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HIMSS17 – My 1st

I’ve attended a few of the HIMSS mHealth Summits, since they took place at the National Harbor resort in my home state of Maryland, but had not been to the main HIMSS conference before. Those who have been to both know that mHealth does not prepare you for HIMSS.

HIMSS17 – the 17th annual HIMSS conference, still going on in sunny Orlando, Florida – was my first. It is of course a huge event with five full days of activity and something like 45,000 attendees.

When you bring that number of people together in the same place, you’re certainly going to meet some old and make some new friends.

This picture was with Boz, a come-out-of-retirement psychiatric nurse who trains clinicians to learn and use technology. His full name is Richard Bosworth and he is a Registered Nurse and Clinical Informaticist with Christus Health in Corpus Christi, TX.

So any take-aways from HIMSS17

One of the things I found surprising (and maybe should not have) was that I met a lot of friends who work for companies with an interest in healthcare that I was unaware of. I guess you don’t get to be 20% of the US economy unless you involve a LOT of people.

Some of these companies had a proper health industry focused business unit, and others were trying to adapt their product or service to serve the needs of the healthcare community. This may be a good thing. We all know that healthcare has challenges right now – the system is expensive, highly regulated, and difficult for its consumers (patients) and even industry insiders to navigate. Some outside thinking may be just what the doctor ordered.

Speaking of doctors, another thing I saw was a distinctly entrepreneurial breed of physician. There were several health IT companies led and founded by medical doctors – some still practicing medicine.

Long considered a conservative bunch, these business-inclined physicians could well turn out to serve the industry – more than one patient at a time. Who knows better what practitioners need than practitioners?

Both the non-healthcare companies entering the industry and the new ventures started by physicians may lead to more “ideas” coming to the healthcare marketplace. These ideas run the spectrum from mobile medical devices supporting telehealth capabilities, to improved data aggregation tools allowing for population-wide analytics, to inpatient care solutions to improve outcomes from multi-day hospital stays. The challenge now is to see if the healthcare industry can be efficient and robust enough to vet the good, more practical ideas from the rest. One thing I am more confident of after attending even just a portion of HIMSS17 is that the industry is focusing on common goals:

Improved patient outcomes, Reduce overall healthcare system costs, as well as Improved clinician point-of-care decisions support.

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