From interoperability to AI to cybersecurity, here’s a roundup of some key insights from this year’s HIMSS conference in Orlando, Florida.
Friday is the official last day of #HIMSS19 in Orlando. The annual healthcare conference, which began on Monday, February 11, was packed full of presentations, panels, products and people.
The event gave attendees plenty to mull over. While it’s challenging to distill so much content into a single post, here are seven insights that emerged out of this year’s HIMSS.
Superheroes kicked things off
The Monday night opening reception was superhero-themed and featured appearances from Spider-Man, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The reception theme tied back to the overall conference theme: “Champions of Health Unite.”
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A cancer diagnosis gave the Mayo Clinic CIO a fresh perspective on IT
During the opening session on Tuesday, Mayo Clinic CIO Cris Ross discussed how he spearheaded Mayo’s EHR conversion to Epic and then received a Stage 3 cancer diagnosis last summer.
“Our EHR conversion went well – we either met or exceeded all of our targets,” he said. “But as I had my MRIs and CT scans and radiation therapy and lab appointments and office visits, I sometimes had to cringe seeing a clinician struggle with something that we simply haven’t mastered yet.”
Current and former government officials said the industry failed to unite on interoperability
The opening keynote panel discussion on Tuesday morning revolved largely around CMS’ proposed interoperability rule. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that when it came to interoperability, “the industry was not doing what was important, what is needed for patients and for the healthcare system.” Instead, the government had to step in.
Aneesh Chopra, who was U.S. CTO under Obama, went into more detail. “We didn’t minimally require it, so the industry didn’t self-organize to say, ‘Let’s voluntarily add this additional bit of data as standardized content,” Chopra said. That’s why, in his opinion, the latest rule is critical.
And another former government official gave cybersecurity advice
Retired Brigadier General Greg Touhill, who served as the inaugural U.S. chief information security officer under Obama, offered 11 tips on what hospitals, health systems and other medical entities can do to keep data safe. A few of his pointers included adopting a zero trust strategy, unclogging firewall congestion and leveraging automation to detect and thwart fraud.
Blockchain met biopharma
On Tuesday, the Canadian divisions of IBM and German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim said they will collaborate to integrate blockchain into clinical trials. The companies intend to test whether blockchain technology can provide a decentralized framework that enables data integrity, provenance, transparency and patient empowerment. Ultimately, the goal is to improve clinical trial quality and patient safety.
Investors named their top investment picks for 2019
During the Health 2.0 VentureConnect forum on Wednesday, three VCs outlined what they see as the most alluring investment areas for this year.
Melissa Daniels, a managing director with Morgan Stanley Capital Expansion, pointed to telemedicine and remote monitoring. Menlo Ventures partner Greg Yap mentioned artificial intelligence, and Bain Capital Ventures partner Yumin Choi said he is “particularly excited about behavioral health.”
The value of AI is in tying it to outcomes
AI remains a hot buzzword in healthcare, but how can it make its mark? And how can we separate the hype from the reality?
During a panel, Karley Yoder, director of product management for AI analytics at GE Healthcare, weighed in and turned to a non-healthcare example to illustrate her point. People aren’t excited about the driverless car simply because it utilizes AI, she said. Rather, the car is exciting because of the positive implications it could have on transportation, such as less traffic and more efficient commutes.
The same idea applies to healthcare. “If we just talk about AI without tying that to better access globally, lower costs, … better outcomes for our patients at the end of the day — we’re not leveraging this transformational technology in the right way,” Yoder said.
Date: February 20, 2019