Key trends at HIMSS 16

HIMSS is the biggest conference within healthcare IT. Here is some of the key trends I found interesting at HIMSS 16. Please feel free to comment on the post if you participated and found other interesting trends.

1. Ways of doing innovation

Innovation is a big theme at HIMSS and an interesting discussion here is how to scale innovation. True outcome of innovation is first realized when it is rolled out throughout the enterprise and not just confined to a corner of the organization. Pravene Nath, CIO Stanford Health Care, send out a pledge to startups, to focus on solving the hard problems and not just come up with another app or platform.

2. New business models

Health and technology providers explore new business models focused on partnerships and outcome. Frans van Houten, CEO, Philips is working on transforming Philips into an outcome-based company starting with their advanced customers. An example is a project Philips was doing with Karolinska Hospital about the clinical pathways for stroke patients.

Picture: CEO of Philips Frans van Houten talking about Philips vision for healthcare.

3. Interoperability

Interoperability is another hot topic. More vendors are focusing on opening up and more API’s are being available to developers. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services, presented a new initiative about integrating care that all the big EMR vendors were supporting. The focus on more openness and integration was present at the exhibitor floor where all the big vendors displayed their initiatives.

Examples of some of the major EMR providing API’s for integration to their solutions:


4. Patient Involvement

Patient involvement is a focus area, while still largely underserved. The trend is to include the patient during treatment both within the hospital setting and outside the hospital settings through new solutions and apps.

5. Internet of things and cyber security

Internet of things is coming but was not as prevalent as I had expected. However, a clear theme related to IoT and more cloud-based services was how to build secure healthcare solutions. An effort that requires both regulators, health providers and health vendors to work together. Especially, an increased focus is coming on the developers of new health technology to build in security by design.

Picture: The penalties for breaches of security.

6. Population management

Population management was one of the most dominating themes, both in the talks and in the exhibition. While doing population management as a purely analytic exercise might generate interesting knowledge, the true power of population management is when it affects the habits of the individual person, the relatives and the caregivers. So far, the analytics part is getting the most attention.

7. Precision medicine

Precision and personalized medicine was an upcoming theme, but most talks and exhibitors just scratched the surface on how to include information about pharma genomics in the Electronic Medical Records (EMR), or work with correlation of genetic data across healthcare systems. I think we will see a lot more in this area for HIMSS 2017.

Picture: From the talk: “Precision Medicine in the Information Age” (slides)

8. Artificial Intelligence

IBM promotes their Watson Health Cloud and they have been busy acquiring companies that provides additional data for their analytic cloud. However, the area was only briefly touched at the conference and I personally missed input from Google DeepMind Health,Enlitic and similar companies discussing the implication of AI in healthcare, including regulatory issues and the transformative power it might bring.

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