What’s the top topic and talk going to be at next year’s HIMSS Conference & Exhibition? That’s the same question everyone asks right after they’re exhausted from walking through 1200 vendor exhibits and attending more sessions than the body is able to without the muscles giving out from all the walking. Personally, I like to think of the HIMSS conference as my second “get in shape” resolution after failing each New Year’s – the timing is perfect!
But really, looking at the big picture, we are seeing progress. It is clear that over the past few years we’ve shifted from every session and advertising bullet being about EHR Adoption and compliance to Meaningful Use, to ones about Population Health Management and improving outcomes to the real beginnings of Personalized Medicine to improve healthcare on an individual basis. It is a continuum of progress, rather than a pendulum, though often times it feels like we take one step forward and two steps back. I left HIMSS17 with a positive outlook and energy to see where we can actually go in the next three hundred and some odd days before #HIMSS18!
While Meaningful Use has now been replace by MACRA, HITECH and the need for compliance did make it the top topic just a few years ago. Recent statistics show that over 96% of US hospitals have adopted EHRs, and almost 60% of office-based practices.
Last year it seems all the talk was Population Health Management (PHM), unless of course you were already referring to it as Pop-Health 2.0! There are real statistics being generated now as a result of more electronic information being available, and there were lots of cool demos in 2016 that have turned into even more impressive demos with a year’s worth of real progress. The recent HIMSS Analytics Essentials Brief released before HIMSS17 found that out 104 hospitals, 75 percent of them were pursuing a PHM initiative this past year.
So on the innovative side this year at HIMSS, there were the many “disruptor” claims based on new gadgets, new AI algorithms, new skunk work projects, etc. While skeptical, I did participate in multiple conversations about how blockchain can make an impact on healthcare. These help to move the macro view of improving healthcare at the population level to the more personalized level, seeking to know more about individual patients, engaging individuals patients and improving outcomes one patient at a time. I moved into the world of wearing an electronic watch and tracking all kinds of information about my health in 2016 and based on HIMSS17, there’s many more inventions to come that will help us to improve healthcare before I get old!
While we’re still in the infancy stages for all this, it’s also important to realize that behind all of the above is data. Access to data still remains a huge problem, both from the technical standpoint of dealing with the more than 1,100 EMRs on the market and all the new data sources that are becoming available from devices such as watches and also from the business side where the cost to exchange information is too high for physicians due to data blocking fees and the lack of interoperability. That part didn’t change at HIMSS, it too is part of the evolutionary world of healthcare.
What were your big takeaways at HIMSS17 and “What’s the top topic and talk going to be at HIMSS18?”
Until next time,