I attended and spoke at the Healthcare Informatics Health IT Summit this week in Boston, which started yesterday and ends today. The event was well organized and attended. The program was geared towards practical applications and lessons for healthcare technology. Health system and information exchange executives spoke at many of the sessions.
Security in the cloud
If there was a primary theme, it was cybersecurity. One of the two days of the event, and several extra sessions, were focused on cybersecurity. Given that cybersecurity is top mind for most CIOs, this makes a lot of sense. The other topics covered including digital health innovation and policy, with specific discussion of how policy is shaping health system initiatives, partnerships, and technology.
But ultimately, cybersecurity is the most important and most tangible discussion of the moment for health system administrators, and this conference demonstrated that fact.
The relationship between security and the cloud is an interesting one from our perspective. Historically, healthcare has been skeptical of the “cloud” because it has been deemed insecure. Why would you trust your data in someone else’s data center when you can control your own servers? A reasonable stance 10 years ago, but now that view is obsolete, and you can tell healthcare is shifting in its perception of security in the cloud.
First, the sheer size of talented engineers focused on security at the top infrastructure providers is a commonsensical way to view security in the cloud. The largest cloud providers—Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM—have close to 10,000 active engineers focused on security and reliability of their platforms. Contrast this to the skeleton crew in most health systems managing a full stack of hardware and software, often using decades-old server technology.
But perhaps the most important reason that security is now better in the cloud than it is with old owned infrastructure is because of shared incentives. In short, the largest cloud providers are incentivized more than anyone else to be the most secure. If they were to have a single breach, their very multi-billion-dollar business models would be at risk. Contrast this to the incentives of an internal, stodgy IT staff at a hospital who have very different incentives.
All told, cybersecurity is one of the most important topics to healthcare administrators, and this conference’s focus on it showed that.
The Success of Digital Health
My talk was focused on strategies for digital health success. We’ve spent a good chunk of time distilling down the 3,000+ conversations we’ve had with digital health innovators into a simple-to-use and actionable framework that we think the industry can use as both a roadmap as well as a spot check for gaps to scaling.
These digital health success strategies apply equally well to a small startup all the way up to an innovation group at a Fortune 100. This is the first time we’ve presented the framework and are thrilled with the positive feedback we’ve already gotten from attendees in Boston.
Within the coming weeks, we plan to publish the framework for anyone in healthcare to use and learn from. Feedback is always welcome and ideally, we will have others contribute to the framework. Given the sheer volume of content in it—which was clear as I put my talk together and presented—the key to its usefulness will be the interactive experience, which will be an iterative process as well.
If I missed you at the Summit, feel free to email me if you want to learn more about the DHSF.