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The healthcare conference, HLTH 2023, concluded this week in Las Vegas. Now in its sixth year, the event brings together over 10,000 attendees across the entire health ecosystem. Representing Hitachi Solutions, I was excited to be at the conference having conversations with our healthcare customers and partners and discussing how technology will transform all facets of healthcare — improving patient care, removing inefficiencies, and reducing costs. The following are my top five takeaways from the conference. I wanted to share them and explore what they might mean to you.
Data is the Heartbeat
Data is the heartbeat that will power solutions for many of the world’s health problems. Last week, we released a blog on the challenges and potential of data interoperability and health analytics that talks about this. In it, there’s a great example of how Delaware Valley Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is making better use of its data to unlock the potential of data-driven analytics and insights. Check it out when you get a chance!
At the conference, the importance of health data, interoperability/FHIR, and data solutions was center stage. The new future of data was at the forefront with Microsoft’s announcement of healthcare data solutions in Fabric. Fabric is a solution that allows healthcare customers to conduct analysis and run large-scale analytics of their health data with a quicker time to value. The healthcare data solutions, now in preview, provide Hitachi Solutions and our healthcare customers with a new set of tools for FHIR data pipelines, notebooks, and health data models.
The Hitachi Solutions team has been collaborating with Microsoft on the healthcare data solutions in Fabric over the past several months and are evaluating it against patient and claim use cases with our healthcare customers. Our take is that Fabric shows promise to remove many of the technical challenges that have limited health data interoperability.
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The solutions simplify adoption of FHIR and allow seamless transformation of healthcare data. In unifying data across different health applications and systems, we see huge potential for our customers to improve patient care, better measure themselves, implement needed changes, and lay the groundwork for their AI strategy.
“Hitachi Solutions has been working with Microsoft to accelerate innovation and the adoption of data and AI solutions across healthcare organizations. With healthcare data solutions in Microsoft Fabric and Hitachi Solutions’ healthcare and data expertise, customers can jumpstart their data and analytics journey and prepare for the new wave of AI capabilities.”— Umesh Rustogi, General Manager, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare
Generative AI is Here
As expected, generative AI was the most mentioned topic at HLTH 2023. Many at the event provided real world use cases on how generative AI is having an impact on productivity, outcomes, and overall patient experiences. Brian Tyler, the CEO of McKesson, talked about his company’s use of generative AI and went on to say you have to experiment, try it, start those pilots, get past that learning curve of risk, and test to ensure the output is correct and does not introduce bias.
Microsoft stated at the event that 53 percent of physicians experienced burnout in 2023, up from 42 percent in 2018. However, customers like Atrium Health are now using their AI solution, DAX copilot, with the outcome of physicians saving 40 minutes of time each day. Generative AI has the potential to address many of the challenges and failings in our healthcare system today, we just need to start.
The Patient is at the Center
The tagline of HLTH 2023 was “Elevate Humanity,” and a top message was that we must put people at the center of healthcare. There are many statistics on the worsening state of our healthcare system in the U.S. — life expectancy is dropping, chronic disease rates are up, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness, and 70 percent of Americans feel the healthcare system has failed them. Instead of treating the sickness, the conversation has turned to treating the patient.
Preventive care and putting the patient back in the center was a common message on the stage, with healthcare providers and payors championing prevention, proactive care management, and a renewed focus on the patient.
Healthcare Costs Continue to Rise
The cost of healthcare was also a key theme of the event, with many conversations centering on value-based care, home health, telehealth, health plans, and accessibility and affordability. Both providers and payors are shifting to value-based care to foster cost-efficiency and prioritize patient outcomes above cost. However, even with the shift to value-based care, evolving care models, and advances in technology, a recent Mercer report predicts that employers expect total health benefit cost per employee to rise 5.4 percent on average in 2024. With the rise in costs, health plans are walking the line between cost containment and maintaining the accessibility and quality of healthcare services to their members.
Optimism for What the Next Decade Holds
There were numerous mentions of the pandemic at the conference, but most were on how the healthcare community came together to meet the challenge and how data was shared more freely for rapid measurement and rapid recommendations. At HLTH 2023, there’s an excitement for what’s coming, a hope for positive change, a belief that there will be a better future for all, and optimism for how new uses of data and innovation in AI will play a pivotal role in transforming health over the next decade.
Hitachi Solutions Knows Healthcare
At Hitachi Solutions, we’re excited for the future of healthcare as well. We empower healthcare payors and providers to harness the power of their data to enhance efficiency, improve member experience and patient outcomes, and drive business value. Whether you are looking to modernize your data foundation, explore analytics and interoperability, or leverage generative AI, we have the industry experience, technical expertise, and advisory skills to help. So, if you’d like to hear more about my experiences at HLTH 2023, or are looking to do more with your data, let’s chat!