Over 42,000 healthcare IT enthusiasts and thought leaders attended HIMSS15 this year in Chicago. Thousands of others joined form various locations using social media to engage in the conversations. The HIT Super Bowl did not disappoint those in attendance and those joining the social media conversations. The conversations were around several different health IT topics but there were 4 hot topics that were making McCormick buzz.
The HIMSS15 top buzzword was interoperability. Healthcare executives across the industry are focused on technology that streamlines communication and the exchange of data across their systems. The challenge within the healthcare industry is not the lack of information, in fact the amount of information available is overwhelming. The big pain point comes with making the information useful and leveraging it to provide better, more proactive patient care. Integrating disparate data systems has proven to be a hurdle that many healthcare organizations haven’t figured out how to get over.
The 40,000 square foot Interoperability Showcase at HIMSS15 provided visitors the opportunity to watch more than 140 interoperable health IT systems as they followed the patient’s journey across the care continuum. The show also offered over 40 educational sessions focused on interoperability.
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mHealth and the Internet of Things (IoT)
The HIMSS conference was full of smartphone apps, wearable technologies and other devices used for connecting and engaging patients. Connected health strategies are used to engage patients outside of the walls of the care setting to help make them more active participants in their care. The HIMSS15 conference featured a Mobile Health Knowledge Center which offered educational sessions on mobile topics such as innovative care delivery, privacy and security and technical requirements. One of the best quotes I heard came from the #HITsm panel discussion. Rasu Shrestha, MD (@RasuShrestha) said “I can’t wait for the distinction between mHealth and just health to disappear. It is all the same.” I couldn’t agree more, we need to get to the point where we are leveraging the best tools and technologies to provide the very best healthcare without the need to distinguish between the two.
BI and Analytics
The amount of information that healthcare organizations have to manage provides another level of complexity to the industry. With the amount of information that flows between interoperable systems, it is not surprising that business intelligence and analytics were a hot topic at HIMSS15. Integrating clinical, financial, operational and claims data to generate a 360-degree patient view provides healthcare organizations with actionable insights. These actionable insights are necessary to provide proactive care for individuals and entire populations. With the ultimate goal of healthcare being to provide high-quality, cost-effective care, BI and analytics is vital to making this goal a reality. BI and analytics are not only important for individual care but real-time, accurate and insightful data is a big part of population health management.
Patient Privacy and Data Security
Healthcare data breaches are up by 138% and that astonishing number is predicted to continue to rise. No one wants to be the next Anthem, surrounded by lawsuits and huge patient privacy liabilities. The HIMSS15 Cybersecurity Command Center offered educational sessions from industry and government experts as well as product demos and a “capture the flag” game that allowed users to compete for prizes to protect the virtual hospital network. Visitors to the Cybersecurity Command Center were able to take a look at products and services that can assist with training, preparation and response techniques. The healthcare industry continues to balance the need to keep patient data secure and private while also providing this data across the continuum of care for better outcomes.
Another HIMSS has come and gone, but these four topics left McCormick buzzing and will continue to be hot topics for many months (years) to come. I’m already looking forward to HIMSS16 – see you all in Vegas.