HIMSS17 Briefing: More of the Same or Something New?

HIMSS17 Briefing: More of the Same or Something New?


Precision Medicine, Genomics, and Cybersecurity were front and center at HIMSS17; Providers and HCOs are increasingly embracing the Cloud

The HIMSS Conference and Exhibition is always a good barometer of the healthcare industry’s current state and direction. Attendance at this year’s show was slightly up from last year, to 42,287 people. However, as Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt pointed out, where are the users of the products?

And more importantly, where are the patients?

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

As the summaries and reflections on HIMSS17 roll out, these are a few that stand out in the crowd:

We are officially in the post-Meaningful Use (MU) era and a much-needed reassessment is taking place — a top-to-bottom realignment of all that is needed to be successful in the transition to VBC. Large healthcare organizations (HCOs) have approximately 25 to 35 percent of revenue coming from VBC. This appears to be the tipping point at which HCOs begin making significant transformations to how they operate and what they measure.

Chilmark Research

Artificial Intelligence/machine learning is the new “plastics”. There is no question that AI is the peak of the hype curve this year. We need to be measured about our expectations for this technology. Computers do not “think”, they use pattern matching to focus the attention of humans, separating signal from noise. There are great use cases for machine learning — automating sorting of paper medical records for scanning by predicting metadata, scrubbing personal identifiers from unstructured data, and suggesting reasonable ICD10 codes for episodes of care. It’s not likely that an AI system is going to read the Merck Manual tonight and replace your doctor tomorrow.

-John Halamka @ Life as a Healthcare CIO via MedCityNews

But then, in other ways, it felt very different from previous years. The impression I got, on a consistent basis, is that people are burned out on the status quo. People are tired of HIMSS being the same year after year. People are tired of “doing things to check boxes”, a reference to buying EHRs to get money from Meaningful Use, and “want to really start making things happen”. These quotes are from people at large health systems, people in the same roles that would have said something like “Epic is going to do that” when asked about patient engagement or population health or pretty much anything health IT just a few years ago. These are decision makers at the core of the health IT industry and not just startups and investors. The tide has very clearly turned in the industry.

Travis Good, MD, Co-founder, CEO & Chief Privacy Officer, Datica

What issues dominated HIMSS17? We asked, you answered

More than 40,000 people attended HIMSS in Orlando, Fla., the week of Feb. 20. The single dominant theme may have very well been the fact that there wasn’t one.

We asked several attendees and vendors this question: What issues did you expect or see receive more attention at HIMSS17 compared to last year? Here’s what we heard. (Responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.)

Molly Gamble and Emily Rappleye of Beckers Hospital Review

On the whole, there was a lot of networking occurring at HIMSS, but not necessarily purchasing. PHM still seems to be fragmented with point solutions dominating. Although I am admittedly biased, data migration & archival was top of mind for many organizations. As the market continues to mature, and with consolidation, M&A, and sunset prevalent in both the provider and vendor communities, organizations are forced to rationalize legacy systems within their portfolio and address the implications of legacy system replacement and retirement.

In addition, we witnessed a change in sentiment regarding the cloud. The anxiety regarding the cloud that was prevalent for the past 2+ years has diminished as providers and HCOs have embraced vendor hosted EHR & EMR solutions. Galen’s archival solution, VitalCenter Online Archival, is one of the few, if not the only, legal clinical archive designed for the cloud from the ground up – which is very different than simply being a hosted archival solution. Our Vice President of Product Development, Robert Downey, will be presenting on this topic on March 8th at 12:00PM EST via a complimentary webinar hosted by HealthSystemCIO – Exploring & Evaluating Healthcare Data Archival Methodologies & Strategies.

Lastly, one of the highlights and most remarkable, moving aspects of the conference was an educational session given by Galen Lead Consultant, Doyenne Connections Founder, and HIMSS17 Social Media AmbassadorMax Stroud, MSW, CPHIMS and her sister, Irene Elizabeth Stroud, MDiv, STM: Don’t you know me? Interoperability, A Patient Narrative. 

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, and our marketing partner HDMZ (Steven Ward & Dillon Allie)

See you at booth #8229 in Las Vegas next year!

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