HIM in the Cloud Era: Making the Most of AI and Information Governance

Recently I gave a keynote presentation at the CIOX Health Education Summit sharing innovations in healthcare. As the Cloud becomes pervasive and digitization of data is the norm, how do we as HIM professionals ensure information governance practices are in place to support high quality, trusted data for transformative, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies?

Through my research, I discovered a few resources that highlighted the essentials of artificial intelligence and information governance

First, Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum challenges us to actively engage in the digital disruption that is fusing disciplines, economies, and industries. His thought provoking book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, details what makes this digital age different than other eras: the exponential growth in both data speeds and volumes that fundamentally changes how we work, live, think, and relate to one another. He cautions that a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to gaining the value and benefits of this Fourth Revolution, as well as mitigating some of the risks we encounter in this rapid digital era. In my experience, this multi-stakeholder approach is also the foundation for information governance, which requires collaboration and  cooperation to manage growing volumes of patient and provider data.

Next, I was pleasantly surprised by all the AI applications for healthcare currently available, let alone the prototypes and research underway! Artificial intelligence can process the vast amounts of data that cannot be managed by humans – a tremendous asset to many processes, analytics, and research. Leveraging AI can bring speed, precision, and standardization to information processing. Overall, this approach can save healthcare organizations precious time and costs, while a human review acts as a safety check that helps protect patients.

I found an article that discussed over 30 types of artificial intelligence being used today, either singularly or in combination, such as:

  • Activity Recognition – determines what a robot or human is doing, applies the AI, and then determines the correct action to execute
  • Artificial Stupidity – applies the appropriate level of skills to games, based on the chosen skill level of the user. (Now I understand better why I can’t beat the genius level of my favorite game, Word Chums, and why I got so frustrated with Candy Crush I simply quit playing!)
  • Sentiment Analysis – Makes inferences and takes actions based upon the emotions, attitudes, words, and phrases used in social media. I think we all readily understand this AI application that is quite prevalent in marketing analysis.

We’re already seeing how mainstream cloud computing is becoming in healthcare. For example, UC San Diego and several other UC sites are currently moving their Epic data to an Epic cloud. Compared to a traditional hardware and software platform, migrating to the cloud will help UC avoid the need challenge of securing and training in-house staff to maintain a large infrastructure. By off-loading this IT function, UC may focus on ensuring the right information governance exists to access, report on, and protect data, whether it’s anonymized or person-specific.

As HIM professionals, we must be abreast of industry innovation by participating in (or leading) disruptive activities and advocating for information and data governance in our rapidly transforming world. I think Klaus Schwab said it best in The Fourth Industrial Revolution: “My concern, however, is that decision-makers are too often caught in a traditional, linear (and non-disruptive) thinking or too absorbed by immediate concerns to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.”

I wish you success in being disruptive, innovative, and transformative, as these habits will ultimately benefit us as healthcare consumers.