I have to admit, going into HIMSS19, I was a bit skeptical. From past experiences, I was expecting a cacophony of “interoperable, bi-directionally integrated, disruptive innovations designed with the end-user in mind” – essentially, a litany of buzzwords that offers no real indication about the problem being addressed or how our industry is working to fix it.

I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. From my time at HIMSS19, I found a few things to be true for our industry moving forward…

We’re moving beyond data stockpiling into meaningful use of data.

This isn’t just to satisfy meaningful use requirements, but providers, payers, and vendors are adamant that better solutions are needed to help extract value from the vast stores of data that have already been collected. There was a noticeable shift in the tone of HIMSS19 from EMR vendors stockpiling data to companies working with and finding the value of data within the EMRs. Companies that are positioned to take advantage of data and use it in a meaningful way are poised to grow and make a difference at the point of care.

Leaders on the innovation side of the fence need to put themselves in the shoes of consumers.

Thinking like your audience seems obvious – but is incredibly hard to do in healthcare. Putting yourself in the shoes of a patient who might be benefiting from your technology is essential to extracting what’s valuable – and what can be improved. Cris Ross, Mayo Clinic’s CIO, addressed this issue head-on as he passionately reflected on how his own cancer diagnosis allowed him to see the challenges of health IT in a new light. Ross’ journey is a wake-up call to us all to not just consider the end-users of our technology, but how that interaction ultimately impacts the patient.

Better interfaces are needed to incorporate precision medicine into routine care.

The belief that precision medicine will help to improve outcomes and reduce costs is as strong as ever. However, even in oncology where genomic testing has a well established role, genomic test results are often poorly integrated into EHRs and are difficult for providers to access and interpret. Coming out of HIMSS19, the industry is focused on reducing these inefficiencies and building IT solutions that incorporate precision medicine into routine care and offer valuable decision support.

AI is making a real difference in healthcare today – in incremental steps.

Although most agree that the benefits of AI in healthcare have sometimes been overhyped, there is a growing number of examples that are extremely promising. These include image interpretation for diverse fields such as pathology, radiology, ophthalmology, and dermatology; natural language processing; and machine learning to create predictive models based on very large data sets.

Moving on from HIMSS19

Moving away from the nuances of these takeaways, I would urge everyone who attended HIMSS19 to hold on to the excitement, intensity, and feeling of collaboration that follows a major conference like this. It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of all the disruption in healthcare happening now – and I would argue, let yourself be swept!

Get excited about changing inefficient processes, reconsider if the routine way of doing things is actually the right way of doing things, and – above all – evaluate how these changes affect your patients. We’re already looking at how to implement some of the ideas from HIMSS at COTA, and are excited to see how other technology companies help carry the torch.