Top 5 themes from HIMSS 2017

This year's HIMSS conference in sunny Orlando boasts a robust participation of 40,000+ attendees, 1200+ vendors, and 300+ sessions.

Additionally, the Orange County Convention Center played well as the host to the budding potential of the most innovative companies and minds in healthcare IT. With everyone under one roof, easing the flow of people traffic, it seemed like one of the most bustling HIMSS yet.

Here are the top trends from HIMSS 2017 and a new opportunity to develop solutions that respond to the demand for great design, service and function.

1) Big Data & Analytics
Every major IT vendor is generating and pulling data from multiple sources along with crunching, slicing, dicing, and presenting it for health systems and providers to generate insights about populations and individual patients. Smart extensions of the intelligence includes connectivity to communication platforms with patients and the broader care team that ensure monitoring of patient progress towards clinical outcomes, and interventions if necessary, across the care continuum.

2) AI & Cognitive
Bots, algorithms, virtual assistants, including voice-controlled devices are starting to feel mainstream in healthcare. We also observed major advances in leveraging unstructured data and natural language processing to provide personalized clinical trial recommendations for eligible patients (e.g., IBM Watson). Well thought out solutions included patient-friendly educational materials to engage patients in understanding the risks and benefits of recommendations through these technologies.

3) Value-Based Care
Population health played a huge role as part of IT technologies focused on value-based care. There was a specific focus on elevating the performance of quality measures to maximize reimbursement as part of clinical workflow in almost real-time. With benchmarks across providers, this cross-sectional visibility allow health administers a new operational tool to manage the performance of their MACRA initiatives.

4) Interoperability
EMRs announced major investment and initiatives around creating open platforms to allow the creation of an ecosystem of app development. In addition, the CommonWell Health Alliance and it's members continues to take major steps in establish standards, guidelines, and processes for APIs that drive interoperability.

5) Telehealth
The growing number and adopters of telehealth technology with employers, providers, and payers is creating some interesting differentiation due to competition. Many of them are looking for patient engagement solutions as part of the virtual visit, while others are integrating within EMR portals to create the all-in-one solution.

Opportunity: Design for the Healthcare Consumer and Next-Gen Provider

As major IT vendors dominated the Exhibit space, the consumer-oriented organizations walked the aisles searching for collaborations. The continued trend of consumerism of healthcare requires taking a user centric approach on how healthcare consumers engage with technology. With the patient-consumer at the center, all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem (e.g., providers, payers, IT vendors) need to work together to continue to design solutions that engage and motivate patients, rather than managing or instructing them. In addition, providers of the next generation are demanding simplicity and functionality of technology in their professional life that mirrors their personal life. Those organizations that bring forward great design and service along with great function for both patients and providers will have an edge.

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