Healthcare Informatics at HIMSS Global Conference

Healthcare informatics – the understanding, integration and application of information technology in the healthcare setting for improved outcomes – was everywhere at HIMSS Global Conference. From blockchain to standards, four of our subject matter experts share how healthcare informatics was addressed and advanced during conference.

Clinical Informatics

Tammy Kwiatkoski

Tammy Kwiatkoski, Director, Informatics, Technology and Innovation, HIMSS

How to reduce documentation burden on providers is a key question addressed at HIMSS Global Conference. Healthcare leaders, clinicians, nurses, developers and innovators are all looking to identify how to make EHRs easy to use while meeting regulatory requirements. These healthcare leaders and visionaries are finding some success in working with market suppliers, but more solutions are needed.

As new technologies and solutions are introduced with the intent to bring better and more data to the clinicians, they have to be usable and interoperability-related challenges need to be greatly reduced to the point of elimination.

Watch Kwiatkoski talk with HIMSSTV about how advancements in healthcare technology are necessary, but they shouldn't take away from the human element.

Interoperability & Health Information Exchange and Blockchain in Healthcare

Mari Greenberger, MPPA

Mari Greenberger, MPPA, Senior Director, Informatics, Technology and Innovation, HIMSS

Interoperability and health information exchange (HIE) continues to remain a critical focus within healthcare informatics at HIMSS Global Conference. It cannot be denied, that there was plenty of conversation and initial reactions to the newly released notice of proposed rulemakings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). While patient-centered or consumer-driven interoperability has been discussed in past, this year it felt like the industry is really taking this concept seriously. The proposed rules from the federal agencies touched on this topic as well, further catapulting this topic to the top of my key takeaways list.

Another area that certainly is not new, but took on a different tone at this year’s conference, was around the inclusion of social determinants of health and non-traditional care settings to improve continuity of care and overall population health. During the opening keynote, several of our national healthcare experts discussed the critical role that these social factors have on an individual’s health outcomes, and we at HIMSS will continue to drive this conversation forward and be thoughtful about how we frame this conversation moving forward.

Conversations around blockchain technology were abundant at this year’s conference. If there was an educational or networking opportunity that included discussion around this kind of distributed ledger technology, attendees showed up to listen, learn and share their views. Education ranged from explaining the nuts and bolts of the technology to highlighting companies that are leveraging it to address real-world use cases.

The most common use cases discussed at this year’s conference included professional credentialing, drug and medical device supply chain, prior authorization, provider directory, clinical trials and research, revenue cycle and digital identity management. As we continue to explore and understand the potential benefits and intersection of blockchain technology in healthcare, the conversations will be more substantial, more stakeholders will participate in an ongoing dialogue, and the industry will better understand where and when this technology may be appropriate in the healthcare setting.

HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf and panelists at the HIMSS Global Conference opening keynote discuss how person-centric interoperability will lay the groundwork for shifts in healthcare.

Patient Engagement and Technology Advancements

Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN

Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, Vice President, Informatics, Technology and Innovation, HIMSS

Empowering patients was a predominant theme throughout HIMSS19. From the Nursing Symposium through the keynote, the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase™ and closing sessions, the importance and power of consumerism was emphasized. It’s reassuring to see that making health data available to individuals is a high priority across the board. The challenge will be to harness our standards in an optimal way to deliver interoperability that enables timely access and high quality data sharing.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) and apps gained top billing as well. These new technologies will help us use data to empower people and improve health. Our caution from an overall industry and healthcare informatics perspective is to ensure quality and safety in their use. Opening up the flood gates to widespread use of web-based technologies will certainly ‘free the data’ but we must be mindful that health data can impact people’s lives. Oh yes, health data needs to be perfect.

Watch Sensmeier talk with HIMSSTV about tools that engage patients with their data in ways that also create a good relationship with providers.

Health Policy and Standards

Amit Trivedi

Amit Trivedi, Director, Informatics and HIT Standards, Technology and Innovation, HIMSS

Health IT policy geeks rejoice! HIMSS Global Conference opened with CMS and ONC jointly dropping two massive proposed rules that will potentially alter the landscape of health IT interoperability with a focus on promoting open APIs and breaking down information blocking barriers. From the pre-conference symposia to the final closing sessions, there was a constant buzz as far as what the rules said and didn’t say.

Standards on FHIR! The HIMSS Interoperability Showcase anchored one end of the exhibition hall and included additional large pavilions encompassing federal health, Innovation Live and the Developer’s Lab. The crowds appreciated a deeper dive into the technical side of conference with standing room only presentations covering everything from developing machine learning algorithms, standards integration profiles, app development and more.

Under the covers: HIMSS Global Conference is a great opportunity to check out the latest and greatest. This year’s exhibitors were keen to demonstrate their standards implementations and we were able to see a little of everything including bi-directional information exchange. Developers were excited by the progress they were able to demonstrate. Even though some of the underlying standards still require time to mature, the future looks very promising.

Adam Boehler, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid deputy administrator and director of the Innovation Center, details new interoperability rules with HIMSSTV.

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View recorded sessions, interviews, news articles and social media highlights from this year's conference in the HIMSS Global Conference Digital Experience

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