Top 6 Trends and Challenges in Health IT from HIMSS19 – Part 1

Champions of healthcare IT from around the world converged on Orlando at HIMSS19 to put their fingers on the pulse of the industry and look to the future.

Interoperability continued to be at the forefront of conversations, building on discussions from last year’s event, along with medical devices and wearable tech, cybersecurity, patient engagement, physician burnout, and revenue cycle management.

MEDHOST sat down with healthcare industry superheroes in the HIMSS19 podcast lounge to learn more about what’s happening in health IT, its challenges, and how to solve for them. Among the esteemed health IT thought leaders who stopped by, we were honored to welcome back past TN HIMSS chapter president Tommy Lewis to the podcast booth.

Chief Transformation Officer and Chief of Staff to the CEO at Tivity Health, Tommy discussed the benefits of joining a HIMSS Chapter for both those new to health IT and veterans of the industry. Given his status as this year’s HIMSS Chapter Leader of the Year and the TN Chapter’s win for North American Chapter of the Year, we’d say he knows a thing or two about the benefits of the organization.

In this two-part series, we review the top six trends that emerged over the course of the conference.

1. Interoperability Remains Top of Mind

There is a good reason the Interoperability Showcase is the most trafficked event floor at HIMSS each year. Interoperability continues to be elusive to many in the health IT industry despite how important it is to effective patient care. As if to underscore the point, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued a new rule at the beginning of HIMSS19 that bans information blocking and requires data sharing in appropriate formats.

Jitin Asnaani, Executive Director of the CommonWell Health Alliance, discussed why interoperability is so important in his MEDHOST podcast interview. Through its vendor-neutral platform, CommonWell Health Alliance vendor-neutral platform breaks down technological and process barriers that get in the way of effective health data exchange. From staving off adverse medication reactions to preventing unnecessary surgical procedures, data accessibility and interoperability has a wide impact.

2. Medical Devices and Wearable Tech Integration

In his MEDHOST podcast interview, John Murray, Key Account Manager at OBIX by Clinical Computer Systems, described his short ride to HIMSS19 underlined how widespread wearable devices have become. He shared a car with the CIO of a hospital who was checking his heart rate while showing an EKG during their chat about the future of the industry.

Murray said he expects to see a very rapid change in the hospital environment over the next five years because of how ubiquitous wearable devices are becoming. The Internet of Medical Things generates an unprecedented amount of data that will dramatically impact care, including for chronic disease management.

3. Cybersecurity Threats Abound

Not only does the Internet of Medical Things provide a challenge for data sharing and interoperability, but cybersecurity threats on medical devices are becoming more common. In his MEDHOST podcast interview, Michael Archuleta, CIO of Mt. San Rafael Hospital, drove home the importance protecting health information. “Cybersecurity is a matter of life and death, and that’s basically the bottom line.”

Cultural alignment between the business office and technology initiatives is the key to success, he said, and these silos must be overcome to achieve success. “People should be at the center of any technology initiative,” said Archuleta.

Another industry trend creating opportunities for cybersecurity threats is the consolidation of hospitals happening throughout the industry, said Murray. As consolidation crosses state lines and reaches hundreds of facilities, hospital systems become larger targets with a wide range of EHRs, processes, hardware, people, and more that can create vulnerabilities and gaps that are hard to close.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 of the HIMSS19 Review

Come back to the MEDHOST blog later this week for part 2 of our HIMSS19 top trends and takeaways to learn more about how industry champions see patient engagement, physician burnout, and revenue cycle management making an impact on the future of health IT and patient care.

Keep up with ongoing health IT hot topics from MEDHOST by subscribing to our blog and checking out our resource page.

Listen and Read for More Health IT Trends and Challenges

Podcast Day 1: Champions of Healthcare IT Live from HIMSS19

Podcast Day 2: Champions of Healthcare IT Live from HIMSS19

5 HIMSS Takeaways on Biggest Trends and Challenges in Healthcare IT

TBTH18: Throwback to HIMSS18

HIMSS18 Conversations About the Future of Health IT: Day 1

HIMSS18 Conversations About the Future of Health IT: Day 2C