The Healthcare Analytics Summit (HAS) is back in person with a bang. After a challenging two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HAS 22 brings back an amazing, full-scale, in-person experience. The love and appreciation of human contact and camaraderie was immediately obvious.
Health Catalyst CEO, Dan Burton, kicked off Day 1 by reflecting on the past few years and then provided an overview of the amazing lineup of sessions, events, and speakers. This year’s summit encompasses the theme “Embracing the Human Side of Healthcare Analytics.” Burton shared his understanding of the challenges and financial pressures organizations face today with COVID-19, labor, supply, and inflation, along with his belief in this conference as a gateway to supporting those challenges.
Burton noted the pre-summit client user-group sessions that took place the previous day and referenced more unique experiences during the conference, such as Braindate peer networking, the fan-favorite #SocksofHAS competition, remarkable case studies, keynote speeches from industry leaders, AI and Analytics Showcases, and much more. He concluded with a statement on the organization’s commitment of continued help and guidance through deep data analytic capabilities combined with a profound mission to love and support our neighbors.
Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation Officer, Community Health Network
Featured speaker Patrick McGill, MD, gave the HAS 22 audience a challenge. He pushed attendees to take the next step toward healthcare improvement and strive to “always be better.” To support that challenge, Dr. McGill shared the five-step roadmap for improvement that he and Community Health Network (CHNw) have taken in their seven-year data and analytics journey:
In addition to the above steps, Dr. McGill stressed that any improvement journey must always begin with a why—a clear vision for where you want data and analytics to take you. Your why, whether it’s to improve care delivery in a clinical area, address a labor shortage, or other, will give your team focus and help you align leadership around shared strategic priorities, guide partnerships, and define goals. Furthermore, a compelling why drives the mission and helps teams humanize the data by keeping the real people and stories behind the numbers in focus.
For example, CHNw used analytics to understand the needs of pregnant women with opioid use disorders, evaluate the outcomes of care, and easily visualize the direct impact on women and their babies. Also critical in the data and analytics journeys are operational efficiency and data literacy.
Dr. McGill encouraged attendees to look beyond their visions for a future state in which everyone in the organization uses data in a positive manner for improvement and ask: How does the actual work get done? What’s your improvement methodology? Data literacy comes into the analytics strategy by closing the gaps between delivering insights and acting on them—especially for caregivers.
Artificial Intelligence Professor and Researcher, MIT
In her presentation titled “Designing Machine Learning Processes for Equitable Health,” Dr. Ghassemi shared her research findings regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI), ethical issues, and important considerations for the use of AI in healthcare.
While the value of machine learning (ML) is increasingly gaining acceptance as a decision aid for clinicians in areas like radiology and cardiology, healthcare providers must keep in mind that ML models are trained and can learn biases like racism. Dr. Ghassemi shared how ML models can predict race from a simple chest X-ray where humans cannot.
As she explored the reasons for this, she’s come to believe that it is likely because medical devices have been calibrated on lighter skin. If the race of a patient is obvious to the model, but impossible for a human radiologist to determine and that model has been mis-trained to have a racist bias, it can lead to incorrect treatment decisions. These faulty decisions will perpetuate as the model stays in use.
As such, while Dr. Ghassemi sees great value and potential for AI, she emphasizes the need for clinicians to look to AI for supplementary information and actionable insights, not answers. There is no simple fix, but Dr. Ghassemi provided some guidance about how to apply AI more ethically:
Top Emotional Intelligence Speaker, Happiness Researcher, Bestselling Author of The Happiness Advantage
According to happiness researcher and bestselling author Shawn Achor, our formula for happiness is broken. We tend to equate happiness with certain achievements or milestones (e.g., “I’ll be happier when I accomplish X.”) As a result, we keep happiness on the opposite side of a moving target, making it elusive. Research shows that success doesn’t improve happiness, but rather happiness is a precursor to success.
