Moazzam Adnan RajaHealth IT is evolving and adapting all the time. Legislation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH) has helped form a landscape in which healthcare organizations are adopting new technologies with an eye toward compliance and data security. While the CIO will be taking the lead on adopting different technologies, understanding the way that IT will be evolving within healthcare will help you better see the financial picture and possible sources of risk.

Broader Implementation of Security Protections

IT security is generally being bolstered across the industry. The technology market intelligence and advisory firm IDC projects that, by 2020, three in five CIOs will have started to develop digital trust frameworks that will go beyond defending against intrusions and assist the organizations in recovering and getting themselves ready for the developing and future landscape. 

Increased Focus on Edge Computing

Smartphones, screens, industrial devices, and vehicle power generators, and other end-point devices will see greater use of edge computing to deliver and process their intelligence. Edge devices will be used more and more for compute, storage, and sensor activities, as well as complex artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. ChannelE2E has likened this transition to edge devices to the transition from mainframe computers to personal computers that occurred in the 1980s, setting a precedent for these kinds of mass migrations.

Blockchain

Along with many other types of companies and organizations, the majority of cloud vendors are building blockchain into their systems. A distributed ledger system used for the storage of cryptographically transferred transactions over time within a publicly validated setting, blockchain will generate $3.1 trillion in business value by 2030 according to Gartner. This technology is still in its infancy and has various challenges, including that it is poorly understood it and scaling it poses a complex challenge. 

Change Embraced

The way that IT development proceeds is changing at many organization as they are increasingly incorporating fast, collaborative releases — called agile — and integrating development and operations (DevOps). Nearly two-thirds of CIOs will use more agile or DevOps processes by 2021, allowing the companies to get up to the speed they need to evolve in the moment, in response to changes in the climate.

Autonomous Capabilities

The ability of a machine to be autonomous and self-driven will be applicable across all types of environments—air, water, and land, real, and virtual. These capabilities will be implemented in various kinds of machines, including drones, vehicles, robotics, agents, and appliances. The Internet of Things (IoT) growth is also the growth of autonomous functioning, so it should not be surprising that this piece, according to Gartner, will be one of the most prevalent angles to health IT in 2019 and beyond.

Governance

Almost two-thirds of companies will expect their CIOs to update their governance policies so they can better address emergent possibilities and adapt to meet the ethical and privacy issues of machine learning and AI.

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a virtual model of a service, product, or process that allows users to see a thing that is at least not entirely digital within a visualized digital setting. The concept of a digital twin has existed since 2002; however, according to the futurist Bernard Marr, the IoT has made the concept financially feasible to adopt. Twins are becoming important because of how they allow organizations to develop innovations, future-proof operations, reduce downtime, and solve other issues preventively, through the level of analysis that is possible when you have these two aligned physical and virtual worlds. 

Gartner notes that there will be more than 20 billion IoT endpoints and sensors by 2020, and there will be digital twins for billions of these things. Companies will begin to launch digital twins in basic ways. Gradually, the implementations will become more sophisticated, optimized to meet the needs of the business by following the right parameters, using the best metrics, and tapping the right data, as well as visualizing those data in the most effective ways. 

Immersion

Immersive environments, hybrid ecosystems, and computer-produced sensations put both providers and their patients in alternate realities in which problems can be solved in innovative new ways. Technologies such as 360-degree immersion video and head-mounted displays (HMDs) have become more prevalent, boosting the interest in this category of tech. Physical environments and virtual environments are blending together within these immersive spaces. Peter B. Nichol notes that three types of immersion would "change the hospital experience with unparalleled possibilities." And that's just one segment of health care. The three types of immersion are augmented reality (simulation of data over the real environment), virtual reality (100 percent simulated environment), and mixed reality (a real environment in which virtual objects are placed).

Immersion continues over time in response to our use of these immersive spaces. We transition to multimodal, multichannel computing away from conceiving of separate user interfaces and devices. Integration of computing allows people to bring together environmental sensors, cars, wearable, and consumer appliances with traditional computers, via hundreds of edge devices. 

Change Amid Stability

Health care is rapidly developing, and the best practices within the industry are never at a standstill. Yet many things will remain the same. After all, safeguarding data privacy via technical, administrative, and physical protections will continue to be a core concern in 2019 and beyond, not only with respect to compliance but also regarding liability and trust.

While the technologies that underscore HIPAA compliance will be implemented by the CIO, they protect the CFO’s core interest as well by safeguarding digital assets. While staying abreast of technological changes is expensive, you reduce financial risk by leveraging new innovations, both through the benefits you garner and by maintaining a competitive edge.


Moazzam Adnan Raja is a vice president at Atlantic.Net, Orlando, Fla. 

Publication Date: Thursday, January 17, 2019