Slideshow 10 top trends to watch at HIMSS16

  • February 29 2016, 1:01am EST
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10 top trends to watch at HIMSS16

More than 40,000 professionals are coming to Las Vegas for the 2016 HIMSS annual conference and exhibition this week. They’ll be getting a steady diet of information from hundreds of educational sessions and 1,300-plus vendors on the exhibit floor. From the information we’ve been receiving in advance of the conference, several hot themes are emerging that bear watching.

Interoperability on the hot seat

It’s more than the interoperability showcase, which will feature more than 100 live clinical information systems exchanging health data on the exhibit floor at HIMSS. There’s heightened attention on the need to seamlessly exchange information among providers. It will be one of the key topics of federal officials, who will provide updates on the next steps toward advancing interoperability; other information exchange initiatives are reporting on their progress as well.

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Collaboration heats up

With providers trying to get more value out of their IT investments, vendor organizations are expected to announce more initiatives for working together. For example, Epic is expected to announce a partnership initiative with Tableau at the show, and other similar vendor announcements are expected. It portends better integration between products with less dependence on haphazard interface approaches.

Analytics remains hot

As value-based care takes hold, the ability to analyze patient information in real-time to guide care decisions at the point of care will be another significant trend at HIMSS. Presentations by analytics vendors are focusing more on achieving demonstrable gains from analytics. For example, Quest Diagnostics and Inovalon will be showcasing a solution that brings real-time analytics to the point of care.

Population health on a growth track

Providers are building on their existing systems to better handle the new demands of population health management. This was one of the main themes at HIMSS last year in Chicago, and providers are continuing to look for technology to help them manage the new demands they face, as well as manage the new reimbursement incentives.

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Security challenges take center stage

The recent ransomware attack at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and tens of millions of breached records in 2015 has underscored the need to get security right within healthcare. Providers will be looking for direction from sessions that detail security threats, the scope of the challenge, and how best to get ahead of hackers that are using ever-more sophisticated attacks to access health information.

Making use of the cloud

Providers are becoming more comfortable with the cloud, both for storing data or for running software as a service. More vendors are using the cloud to make applications and services, such as analytics, available to providers. Other vendors are using the cloud to distribute security services that can be adopted and scaled quickly. Cloud-based technology remains a rising theme on the conference floor at HIMSS.

Patient engagement solutions are growing

The challenge of getting patients actively involved in their own care was precipitated by demands of the Meaningful Use incentive program. While federal agencies eventually scaled down the requirement, it’s clear that initiatives such as value-based and accountable care will require more patient participation and buy-in to hold costs down. Conference attendees and vendors will continue to look for ways to get consumers involved.

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Telehealth and mobile technology on the rise

Reimbursement changes now are incentivizing health systems to treat patients safely and effectively in the least expensive care venues. In many cases, that’s a patient’s home, and technology is enabling information to be brought from the home setting and included into patients’ longitudinal medical records. When care consultations become important, telehealth approaches are seen as one way to hold down costs.

Sharing images and getting them into EHRs

The numbers of images—diagnostic and otherwise—are exploding, and organizations want to have them accessible to clinicians at the point of care, when they’re making decisions about how to treat patients. In addition, providers are interested in using all kinds of images, whether diagnostic or non-standardized smart phone pictures, in documenting patient conditions and the effectiveness of treatment.

Incorporating the Internet of Things

Whether it is infusion pumps or baby thermometers, the Internet of Things trend is growing in importance within healthcare. Vendors are looking for safe, secure ways to operate medical devices and, on the other end, incorporate information from an increasing list of devices into patients’ medical records.