What's the most disruptive tech in healthcare? 4 hospital, IT execs weigh in

Change runs rampant in healthcare, but the industry is often slow to respond and adapt to it.

In a Sept. 19 panel discussion on evolving healthcare technology and regulatory issues at the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference in Chicago, four executives were asked which technology they perceive to be most disruptive.

Here is how the four executives responded:

1. Chuck Fennell, CIO of Syracuse, N.Y.-based St. Peter's Health Partners/St. Joseph's Health: "I would say personalized medicine and the intersection between the medical advances being made and the technology implications associated with those advances. As we have these incredible successes with personalized therapies and treatments, we are also collecting a tremendous amount of data on patients in these transactional EHRs, whether it be genomic data associated with the patient, extended patient histories, social determinant data — [Questions arise like] where do we store that data and how do we present it; how do we make it meaningful for clinicians and how do we interpret that data from a personal medicine perspective… and how will cognitive computing and artificial intelligence be able to mine some of that data out and predict some of these conditions upstream."

2. Greg Carey, director of regulatory and government affairs at athenahealth: "I focus a lot on EHRs and interoperability, so the technology I am most excited about is called FHIR — and that is not a bad attempt at a joke about how far health IT is behind several other tech industries — but it's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, an HL7-developed standard that has really focused on integrating EHRs and different data points on an [application programming interface]-basis. The reason I am excited about that is not because it is going to be the silver bullet for interoperability … but what FHIR does is it helps improve access to information."

3. Paula Muto, MD, founder and CEO of Uberdoc: "I am the doctor in the trenches, I am the surgeon who operates every day in an inner city attached to an affluent community with two health systems … There is a plethora of [care] options, but the access points are nearly zero. It is so difficult to navigate the system, there are so many obstacles in the way. So what did I do? [my company] Uberdoc is a very simple way for a patient to get directly to a specialist for a transparent price. We are trying to bring the prices down, the access points up for a simple disruption to the system … and bring back the peer-to-peer interactions that got us into healthcare in the first place."

4. James Woodson, MD, founder and CEO of Pulsara: "My niche is communication and the thing I find fascinating is the intersection between communication and data. A lot of times we lose sight of this, but what do we communicate? We communicate data … Some of the areas I am most excited for and watching are things like conversational [artificial intelligence], natural language processing — some of the things that can really help us change the way that we consume, transmit and enter data."

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