Aug 05 2021

HIMSS21: 4 Healthcare Lessons to Guide Organizations Beyond the Pandemic

HIMSS21 goes live in Las Vegas and online Aug. 9-13 with a hybrid conference experience.

The annual HIMSS conference returns this month, in Las Vegas and online with a five-day hybrid event set for Aug. 9-13, after a canceled conference last year. 

More than 18,000 people have already registered for the digital and in-person experience, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The healthcare IT conference and exhibition, one of the largest in the industry, has several health and safety protocols in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for attendees, speakers, exhibitors and events staff. A more recent update requires the use of face masks by all, following recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Nevada. Other onsite protocols include the use of hospital-grade air ventilation systems, a clinic for COVID-19 testing, socially distanced seating options and more.

This year’s conference is sticking with the “Be the Change” messaging from last year, guiding healthcare leaders toward a future beyond the pandemic.

HealthTech will be attending HIMSS21 virtually, and we’re previewing some of the topics that will lead conversations throughout the week.

1. Your Digital Healthcare Strategies Matter

The healthcare industry realized the importance of a digital strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic, when safety restrictions prompted social distancing protocols, work-from-home measures and an uptick in the use of virtual care.

What’s next for healthcare organizations? Through an onsite video presentation, CDW experts will share insights on protecting and strengthening digital health strategies for better outcomes.

“A lot of security strategies and the ability to rapidly manage and deploy large-scale architectures all come back to infrastructure automation,” says Casey Bleeker, director of strategic go to market, digital velocity solutions at CDW, who will be in conversation with CDW Healthcare CTO Tom Stafford.

At another onsite session, Dr. Yaa Kumah-Crystal, assistant professor of biomedical informatics and pediatric endocrinology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will share her perspective as the project lead for the Vanderbilt EHR Voice Assistant (VEVA) as one example of how health systems are using natural language processing to improve electronic health record capabilities.

LEARN MORE: How can healthcare leverage natural language processing for medical records?

“When we can get to the point where the EHR can intuitively go through the body of information in the patient’s record and understand like a normal person would — the natural language, the content, the theme that’s being conveyed in the note, and then summarize that back to a provider — that’s going to be a game changer,” she tells HealthTech.

Kumah-Crystal will also speak on an in-person keynote panel about the incoming generation of health IT leaders.

Chris Logan, VMware’s executive healthcare adviser for the global industries group, will speak at an onsite session about EHR modernization. Ahead of his talk, he tells HealthTech, “The more people we can get in the consumer sphere involved in their care because we’re extending these types of technology services, I would wager to say, the healthier our population could potentially become.”

In a digital session, IBM healthcare experts will speak at a spotlight keynote about recent lessons concerning the chance to scale new norms to ensure continued resiliency. A later digital session will explore how healthcare can learn from other industries, with speakers from Northwell Health and Kaiser Permanente, among others.

2. Optimize Your Data-Driven Approach

Modern healthcare organizations process, store and analyze large streams of data, from Internet of Medical Things devices to online patient portal interactions.

One digital session, featuring the associate chief medical informatics officer and assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, will address the need to enhance data quality for meaningful information sharing inside and outside of hospitals.

At a digital keynote event, the president of health IT and EHR technology company Cerner will speak about the changing landscape of care delivery and what to expect over the next five years and beyond.

And a digital panel discussion will look at the ways data-driven care management can lower costs and improve patient care, with speakers from Amazon Web Services, Mercy Health, the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business and the University of New England.

3. Keep Security at the Forefront

With the healthcare industry particularly vulnerable to ransomware and other cybersecurity attacks, organizations need to make sure security is top of mind and not tacked on at the last minute to their virtual and in-person approach to care delivery.

Experts from Geisinger Health System, Northwell Health and the AbedGraham Group will come together for a digital session on securing the hybrid health system that has emerged in response to the pandemic.

Next, tech industry and government cybersecurity experts, including former National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, will discuss challenges and resiliency during a digital panel discussion on how healthcare organizations can protect themselves during vulnerable times.

Another related digital session, featuring speakers from LifeBridge Health and Centura Health will explore the relationship between CISOs and CIOs and how to align strategies and ensure a flourishing partnership.

4. Expand Your Virtual Care Options

From remote patient monitoring to virtual visits to the doctor, the use of telehealth skyrocketed during the pandemic and shows signs of staying popular beyond the immediate health crisis.

One digital panel discussion will explore the lessons learned so far and discuss strategies for the healthcare industry moving forward. Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan will speak at a digital spotlight keynote event in conversation with HIMSS President and CEO Hal Wolf. And another digital panel session will tackle the future of tech and care specifically for older adults.

To get some perspective on how out of this world virtual care can be, an onsite session featuring NASA officials will dive into the agency’s use of telemedicine for astronauts in orbit.

Keep this page bookmarked for our ongoing virtual coverage of HIMSS21. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthTechMag and join the conversation using the hashtags #HIMSS21 and #CDWHIMSS.

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