HIMSS13, the annual conference of the Health Information and Management and Systems Society, wrapped up in New Orleans last Thursday. The five-day conference and exhibition drew nearly 35,00 attendees this year, thanks in part to high-profile speakers such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Eric Topol, chief academic officer at Scripps Health and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine.
Eric Topol speaks at the HIMSS13 conference in New Orleans last week.
Here are five key ideas that came out of the conference:
1.) Interoperability is essential. So essential, in fact, that HIMSS dedicated an entire room to it at the event. The Interoperability Showcase gathered products from medical device manufacturers and featured displays explaining how their products could work together seamlessly. Also at the event, five EMR providers announced the creation of the Commonwell Health Alliance, a nonprofit trade association that will create an infrastructure for interoperability across health IT organizations.
2.) Medicine should be personalized and patient-centered. Topol has been preaching that message for a while, and he reiterated it last week at HIMSS. As reported by Information Week’s Ken Terry:
In a wide-ranging keynote speech, Topol outlined his vision of a personalized, patient-centered style of medicine in which physicians play a much less important role and patients play a more important one than they do today. In this scenario, consumers will employ a rapidly proliferating array of mobile health apps and body sensors to diagnose and treat the majority of their own ailments."
3.) Healthcare could learn something from the airline industry. Of course, there’s a lot not to like about air travel, but according to Information Week’s Chris Murphy, the airline industry does get a few things right:
It's the fact that U.S. commercial airlines carried 52% more people in 2010 than they did in 1995, and yet they employed 2% fewer people. It's that airlines did away with unprofitable luxuries such as meals in coach and filled excess flight capacity. It's that airlines shed lots of jobs at front counters and reservation call centers and replaced them with kiosks and online bookings."
4.) Mobile health is becoming a "must-have." If your company isn’t looking for a way to make your medical device products mobile, you’re behind the times. But as Keith L. Martin of Physician’s Practice reports, Richard Krohn, president of health IT consulting firm HealthSense told HIMSS attendees that they need to keep an open mind about mobile technologies.
Krohn noted that for many, there is a "narrow vision" of mobile health as a communications conduit made possible by tablets, smartphones, or other communications means. He proffered mobile health as an entire system, extending the utility and efficiency of healthcare infrastructures and supporting new treatment modalities such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs)."
5.) Investments in healthcare are important. Ever since the Great Recession, “investment” has been a four letter word for companies, which have been tasked with doing more with less. But at HIMMS, Clinton reminded attendees of the old saying you’ve got to spend money to make money. "No country, in my opinion, can sustain a healthy economy … [without spending]," he told the crowd. As reported by Physicians Practice’s Marisa Torrieri:
He also offered examples of where investing money in healthcare technology and research, such as the $3 billion he spent on the human-genome research, has yielded ‘tens of millions of dollars in economic activity.’”
What were your favorite lessons from HIMSS13? Share them with us in the comments below.
—Jamie Hartford is the managing editor of MD+DI.