The Surescripts Blog

Keeping IT Patient Centered: Top Takeaways and Tech Trends from HIMSS17

By Sandra Rodriguez, Senior PR Manager, Surescripts

Value-based care. Population health management. Patient engagement. Artificial Intelligence. Blockchain. As over 40,000 members of the health IT community descended on Orlando, FL, for HIMSS17, there was a buzz in the air and no shortage of buzzwords being shared across social spheres.

From hundreds of educational sessions and panel discussions to countless meet ups and tweet ups, there were a number of key topics featured at this year’s event. Below are a few top subjects and key takeaways from the conference.

Value-based care and patient safety: There was no doubt at HIMSS17 that the future is in value-based care. Quality is a top focus for policymakers, practitioners, solutions providers and patients, as is managing the transition from fee for service to outcome-based reimbursement. That means technology providers must design efficient, cost-saving solutions that improve patient care and safety.

It’s no surprise that patient safety was also a prominent topic at the conference. During the “Improving Patient Safety with Actionable Intelligence” session at Surescripts’ booth, digital health leaders gathered to discuss how it’s not enough to simply exchange data. In a value-based environment, the quality of the data is equally important.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain: At this year’s event, smart technologies were on the tips of many attendees’ tongues. AI was a key topic during the HIMSS17 opening keynote, where IBM’s Ginny Rometty shared that “AI is mainstream and it is real.” At the Artificial Intelligence Meet-up, industry leaders shared how they are using AI and cognitive computing to advance healthcare. Meet-up co-host Wen Dombrowski, MD, even led a dance-based, audience-participation demonstration.

Blockchain’s potential to help improve data access and organizational efficiency was also discussed during sessions, on the show floor and even during an add-on event with IEEE. Although in its infancy in terms of healthcare implementation, Blockchain has the potential to increase IT and organizational efficiencies, keep business and medical data secure and streamline patients’ access to medical data.

Population health management: In an outcome-driven, quality-focused world, population health has never been more important; therefore, numerous sessions, pavilions and technology developers focused on it throughout the conference. Attendees agreed that access to population health data, including the ability to monitor and track patient populations, is crucial to improving care while decreasing costs.

Surescripts also spoke about the importance of having comprehensive patient medication history data. More complete patient data leads to more effective analytics, which ultimately improves population health. Additionally, having a full, electronic view of patients’ medication histories—including electronic prescriptions for controlled substances—is critical to fighting the prescription opioid epidemic that continues to plague the country. See more in the video below.

Interoperability through collaboration: At this year’s event, the topic of interoperability was (thankfully) still a prominent one. From the implementation of Fast Health Information Resources (FHIR) to overcoming blockades of greater EHR connectivity, the community is still very much focused on making holistic interoperability a reality.

“From our standpoint, bringing the healthcare system together is really about reaching out to partners, building bridges and helping each other achieve mutually beneficial goals in today’s market,” said Surescripts’ chief executive officer, Tom Skelton, at the event. Surescripts was also proud to be featured in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, which included examples of interoperability in action and illustrated how connectivity is helping improve the entire care continuum.

Keeping IT patient-centered: At the end of the day, attendees seemed to overwhelmingly agree that patients need to be at the center of industry advancements, especially given the increasing role that patients can and will continue to play in the management of their health. But all too often, patient voices are left out of the conversation, technology design included.

This year, the Society for Participatory Medicine, along with Mandi Bishop, co-founder of Aloha Health and a Surescripts panel participant, started a campaign called Better Than T-Shirts (#betterthantshirts) with the goal of getting patient advocates and e-patients enough funds to attend HIMSS17 and similar conferences. It is this type of advocacy and inclusion that the industry needs.

As always, it was an exciting and eventful few days onsite at HIMSS17, and we’d like to thank all of our expert panelists and attendees who came together to share their perspectives and expertise. Please enjoy our highlights video below and stay tuned for recaps of our two expert panel discussions. Be sure to follow @Surescripts for more information.

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