Insights from HIMSS15

It’s just over a week since the close of HIMSS15 in Chicago and time for some immediate reflections. As always, the conference provided a vast amount to think about – both in terms of new technology, and more importantly new trends.

We’ve compiled some of the highlights of the conference, and some trends and conversations ahead of the Health Evolution Summit which starts on April 29.

by Lisa Pettigrew, General Manager, Global Healthcare, CSC

The “I” in CIO Stands Increasingly for Innovation

American Medical Association President, Dr. Robert Wah (who is also CSC’s Chief Medical Officer) opened the HIMSS conference with an awesome keynote detailing his vision for the future of healthcare. One of the key takeaways from his presentation was the need for CIOs to innovate and create a balance between new technologies and existing facility infrastructures. In the past, innovation took a great deal of trial and error, but today’s rapid cycles allow CIOs to embrace change more easily. Modern healthcare information technology (HealthIT) should increase organizational flexibility and agility while reducing costs by standardizing operating environments and embracing consumer-focused technology (a theme we saw throughout HIMSS). And of course always putting the patient first.

Security Still A Key Concern

With innovation comes a need for vigilance; The healthcare industry has made great strides over the past few years, but security remains a primary concern of the industry (especially among those who deal with a BYOD – “bring your own device” – workforce). The fact is, any industry with a great deal of information and intelligence sharing is open to attack, so CIOs whose job it is to protect data are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to ensure security.

Drivers of Transformational Change

A theme emerged among the presentations and exhibits at HIMSS: Three key drivers will keep HealthIT moving forward. Advances in medical science, such as breakthroughs in genomic research, are happening faster than ever, and CIOs (and all health leaders) need to keep up with them. Changing demographics, lifestyles and disease patterns are also a key concern of healthcare, and the aforementioned genomic research can make predicting health issues easier. Finally, the rise of the informed consumer is allowing patients to take control of their own health, and mobile health and telemedicine can go a long way towards this goal.

Wearable Technology Is the Future

Mobile devices, apps and wearable technology are on the cusp of changing healthcare as we know it; the evidence was all around at HIMSS. Even before the Apple watch officially made its debut, apps and innovations were being rolled out. This allows patients to take control of their own health tracking, part of a larger revolution of patient-led innovations.

No doubt similar themes will surface at the Health Evolution Summit, with sessions focused on emerging (and, for that matter, decaying) models in health, as well as potentially disruptive models, the need for agility in health information technology will be a much-discussed topic.

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