Notes from the HIMSS15 exhibit hall

The exhibit hall at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago featured some of the latest innovations and offerings in the health IT world. Encompassing an area equivalent to 12 football fields, there was no shortage of company news and developments.

Here are some of the key notes Becker's Hospital Review saw, heard or read at HIMSS.

Microsoft announced the winners of its 2015 Microsoft Health Innovation Awards at HIMSS, including four U.S. healthcare providers. The award acknowledges health organizations and their technology solution partners that are using Microsoft technology to innovate and improve healthcare by advancing patient care, reducing costs and streamlining clinical and business processes. The award winners were Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, N.J., Community Healthcare System in Munster, Ind., Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City and Cardiovascular Center of Marin in Larkspur, Calif.

Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health selected athenahealth's EHR, practice management and patient engagement solutions in some physician network offices, the vendor announced.

Cerner announced a collaboration with Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System and xG Health Solutions to use SMART-on-FHIR standards for software applications across open platform EHRs.

Cerner announced a new partnership with Qualcomm Life to help extend Cerner's remote patient monitoring offerings.

Nearly all providers, 95 percent, express frustration over the inability to share and access electronic health information across the care continuum, according to a national survey conducted by Epocrates, a medical reference app from athenahealth. To address this widespread dissatisfaction, athenahealth announced it will offer CommonWell Services for free to its 62,000 provider clients.

athenahealth announced a new messaging app to be used with Apple Watch. The app, athenaText, is a secure text messaging app that gives physicians easy access to clinical information and communication channels with care teams in an effort to leverage mobile health to bolster point-of-care and on-the-go communication, clinical intelligence and care coordination.

As part of its efforts to advance the quality and effectiveness of personal healthcare, IBM has established a dedicated health unit to be headquartered in the Boston area, IBM Watson Health, which is anchored by the Watson Health Cloud — a secure and open platform for physicians, researchers, insurers and companies focused on health and wellness solutions.

OnBase by Hyland, an enterprise content management provider, partnered with NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, Samsung Electronics America and Computer SI to develop a paperless registration process for patients at NYU Langone's Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health. The new registration software will be implemented in both inpatient and outpatient locations by the end of the year.

CareCloud, a vendor of cloud-based practice management, medical billing and EHR software and services aimed at physician practices, showcased a new partnership with MCIS, a technology firm established from Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic, a large medical group. Through the partnership, the companies joined MCIS' clinical solutions with CareCloud's practice management and billing software and services. The joint offering became available at HIMSS15.

Optum, a health services company, has formed a strategic alliance with Cisco, an IT leader, to bring new tools patients can use to interact with hospitals, their care team and other healthcare resources while enhancing the patient experience. Some unique offerings include mobile access, kiosks where patients can find their way around with interactive maps, and a tablet interface where patients can check in for appointments and pay outstanding bills, among other features.

SwyMed, a telehealth company, integrates a telehealth solution directly into an ambulance so the specialist or provider can begin care before the patient even arrives at the hospital.

YourCareUniverse provided an overview of its cloud platform, which includes engagement tools and strategic consulting capabilities. The platform includes 17 nuanced solutions, such as YourCareAnalytics, which provides risk stratification of clinical and financial metrics, YourCareProvider, an interaction portal that lets physicians, care teams and patients communicate, and YourCareEverywhere, a consumer content site designed to help health systems promote their brands. The platform is designed to eliminate the old, heavy burdens of IT and instead offer smart virtual touch points with everyone in the logical chain of patient, provider and consumer interactions.

Xtream Care Analytics launched a Management Pack for Epic, a monitoring and management solution for healthcare organizations that use Epic EHR systems. It's a Microsoft system management pack that provides visibility into hundreds of indicators of Epic performance, enabling infrastructure visibility. The goal is to provide system performance data to predict outages before they occur.

The Allscripts booth, surrounded by white walls and floored with faux hardwood, dwarfed the eClinicalWorks booth, which was right next to it. eClinicalWorks did not host the sessions or keynotes that Allscripts did, but was open with only a few decorations to allow for easy networking. They're both mid-market companies and decided to take extremely different tactics for their booths.

PingMD demonstrated its platform for capturing photographs, videos and text-based conversations at HIMSS. Patients can submit relevant information to their physicians, who can then provide feedback, next steps and create secure documentation that is HIPAA-compliant.

Wellcentive displayed its cloud-based solution that manages population health by drawing data through an outcomes manager to help providers implement quality-focused clinical practices. The company has been in business for a decade and has ridden the wave of the healthcare IT transition, according to Wellcentive CEO Tom Zajac.

There were more booths this year than in 2014. Last year, there were 1,232 exhibitors; this year, there were 1,344. However, there were still multiple groups that weren't able to procure a booth, so representatives from vendors were setting up meetings on the windowsills of the exhibit halls, in coffee shops by the exhibition floor or on the patio between the East and West buildings of McCormick Place.

Zynx Health, which shared a two-tiered booth with First Databank and the rest of the Hearst Health Network, discussed its new mobile platform, Zynx Carebook. The new app brings participants in different care settings into one platform to collaborate on evidence-based transition plans and post-discharge care plans.

CrossChx showed its patient identification technology at the conference with a DeLorean in tow. Although many stopped for the DeLorean, CrossChx also discussed its success in patient identification through fingerprint scanning and alerting hospital personnel to potential medical record errors. The technology is currently deployed in 100 hospitals in eight states and is developing a mobile platform that will launch soon.

Healthline introduced a new coding optimization application for risk adjustment called Coding Insight. The Coding Insight application works with Healthline's HealthData Engine platform to pull insights from unstructured data and turn them into actionable information.


More articles on health IT:

Epic to waive record sharing fee
CIO role becoming a strategic one
4 recent vendor contracts, go-lives

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