HIMSS 2017

HIMSS recap: 5 days, 300 sessions, 1,200 exhibitors, 45,000 healthcare and IT professionals and 70,000 steps recorded on my iWatch. WOW! Now I understand why HIMSS is the seminal healthcare event of the year.

While there were so many topics and special interest sessions, I looked across the horizon and have curated the list of Top 10 Themes from HIMSS 2017.  

HIMSS Top 10 Themes:

  • Consumerization of patient care and customer experience
  • Better outcomes through connected health and patient engagement
  • Population health insights via connected health
  • Precision medicine
  • Advancing value-based delivery with on the march to MACRA
  • Lack of interoperability between the new connected health world and EHR systems.  
  • Provider, Payer collaboration and the rise of Accountable Care Networks
  • Securing the digital healthcare enterprise
  • AI and cognitive computing
  • Making innovation happen

I’m not going to go through each key theme from HIMSS, but I picked out a few that I thought set the tone.   

Consumerization of patient care and focus on the customer experience at HIMSSConsumerization of Healthcare

Consumerization is generally defined as “Reorientation of product and service designs around the end user.” In Healthcare context, Consumerization is about the changing role of consumers (patients) from being a reactive recipient of care to playing a more proactive role in managing their own health, deciding their payment plans, being better informed about the choices available and demand more quality of service. This was a common theme throughout the conference. Providers are taking this very seriously and it is no longer a nice idea, but a reality and most major providers have started planning and implementing patient experience initiatives.  

AI and cognitive computing at HIMSS

Cognitive computing systems depend on various aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) such as machine learning, reasoning, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, and more. The machine learning algorithms learn and acquire knowledge from the massive amount of data fed into to them. Through the application of natural language processing, data mining, and advanced analytics, cognitive systems can assist healthcare providers by enabling them to make faster, more accurate diagnoses. It can optimize patient selection for clinical trials through intelligent matching and it can assist in the creation of individualized treatment plans based upon genetic research to enhance patient outcomes. While still on the cutting edge, IBM, Google and Microsoft are leading the way forward.  Ginni Rometty featured AI, cognitive computing, and of course, IBM Watson in her opening keynote.  

Making innovation happen at HIMSS

The classic IT team in most Provider organizations is focused on ensuring patient safety and Innovation in Healthcaresmooth daily operations (keeping the lights on). There is not much time or budget left for technology innovation. To counterbalance this, there is a trend in larger academic healthcare spheres to create an “Innovation Center”. These groups explore connected health, cognitive computing and other new technologies that can improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and improve quality of care as they drive toward the consumerization of healthcare. One great example is Thomas Jefferson University’s Innovation Center–which has released over 20 new projects in the past year.  Some are very successful, some are not, but all of them have provided a great learning experience to build upon.   

Other conference highlights at HIMSS

Ginni Rometty Keynote:  IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty said that cognitive computing technologies could usher in a golden era for personalized and precision medicine. “We’re in a moment when we can actually transform pieces of healthcare. It’s within our power,” Rometty said here during the HIMSS17 keynote. “This era that will play out in front of us can change the world for the better.”

Ginni Rometty keynote HIMSS

IBM Chief Executive

She added that the areas in healthcare ripe to benefit from cognitive computing are new medications and treatments, precision medicine, and personalized care. Rometty said, “This will be our next moonshot.” As part of the foundation for the moonshot, she outlined three platform decisions that every healthcare IT executive will need to make in the coming year to support this transformation, including: choosing cloud, data architecture, and artificial intelligence platforms.

Cloud and mobile are enabling digital innovation: Google hosted a panel discussion with Neil Gomes, Chief Digital Officer at Jefferson Health (a Kinvey customer) and Evren Eryurek, Healthcare CTO for Google Cloud Platform (GCP). They had a standing room only crowd that was eager to learn how to take advantage of cloud-based platforms such as Kinvey Backend as a Service on GCP to accelerate innovation while still meeting HIPAA and security requirements.   

Connected Health is a reality: TempTraq’s intelligent thermometer is a great example of the many connected health solutions displayed at the conference. It combines innovative technology and design for an elegant solution to improve both the patient and caregiver experience. HIPAA compliant Connected health is no longer a cutting edge concept. It is now providing real positive impact for the mainstream, including babies and their parents.  


EHR interoperability continues to cause anxiety: EHR integration into the connected health world continues to cause anxiety whenever it’s mentioned. When new innovative ideas are discussed, there is always a big “but..” and a sigh at the end of every conversation.  How will we integrate it with the EHR? It was great to see Kinvey’s partner Redox at the conference. They are gaining traction by simplifying EHR integration and facilitating sophisticated data exchange between organizations. Their solution’s popularity and the excitement around it was exhibited  by the well attended party they threw Monday night – for a small company, they attracted a very big crowd.  

Wondering how to mobilize your EHR information quickly and securely?  Register here for the upcoming Redox and Kinvey webinar.  Kinvey HIPAA compliant app cloud and Redox Healthcare API are game can jumpstart your app innovation.

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