The QTS team recently returned from the HIMSS17 Conference, one of the largest healthcare IT conferences in the world. The theme for this year’s conference, “Where the Brightest Minds in Health and IT Meet,” is an apt description for the industry leaders from the healthcare, technology and government landscapes who converged on Orlando in February. For five days these innovators came together to discuss revolutionary ideas, emerging technologies and today’s most pervasive challenges. In this blog we will take a look at the week’s prevailing themes and discussions.
Both of the kick-off speakers for the week recognized that healthcare IT has gained tremendous momentum in recent years. During his welcoming remarks, Dr. Michael Zaroukian highlighted the fact that 87% of physicians cite paperwork and administrative tasks as the leading causes of stress and burnout. He went on to say that these providers are turning to the healthcare IT community for ways to reduce the amount of time it takes to “review and document care” and enable these clinicians to spend more time with their patients.
During IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s opening keynote address, she emphasized the revolutionary impact healthcare IT is having on both provider operations and patient care. She outlined three principles for navigating healthcare IT’s golden era:
Purpose – Technology should augment, not replace human intelligence.
Need for Transparency – As the role of AI and cognitive technology expands, IT professionals must be clear about the “who” and “how” of this smart technology's training and when it will be used in patient care.
Skills for a New Landscape– Coining the phrase “new collar,” Rometty’s highlighted the need for training and expertise capable of utilizing advanced technologies in the coming era.
Opening Keynote Speaker Ginni Rometty also emphasized that the need for highly integrated and secure cloud environments is greater than ever, which was a constant theme for the entire conference. Cloud providers are being challenged to help their customers develop compliant cloud strategies with industry-leading security.
The technology community has witnessed the sweeping impact of artificial intelligence in the entertainment, education and commercial landscapes. But this revolutionary technology is reverberating in the healthcare community as well. When discussing IBM’s Watson Health, Rometty described cognitive healthcare as “real and mainstream.” She went on to describe three key aspects of a world with cognitive healthcare technology:
1. The ability to discover new medicines and new solutions.
2. A world with precision medicine and scalable solutions.
3. The ability to analyze vast volumes of medical data.
During his address, businessman and Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec described the healthcare community as the most hacked industry in the world. Electronic medical records are becoming one of the most valuable commodities on the digital black market. Plus, as the presence of IoT continues to grow, so does the attack surface. But despite facing more sophisticated cyber threats and more vulnerability points, National Cyber Security Alliance Executive Director Michael Kaiser struck an optimistic tone, saying that healthcare “cybersecurity doesn’t stop you, it enables you to do more.”
During his welcome, Dr. Zaroukian highlighted the fact that the healthcare IT community is constantly challenged to provide more valuable data for clinicians. This data should improve patient care, enhance a patient’s ability to participate in their care plan and reduce the amount of time physicians spend recording patient information. It should also improve how patient records are shared, accessed and analyzed, leading to more cooperation and collaboration across the entire healthcare industry. Capturing this theme, Dr. Zaroukian described HIMSS’ purpose as bringing together industry leaders to “develop, deploy, optimize and use IT solutions to improve the health and wellness of patients, families and communities.”