HIMSS16: Past the Noise & Buzz

HIMSS16: Past the Noise & Buzz


#HIMSS16 By The Numbers

  • 40,000+ Attendees
  • 1,300+ Exhibitors
  • 300 education programs feature keynotes, thought leader sessions, roundtable discussions and e-sessions

I’m admittedly a sucker for a good infographic, and for a good visual representation of HIMSS16, check out this one from CDW.

For full play-by-play analysis, no entity can hold a candle to the thorough and thoughtful coverage the team at HIStalk provides:

As the summaries and reflections on HIMSS16 roll out, these are a few that stand out in the crowd:

Colin Hung @ EMRandHIPAA:

HealthIT is in a state of flux right now. Meaningful Use is winding down, ICD-10 is in the rearview mirror and the hype around digital health is starting to wane. For the first time in years, vendors and healthcare CIOs are free to chart their own paths, pursue their own interests. This is something that hasn’t happened since the EHR incentive program started back in 2010.

John Halamka @ Life as a Healthcare CIO:

In the recent past, big data, interoperability, personalized medicine, population health, and wearables were buzzwords in every booth

This year, the buzzwords were replaced by one overarching concept – providers and vendors must innovate or die.

In the next 24 months we’ll see an accelerating evolution of fee for service into alternative payment models fueled by MACRA and MIPS.    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.    No one is completely sure how to do that, but there are enablers.

Rajiv Leventhal @ Healthcare Informatics:

Live from HIMSS16: FHIR Stays Hot as Experts Aim for Simplicity

Indeed, SMART (Substitutable Medical Applications & Reusable Technologies) on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) implements an open architecture to support interchangeable developer-friendly APIs (application program interfaces) that can be “plugged in” to any compliant EHR or health data container. Part of the allure is that the effort can get away from document-centric approaches and expose discrete data elements as service. Ellmore noted that the benefits of APIs check all the boxes including satisfaction, treatment, electronic secure data, patient engagement, and population health management. “APIs are an important tool for interoperability and a learning health system. It’s how the future will work in a very significant way,” Ellmore said.

Instead of a play-by-play or summary of the event, I chose to provide insight into the conversations we had with our clients and some of the key themes that we witnessed:

Overall, provider traffic seemed to be down at this HIMSS.  In discussions with well-known industry analyst, John Moore of Chilmark Research, the healthcare IT market seems to be softening. That said, as HCOs increasingly tackle population health management & interoperability, there will still be a strong need for services for skills they do not possess in-house. Speaking of John Moore, below were some great Chilmark “Bights” from the executive breakfast they hosted:

Somewhat lost in the hubbub of other buzzwords at HIMSS16 – such as interoperability, population health management and patient engagement – were conversions, which is still a very hot and active market. Whether it be due to acquisition, merger, dissatisfaction with current application or portfolio consolidation, our clients seek a partner to navigate them through the EHR transition process: from vendor selection to conversion planning, decommissioning of legacy systems and archival, and  legacy system support – allowing client resources to transition to learn the new application.

In addition, the struggles of healthcare interoperability are well-documented. While there may not be data blocking occurring per-se, our clients seek a partner to “unlock” the data from their EHR. As such, we discussed our data acquisition solution – GalenETL – with several clients including prominent HIEs & ACOs, the capabilities of which are documented in a recent case study we published.

And finally, two things that were personally inspirational for me at HIMSS16:

  1. To bear witness to the strong social media community present in our industry. HealthIT Community leaders such as Jenn Dennard, Colin Hung, John Lynn, Mandi Bishop, our very own Max Stroud, and countless others are doing as much as anyone to advance this industry. The collective passion was on full display and one of the great things about the HIMSS conference is that these individuals get to meet face to face after collaborating and innovating virtually. Rest assured, the subject-matter-experts and thought leaders push the industry to include the voices that have historically been excluded.
  2. Seeing first-hand the efforts of many to highlight the issue of gender inequality in healthcare IT, spearheaded by Jenn Dennard with her #HealthITChicks tweetup and supported by many of my industry peers and colleagues, including Max Stroud. HIMSS has made this a priority as well, as exhibited by the establishment of the “Women in Health IT awards.” I feel privileged and lucky to work with some of the most talented people in the industry – many of whom are women – for a company that supports gender equality. Though, as Colin points out below, it’s not enough to pay the topic lip service – we also need to walk the walk.

The #HealthITChicks tweetup led by Jennifer Dennard of HISTalk highlighted the issue of gender inequality in healthcare IT. Dennard and a panel of three respected women leaders discussed the progress-made and the progress-yet-to-be made in terms of women being fully accepted as equals in the industry.

The panel pointed to the results of the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey which were revealed in a morning briefing. A key finding of the survey was gender-based pay inequality – “Evidence from the Compensation Survey, for example, suggest female health IT workers are being marginalized in this sector of the economy. Analyzed several different ways, women consistently earn less than their male counterparts. The findings also suggest females are under-represented in IT-related executive and senior management roles in the health sector.

So apparently we talk a lot about women being equal, but it’s simply not something that’s seen.

In closing, I’d be remiss if I also didn’t give a thank you to the following folks, whose tireless efforts made the show such a huge success for us: Julie Champagne, Sydney Sigman, and our marketing partner HDMZ (Dillon Allie & Steven Ward)

See you at booth #4448 in Orlando next year!

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