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This year’s convention covered more square footage than 21 football fields and showcased over 1200 vendors, with almost 300 of them exhibiting at HIMSS for the first time. The booths were divided over several exhibition floors along with educational sessions and professional certification exams being conducted in separate meeting rooms for those interested in continuing education. All in all, more than 45,000 people attended. With all of these attendees and spectators, there were a number of recurring themes:

Population Health

Population health management is a hot “buzzword” on the market. Most healthcare vendors offer an analytics dashboard that claims to solve for the issues surrounding pop health. However, if you dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that the systems only acquire and aggregate data – and usually only clinical data. So what are they missing? In order to solve for the issues facing providers today, these engines would need to have the ability to not just look to the past but more accurately predict a possible future.  Ideal solutions would provide detail at the point of care for the care team showcasing clinical decision support while suggesting risk-adverse options for clinical treatment. Without that, the consumer is purchasing a band-aid instead of a true solution.

Mobile Health

Many of the same issues exist when it comes to the implementation of mobile health solutions. Most healthcare technologists will tell you that the mobile delivery of data has to complement how data is already delivered in a clinician’s workflow–not replace it–in order to have success in the market. There is no denying that the mobile delivery of data is crucial to the future of healthcare, but many vendors struggle with the complexity of delivering valuable, actionable data via a tablet or phone. For example, how do you deliver it to the medically frail or elderly? Does that approach work as well for a younger patient? How do you create a seamless experience across the emerging platforms of wearables or ingestibles? How does this fit into the workflow of a brick-and-mortar healthcare establishment? There are still many questions to be answered and everyone will have their own unique approach to how mobile intersects with future of value-based care.

Analytics

I’m sure you have seen the multitude of analytics providers that offer pages and pages (and pages) of point-of-care reporting on each patient panel with a dashboard on clinical guidelines.  At this year’s HIMSS, many vendors are repackaging this as “clinical analytics” with accompanying quality measures. We need to expect more from this approach. There is a clear inability to filter specific data and show how it relates to value-based care by population, by payer, by point of service, etc. How does this analysis lead to decreased costs, increased quality and increased patient satisfaction? Clinicians are embracing value-based contracts, and vendors are trying to meet the demand with rebranded tools labelled “value-based analytics”. Be ready for a fresh new wave of solutions to hit the market to try fill this gap in the next 6-9 months.

Outsourced Services

All healthcare providers are frustrated with the chaos created by having to contract with multiple vendors in order to accomplish true value-based care. There is an outcry for solutions that go beyond technology to also include clinical team members that can relieve staffing pressures to accomplish the work required for a value-based-care paradigm. Many clinicians have the tools but not the staff to operate those tools, thus making a successful deployment of their investment impossible. Vendors that are able to provide a bundled solution of technology and services will be the most successful in this new frontier.

Cyber-Security

The exhibit floor had a section specifically dedicated to cyber-security which was exciting to see! As a whole, the industry does not have a great track record when it comes to data governance. Much of what has been rolled out regarding data custodianship ‘in the wild’ was either for data recovery or to specifically meet the basic requirements of HIPAA or a loosely-worded BA agreement. Real data governance requires more than this, and as we move into an ever-connected society this has to be at the forefront of our minds.

Ontology Management

An ontology is a formal approach to naming and defining a collection of data, including its properties and relationships to other terms and concepts. Those who make data the core of their business need to understand the data, and an ontology-based approach is mandatory for that to work. Speaking from a ‘systems thinking’ and ‘flow’ perspective, just having a catalogue of APIs to plug into different databases is great, but you can make that data actionable by leveraging a standard that can be understood by those wanting to use it to action. This is crucial for an ‘aggregation’ platform to become an ‘accessible’ platform for all users. Simplicity beats complexity every time.

 


CONCLUSION:

We predict that next year’s convention will continue to concentrate on managing risk (P4P, CMS, Commercial, one-sided, two-sided, and full-actuarial). The bottom line is that in today’s healthcare world, how clinicians, patients, and payers approach, embrace, deflect, and avoid risk has changed. To understand that, realize that it’s all about understanding data and human behavior. What we do with that knowledge is what defines our future success at achieving the triple aim.