HIMSS12 Trends: Q&A with Intel’s Chief Architect of Healthcare

February 10, 2012
Kristina Kermanshahche

Kristina Kermanshahche, Chief Architect of Healthcare, Intel Corporation

Kristina Kermanshahche

Kristina Kermanshahche, Chief Architect of Healthcare, Intel Corporation

 With HIMSS12 quickly approaching, we sat down with Kristina Kermanshahche, Chief Architect of Healthcare, Intel Corporation, to get her thoughts on the hot topics she expects at this year’s show.

Q: With HIMSS12 just weeks away, what are the issues shaping the agenda of HIT executives at the show?

A: HIMSS 2012 is happening at a critical moment in health IT. Government mandates are transforming patient care and healthcare CxOs are tasked with aligning the right technology to speed this change. However, these priorities actively compete with major budget cuts and growing economic concerns.  Healthcare CxOs are placing more emphasis on operational excellence – certainly, how to do more with less – but also how to free up capital investments on the administrative and technical side, while reinvesting appropriately in clinicals.  How does one drive business innovation through smart operational design, building upon a foundation of improved access, resource utilization, automation, and economies of scale.

Q:  Let’s talk a little more about operational excellence. What advice do you have for CIOs and IT administrators to optimize their performance and get more value from their existing systems?

A: Let’s look at medical imaging as an example:  Radiology is still acclimating to the meaningful use regulations and navigating the proposed changes to reimbursement mechanisms.  At the same time, it’s experiencing the rise of “big data” in the wake of developments in CT, MR and digital radiography.  Advanced visualization, 3D reconstructions, and multi-modality data sets, result in significant storage and processing demands, along with innovations like breast tomosynthesis, with dozens of additional images per study.  Complicating matters is the demand for timely patient data, particularly across multiple sites in expanding provider networks. This has a cumulative effect of degrading the performance and functionality of existing information systems.

For diagnostic imaging, smart operational design equates to delivering scalable performance which enables you to freely add and remove data, users, sites, and tools as your workload dictates – without giving up functionality or responsiveness.  It means providing secure access to authorized individuals from remote locations using authenticated devices.  It means addressing scarcity with effective allocation of resources and expertise. And it means reducing upfront capital and unpredictable operational expenses like energy consumption and data center capacity issues.

Here’s a great example. We recently collaborated with Carestream Health to evaluate how Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family could help medical imaging providers get optimal performance from their SuperPACS platform and server investments. Compared with the prior generation, the E7 family resulted in a 28% performance improvement, resulting in the ability to support 20% more users on a given configuration.

Q:  Cloud computing and mobility will both be hot topics at this year’s show. What are some of the factors that should be assessed when evaluating cloud services and remote access to patient information?

A: Using the cloud generally requires working closely with a managed services provider to ensure end-to-end data security, data protection, and privacy safeguards, and that can be a concern for healthcare providers who are accustomed to traditional, perimeter-oriented, security techniques.

Well-designed cloud services protect the privacy and security of data through a combination of application, technical and administrative controls.  Security services must be designed from an end-to-end perspective, including data transparency, access control, audit and compliance tracking.  Hardware-assisted security can provide significant reduction in risk while enhancing performance and productivity.  Physical and administrative controls include a seasoned security team who regularly performs risk assessments, evaluates supporting mitigations, and conducts practice drills in disaster recovery and breach response.  Healthcare facilities should request and evaluate detailed documentation on security & DR practices from every managed services provider under consideration.

On Tuesday, February 21 from 2-3 pm, we’re hosting a complementary HIMSS workshop, “From Theory to Reality: Building a Secure Cloud Environment for Diagnostic Imaging,” exploring this topic in more detail. We will present industry proof points from several customers who have successfully deployed diagnostic imaging to the cloud.  Please register in advance to join us.

Q: What’s the top question you’d encourage HIT execs to ask vendors when evaluating solutions?

A: The one question I hope I’ll hear echoed in the Venetian, “How do I deliver more value from my network while leveraging the cloud for non-core competencies? “