Mar 02 2020

HIMSS20: 5 Healthcare Trends Changing the Conversation

The health IT conference will focus on evolution. See what’s on deck — and which sessions you shouldn’t miss.

The HIMSS20 conference has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Read more here

Both seasoned healthcare professionals and those just starting out know that the value of providing high-quality, compassionate care hasn’t changed. The technologies and infrastructure supporting their jobs, however, continue to evolve.

That helps explain why “Be the Change” is the theme at HIMSS20, this year’s edition of the annual healthcare IT conference, which is set to draw 45,000 industry leaders to Orlando, Fla., March 9-13. The event will host 300-plus educational sessions and more than 1,300 vendors at the Orange County Convention Center. 

Despite a rise in coronavirus cases that has prompted the cancellation of other global conferences, HIMSS20 remains a go, a spokesperson told reporters Monday afternoon. (The conference has been designated a “handshake-free” zone, according to the organization.) A session on COVID-19 surveillance, response and prevention will take place Thursday.

Here are some other topics set to lead the conversation throughout the week.

1. Consumer Behaviors Continue to Drive Healthcare Innovation

A shift to value-based care and new reimbursement models is prompting healthcare systems to leverage personal technology to curb readmissions and keep patients healthier at home. 

Keynote speaker Dr. Rod Hochman, president and CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, will join industry colleagues to explain that shift and related elements of digital transformation — efforts that Hochman tells HealthTech should be rooted in user-friendly tools that inform, engage and improve the healthcare customer experience.

Sessions focused on the barriers and opportunities presented by wearable tech and the importance of thoughtful user-experience design in healthcare are among other offerings. Forrester Research and HIMSS also will present the findings of an industry survey on trends in the digital doctor-patient relationship.

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2. Health Data Interoperability Faces a Critical Crossroads

Despite longtime challenges that prevent data-sharing, progress is on the horizon: A long-developing federal roadmap to push incremental changes to electronic health records systems is expected to be released soon, and a number of tech giants (including Google and Microsoft) last year released a joint statement voicing support for interoperability.

Lowering barriers is a key part of both easing physician burnout and improving care. Sessions focused on reducing duplicative workflow efforts and on tech-focused strategies to improve clinician happiness and reduce turnover are part of a five-day lineup that also includes an interoperability showcase

Representatives from one HIMSS20 presenter, Indiana University Health, will explain how the company achieved a total redesign of its EHR system. Discussions about the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) evolution as well as interoperability among medical devices are also on deck. 

3. AI Implementation Grows in Healthcare, but Questions Remain

As more organizations increasingly turn to machine learning to diagnose disease, target treatments and streamline administrative functions, many others are struggling to determine where — and how — to integrate that technology into their workflows. 

Harnessing that potential, of course, requires a plan: Susannah Rose of the Cleveland Clinic will address realistic and ethical cases for artificial intelligence in healthcare. Other sessions will include tips for drafting AI contracts and a panel on common challenges.

HIMSS20 attendees also can learn how Halifax Health leveraged AI-powered documentation technologies to prioritize patient encounters. Dr. John D. Halamka of the Mayo Clinic will speak about future goals for AI in healthcare currently in development. 

4. Healthcare Cybersecurity Threats Are Constantly Morphing

As Internet of Medical Things tools grow in number and functionality, so do the related threats that could put patients at risk. Healthcare organizations face an ever-increasing onslaught of threat actors seeking to exploit medical device vulnerabilities. 

One HIMSS20 session will explain how Cook County Health in Chicago established a medical device security program. Don Kleoppel, the vice president and chief security officer of Cerner, will speak about the latest cybersecurity threats and how to address them.

Speakers will address why a deep organizational strategy is crucial as risks evolve. Attendees also can get tips from a panel that includes CDW Principal Field Solution Architect Mikela Lea on the balance of enabling innovation while curbing breaches.

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5. Support for Voice-Powered Healthcare Technology Grows Louder

As physician demands grow more complex, tools that leverage the power of voice to take notes and execute commands are helping to streamline care delivery and offer more face time with patients. Increasingly, they’re empowering care recipients too.

HIMSS20 attendees can learn how speech recognition tools can be used to extract text and data from documents, allow doctors to access a vastly larger amount of patient information more easily and support greater independence in senior living

John S. Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, will explain how the organization developed an interactive voice-powered tool known as Health Hub Advisor, designed to help parents improve outcomes for young patients. 

Keep this page bookmarked for our ongoing virtual coverage of HIMSS20. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthTechMag and join the conversation using the hashtags #VirtualHIMSS20 and #CDWHIMSS.

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