With the vast majority of patients’ medical records now digitized in electronic health records systems, the opportunities to mine, learn from, and act on the findings are promising for U.S. healthcare.

More data is moving into internet clouds every day, from healthcare encounters with clinicians and inpatient hospital stays to prescribed medicines, retail receipts for over-the-counter remedies, wearable technologies, credit card swipes for products and services, and GPS check-ins.

That’s a treasure trove of digital footprints that can tell a lot about us as patients, either in real-time or via prediction.

But can we nudge stakeholders in health and healthcare to “do no harm?”

This and other important questions will be brainstormed on the webcast hosted by Accenture on Wednesday 18 July 2018 as we discuss the five trends that paint the firm’s Digital Health Tech Vision 2018.

Accenture’s vision this year is built on five pillars:

  • Citizen AI
  • Extended Reality
  • Data Veracity
  • Frictionless Business, and
  • The Internet of Thinking.

Together, these factors can bolster personalization and improve consumers’ experience in healthcare, but also have the power to invade, disrupt, and encroach on peoples’ physical and intimate lives in unwelcome ways.

The first trend is Citizen AIArtificial or augmented intelligence, AI, is fast becoming part of the workflow across all industries. AI enables enterprises to take in a lot of data and make sense of it, with the power of better informing decisions. “The more data an AI is given, the better its predictions become,” Accenture notes.

But there’s a data stewardship role that’s crucial when an organization takes in peoples’ personal information: 81% of health executives agree that organizations aren’t prepared to deal with societal and liability issues that AI-based decisions may raise. How to be responsible, equitable, transparent as a good AI citizen? That’s part of “doing no harm” with data in healthcare. And the more good AI behavior will lead to greater adoption and more trust, in a virtuous cycle of data-sharing, data-using, greater productivity, and better health outcomes. That’s why 73% of health executives told Accenture they plan to develop internal ethical standards related to the use of AI to bolster responsible use of patients’ personal health information.

Extended reality here blurs the lines between physical and virtual, immersive environments. For healthcare, these platforms enable virtual and telehealth, as well as education, in new ways that transcend bricks-and-mortar settings, getting care and new forms of it to people where they live, work, and play. 83% of health executives believe that XR will provide a new foundation for interaction, communication and information, Accenture found.

Data veracity speaks to the data “speaking the truth.” The root of the word “veracity” is “ver,” as in the Spanish “verdad,” or the Greek, “In vino veritas.” Veracity here confronts data’s potential to be noisy, biased, or otherwise “abnormal.” One in 4 health care executives say they’ve been the target of AI bad behaviors like falsified location data and bot fraud more than once. Unsurprisingly, then, 3 in 4 health execs aren’t ready to deal with the “impending waves” of corrupted insights as faked data or faulty algorithms touch healthcare databases.

Frictionless business is the vision for streamlining healthcare and lubricating the value-chain for healthcare collaborators. As organizations come together from different parts of the healthcare ecosystem, there’s the potential for the partnerships to become cumbersome and complicated. “Legacy systems weren’t built to support this kind of rapid and robust expansion” we expect to help improve healthcare. What can help make collaborations fit more like LEGO pieces? Micro-services, APIs, blockchain, and other technology building blocks, Accenture recommends.

Finally, the Internet of Thinking rounds out Accenture’s five themes in the 2018 Digital Health Tech Vision. Consider the “Internet of Things” morphing to the “T” of “Thinking” (IoTh). In healthcare, this IoTh envisions embedded intelligent tools “everywhere,” and especially “at the edge.” This concept is important because bandwidth, storage and computational power costs resources, and healthcare is notoriously cost-constrained. But healthcare decisions can be better informed through AI, and AI requires a lot of data to feed the analytics process. Consider “the edge” as a strategic asset will help healthcare organizations engage with greater intelligence, Accenture believes.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  In this post-Facebook/Cambridge Analytics era, consumers are justifiably wary about sharing personal information. But one touchpoint is more trusted than others for sharing information, and that’s the physician. I covered this important data point in Health Populi earlier this week.

Today I’ll be joined by Dr. Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, Senior Global Managing Director with Accenture Health (@DrKavehSafavi), Lisa Suennen, Managing Director for GE Ventures (@VentureValkyrie), and Brian Kalis, Accenture’s Managing Director of Digital Health and Innovation (@BKalis), as we consider these trends and how they can help make healthcare better. Our webcast goes live at 11 am Eastern time, from Accenture studios on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. You can register here on this link.

I’ll post the video link here once it’s up online, so if you miss the live event, you can hear us wax lyrically about the 2018 Digital Health Tech Vision addressing data for good in healthcare.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  An in-depth analysis of health plans’ “vacuuming” up Americans’ personal digital data was published by ProPublica and NPR yesterday here. The story presents a darker side to data mining against which the Citizen AI trend warns.

I, too, warned about the potential to use Big Personal Data, both from health care sites and retail, consumers, and mobile sources, in my paper sponsored by California HealthCare Foundation, Here’s Looking at You.

We published that paper back in 2014, in the nascent days of Big Data for healthcare before we spoke much at AI. Today, so many years later, we still have much to do to “raise AI” with the values of a loving parent hoping for their growing child to do good in the world.