Today, after thousands of years of humankind philosophizing about what creates happiness, we now have neuroimaging to study the impact of happiness on the brain. Achor explains that this research has established that what we process first affects us most. In other words, when we view the world with the same pattern over time, our brain keeps that pattern. For example, if you train your brain to look for mistakes, you’ll primarily seek out mistakes in all areas of your life (work and personal). Conversely, when you establish positive patterns (e.g., starting each day writing down three things you’re grateful for), you’ll increasingly seek out the positive around you. In the workplace, a happiness mindset is a significant advantage.
In an experiment during his presentation, Achor asked audience members to pair up and instructed one person to smile at the other for several seconds. While he instructed the other partner not to react to the smile, most participants reported they struggled to keep from smiling back. This experience demonstrates how we pick up happiness from others, as a smile improves the ecosystem around a person, including perceived social support. Considering that 75 percent of job success is predicted not by intelligence but by optimism, social support network, and the ability to manage energy and stress positively, happiness may be one of our most powerful tools in healthcare improvement.
Ford Koles, Jr., Vice President and National Spokesperson, Advisory Board
There are currently several disruptive forces making a serious impact on the healthcare market, according to Advisory Board Vice President and National Spokesperson, Ford Koles, Jr. During his talk, he shared the major trends that healthcare providers should be thinking about:
While Koles acknowledged that these are difficult times, he sees opportunities for investing in outpatient services, making care more personal and meaningful to patients, and continuing to transition towards value-based care. He encouraged healthcare providers to stick to long-term strategies to weather the current storm.
Talithia Williams, PhD, Host of the PBS Series, NOVA Wonders
Today’s healthcare consumer has immense capabilities to collect their own healthcare data. From digital thermometers to high-tech wearables, individuals can easily quantify everything from heart rate and sleep patterns to body temperature and fertility. However, consumers and the healthcare industry aren’t as clear on what they can do with these ever-growing data caches. Talithia Williams, PhD, advocates that healthcare consumers collect and share more data.
She says that we can improve the patient experience with data and encourages exchange of personal health information as way to empower patients, strengthen the doctor-patient dialogue, and improve outcomes.
Dr. Williams has leveraged data collection in her own healthcare experiences, including during her pregnancies. She shared an experience when a doctor determined her baby was under stress and recommended they induce labor immediately.
In response, Dr. Williams pulled up data from a previous pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. By comparing temperature data from that pregnancy with her current data, she determined her baby was not actually under stress. She then signed a waiver to leave the hospital without inducing and later delivered a healthy boy at term.
Her experience demonstrates how empowering patients with data gives them authority in their healthcare decisions. Consumers can look critically at their personal information, shifting the power dynamic with the physician and ensuring care plans support their personal goals.
Kedar Mate, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Brent James, MD, MStat, Clinical Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
During this fireside chat, health equity thought leaders Kedar Mate, MD, and Brent James, MD, discussed disparities in healthcare and why it should be a top priority for quality improvement initiatives instead of an afterthought. Dr. Mate emphasized how addressing health equity initiatives can have an incredible impact on not only disadvantaged communities but on much wider populations.
As data analysis uncovers disparities, clinicians want to do better, and that often results in systemic changes that improve the care for everyone. He described the idea of targeted universalism: how strategies to advantage certain populations can solve a particular problem, but also benefit wider populations.
As an example, Dr. Mate described Alaska’s approach to administering the COVID-19 vaccine. By targeting the most remote and vulnerable populations first, the state built trust in the community and supply lines for vaccine delivery throughout the state, vaccinating a large portion of the population as a result. He encouraged healthcare providers who are tackling equity in their organization to use a data-based approach, as Dr. Mate described it “to make the invisible visible.”
Inequities and unconscious bias are often difficult to see or acknowledge, but by looking at data, disparities can be more easily identified, and that data is foundational to overcoming disbelief and gaining buy-in for change. In closing, both Dr. Mate and Dr. James noted how important building trust, being honest, and showing respect to patients is vital to building relationships and, ultimately, bridging care disparities. Health equity is a journey, and it can’t be taken alone.
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