Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the promise of healthcare for nearly a decade, but the industry has yet to adopt it widely. Applications of AI in arguably more difficult domains, such as search, language and image recognition, have seen massive success over the past decade. While neural net algorithms and compute power have improved dramatically, AI in healthcare is still lagging behind. The big reason these domains, and not healthcare, have been able to utilize AI tech is due to the internet’s ability to make massive amounts of data available. Now data access via internet technologies is finally happening in healthcare through secure channels.
Driven primarily through government regulation mandating standards for interpretability, healthcare is beginning to see data move through the same pipelines and formats as the rest of the Internet. Over the past five years, a mounting set of policies have pushed interoperability for the patient’s benefit. The 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule from the ONC was introduced to improve data access to provider and clinical data. For health insurance plans, the Interoperability and Patient Access rule covers financial and clinical data. Both of these require a new standard called FHIR (Fast Health Interoperable Resources), which spans the broadest set of data ever included in a single healthcare format. FHIR also utilizes consistent methods to transact that data via RESTful APIs and OAuth2, which much of the internet’s websites and apps use to share and secure information. These patient-directed improvements present a waterfall of downstream effects, which regulators understand, but the industry is yet to capitalize on full