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InterSystems Global Summit 2019 Observations

by John Moore | September 26, 2019


This week, Brian Murphy and I had the opportunity to attend the InterSystems Global Summit, whose theme was Healthcare Unbounded. The event was very well attended with a packed audience for first day keynotes and many sessions were standing room only. We heard that InterSystems’ Summit had over 700 companies represented, including 100 of them prospects. Unique to this conference is the high percentage of international attendees. This gave the event a very global healthcare vibe.

intersystems global summit 2019 healthcare unbounded

Image courtesy of InterSystems

And maybe I’ve been too insular but I was surprised at just how much the issues we face here in the U.S. are also faced by other countries as well.  From how to share data across multiple venues to improving care coordination to simply gaining a better understanding what all this data we are now collecting is telling us so we may actually improve clinical pathways and lower total costs of care delivery.

Key Takeaways:

  • InterSystems is firing on all cylinders. The company continues to produce some of the best healthcare-centric IT infrastructure tools in the market and is staying one step ahead of many larger companies.
  • InterSystem IRIS for Health was an important element of most breakout sessions. It will be the platform on which future releases of InterSystems applications such as Health Insights or HealthShare will be built.
  • The company is continuing to make the transition from strictly a tools vendor to being a solutions vendor as well. Yes, it has always had its EHR TrakCare in the international market. It is introducing its “Clean Data as a Service, one in a series of steps to provide more complete, out-of-the-box solutions.
  • Everyone seems to have an AI/ML story. InterSystems is no exception. “QuickML” will go GA in Q1’20.

InterSystems is well known for providing the underlying infrastructure for many a healthcare application and the company is proud, as it should be, of its technical chops. But one of the challenges of using InterSystems technology is that you often need experienced developers to work with its sophisticated tools. Based on what we observed, that aspect of InterSystems technology stack will not change.

However, what we did find was a company that wants to capture a growing share of the rapidly growing analytics market. It will need to develop and deploy not just sophisticated tools but more complete turnkey solutions. Three analytics-centric solutions that are trending in that direction were presented at Global Summit:

  • Clean Data as a Service, a new solution whereby InterSystems will aggregate, cleanse and normalize a client’s diverse data stream for use by downstream applications. For years, healthcare organizations have been struggling with this issue and this offering may go along ways to alleviate those struggles. We are seeing many companies move toward this idea – a kind of Kubernetes for healthcare data – in an effort to make data platforms a viable way to support development.
  • QuickML, also a new solution to be released in Q1’20 is targeting the ballooning interest in AI/ML across the entire healthcare sector, from life sciences, to clinical care. QuickML will run on the IRIS platform and provide developers with embedded ML functionality to simplify model builds.
  • Health Insight, an existing solution, will continue to see future enhancements, enabled by IRIS that will include SQL cubes for population health use cases. This will make it easier for organizations to rapidly deploy models that are pertinent to the populations they serve with an end goal of improving care metrics for value-based care.

InterSystems has been a major interoperability vendor for well over a decade. Today, it is one of the few independent vendors of a health information exchange (HIE) platform. Thus it is no surprise that this company is also at the forefront of the newest HL7 FHIR.

With the company’s broad international presence it is seeing firsthand how organizations are deploying FHIR to improve data flows and ultimately improve care delivery processes such as care coordination. Certainly the theme of this conference – Healthcare Unbounded – reflects a legitimate strength of InterSystems.

The interoperability conundrum that exists here in the U.S is a global issueone that has yet to be solved. This event drove home the idea that our patchwork of interoperability mechanisms are not accomplishing all they could or should, hindering the delivery of the best care possible. In the U.S. the jury is still out on how TEFCA and information blocking regulations will affect existing exchange mechanisms and organizations but it does appear clear that the future involves FHIR. With next year’s projection that FHIR R5, slated for release in October 2020, 25 or more FHIR resources will become normative (FHIR R4 has but two). This order of magnitude increase, we project, will result in far more aggressive adoption of FHIR, regardless of what happens in Washington.

Stay tuned – you heard it here first.

Brian Murphy also contributed to this blog post.

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