The Road to HIMSS15: Tracing Health IT’s Rocket-Shot Rise
Photo credit: “McCormick Place At Night” by Rob Jacob via Flickr, used with permission via Creative Commons license.
In 2011, HIMSS sessions and exhibitors’ focus reflected the sunrise of meaningful use, which at the time meant installing new EHR systems and collecting patient data. By 2015, it’s clear from the HIMSS content and trade show emphasis, that using EHRs isn’t good enough: It’s time to do something meaningful with that data. It’s time to use more sophisticated technology to execute the bedrock principles of the Affordable Care Act – improving patient outcomes while simultaneously cutting costs.
That means a new set of technologies will take center stage this year, focusing on population health management, data analytics, care coordination and keeping tabs on patients – especially those with chronic conditions – between visits.
The evolution of health IT, while seemingly glacial in the 2000s, kicked into overdrive after 2011, one can clearly see when surveying the high points of five HIMSS shows, year by year.
Other trends represent health IT stakeholders’ failures to get on the same page:
- The ICD-10 diagnosis and coding language has been a steady topic of discussion for speakers and attendees. That isn’t going to change this year as U.S. healthcare still hasn’t adopted the updated coding set even though the rest of the world has been using it for two decades. CIOs and health information management executives are caught between two sides of an acrimonious debate; planning and budgeting for an ICD-10 rollout that may or may not happen becomes an increasingly untenable situation.
- Health data interoperability continues to vex vendors, providers, and most of all, patients. Can it be accomplished? Which foot-dragging parties are to blame for the lack of interoperability in U.S. healthcare, which was so straightforward to achieve in markets like automated teller machines (ATMs), the World Wide Web and retail barcoding? And, of course, the cell phone space – where calls freely bounce from tower to tower of competing carriers?
- Data breaches at insurer Anthem and the 207-hospital Community Health Systems network could top a combined 100 million compromised health records. Add to that new HIPAA audits on the horizon from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. This means HIMSS exhibitors, speakers and attendees continue their laser-focus on health data security.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the health IT market continues to expand, as the country’s foremost IT thinkers work on solving the above problems. Attendance figures could break records again this year, showing an evolving tech sector that only grows more vibrant from year to year.
Looking at the emphasis on population health – a euphemism for patient wellness – as well as a renewed push for health data security, the industry is making sure patients aren’t being left behind in the flurry of all these investments.
The political keynoter this year is former president George W. Bush, health IT’s version of the Back to the Future character Dr. Emmett Brown. While President Obama might have spearheaded funding for meaningful use and the Affordable Care Act, it was Bush who first made health IT a priority in his 2004 State of the Union address. Six months later he launched, by executive order, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
This year’s meaningful use headline will be stage 3, as federal officials will likely unveil it prior to HIMSS. What will be in it? What will be left out from the copious planning discussions the federal advisory committees conducted before passing their recommendations on to regulators? Stay tuned, and book your ticket to Chicago.
MSLGROUP staff will be on site at HIMSS assisting existing clients, meeting with new clients, trendspotting and creating content. To learn what we can do for you, contact Doug Russell. We’ll see you there.