashable, 5 June 2017, https://mashable.com/2017/06/05/apple-healthcare-wwdc-apps/#F67uqRjnjOqP, accessed 18 February 2018

“Apple CEO: We can make a ‘significant contribution’ in healthcare”, Christina Farr and Paayal Zaveri, CNBC, 13 February 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/13/apple-ceo-tim-cook-can-make-significant-contribution-in-health-care.html, accessed 18 February 2018

Image Credit

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine http://www.wakehealth.edu/Research/WFIRM/Our-Story/Inside-the-Lab/Bioprinting.htm

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