Last week was the 54th annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition. This year’s show featured over 1,300 exhibitors, 40,000 attendees and a dozen specialty areas on the show floor. As in the past, data and healthcare interoperability continued to be major areas of focus at the conference, both for exhibits and presentations. Population health also dominated discussions at the show, as providers look to transition to value-based care models.
According to a post-HIMSS survey from Healthcare IT News, the following were identified as the most discussed areas where innovation is likely to flourish:
- Interoperability (including FHIR) – True interoperability between vendors continues to be a large area of focus in healthcare, as evidenced by the growing interest and size of the Interoperability Showcase at HIMSS. After receiving criticism for “information blocking,” Epic’s CEO Judy Faulkner spoke out at this year’s conference about the company’s history of interoperability, as well as goals for the future.
- Population Health – Reflecting on new reimbursement models, hospitals are now realizing their responsibility for the patient must extend beyond the walls of their facility if they are to truly optimize their reimbursements and improve patient care. Collaborative care agreements and IDNs are growing in popularity as health systems seek to partner with outpatient facilities and community care providers.
- Privacy and Security – Following a number of large data hacks in 2015, ensuring safe and secure transfer and accessibility of patient information will be more important than ever moving out of HIMSS. Providers and patients need access to this information in a way that won’t open them up to hacking risk, while vendors must now figure out how to provide this service.
- Big Data and Analytics – With increased interoperability and a focus on population health comes an increase in the amount of data available, and the need for tools to help make this plethora of data meaningful. Analytics that can sift through this information and help providers make smarter, faster choices for patient care and safety will be successful as hospitals look to optimize their clinical performance.
However while all these buzzwords continued to maintain a strong presence at the show, Dr. John Halamka, the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, argued that innovating at all costs was the overarching theme. Changes in the reimbursement landscape are driving providers and health systems to take more accountability in care, and they are adjusting accordingly. Central to this shifting responsibility is an influx of innovation – “innovate or die” according to Halamka. “We will no longer be driven by compliance imperatives (Meaningful Use, HIPAA, Affordable Care Act, and ICD10), but instead will need to improve outcomes in order to survive financially.”