Health IT's biggest challenge is leveraging AI to sort through data, Microsoft exec says

Health systems generate masses of data that, if harnessed correctly, could improve patient health and experiences and streamline workflows for medical professionals. Learning just how to leverage that data is the biggest challenge for the sector, said Iksha Herr, managing director of data and AI under the healthcare division of Microsoft, according to a Dec. 19 American Journal of Managed Care report.

Data contained in EHRs, payer claims and registries can be used to drive the transition to value-based care models, Ms. Herr said — but bringing the data together requires work in policy, data governance and ethics, as well as great cooperation among stakeholders. The most important stakeholders to Ms. Herr are the patients and ordinary people whose lives stand to improve through use of data.  

"The other thing to consider, because AI is so dependent on data, is that we need data from both patients and people who are not yet patients to understand the trajectory of disease," Ms. Herr said.

"My call to action is really centered around the stakeholders," she said. "Then people and patients can be a big part of that puzzle — providing the volumes of data that are needed."

Ms. Herr emphasized that policy and federal regulation is critical to ensure patient privacy and security in this relatively new and fast-growing field.

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