What’ll be hot at HIMSS19? Some predictions

by Damon Auer

Each year the HIMSS Annual Conference serves as a showcase for some of the most buzzed about, cutting-edge trends and technologies across the healthcare industry. Ahead of the conference, which starts February 11 in Orlando, Florida, I thought it would be fun to consider some of the biggest and latest trends and topics in the industry. I’m curious to see how many of these line up with what’s planned for HIMSS19 this year.

Personalized, smart, holistic and new

Personalized care. More providers are adopting a personalized care approach with a focus on consumer engagement and coordinated, personalized care experiences. Just like population health was a catchall headline the past few years, personalized care and personalized medicine are likely to be included in nearly every track.

Artificial intelligence (AI). I expect we’ll see AI everywhere at HIMSS. Every organization will claim that its software solutions are enhanced by AI – even if that enhancement is entirely indiscernible.

Integrated behavioral health. The idea that clinical info is the only patient info that matters is thankfully being replaced with more holistic views of the person — including behavioral, preferential, aspirational and social determinants — and being factored into care plans and navigation.

“We’re not an EMR company…” We’ll see the big legacy electronic medical records (EMR) vendors such as Cerner, Epic and Allscripts continue to distance themselves from their old stodgy EMR business. That’s already started at Cerner, and it’s an interesting strategy that underscores the move toward platform solutions and the “network effect” as the EMR market continues to consolidate.

Consumerization, Digital Me and care everywhere

Tied to both patient engagement and the emphasis on factors beyond simply clinical in caring for people is the growing concept of “Doctor Me,” based on the concept that there is nobody more motivated to care for and understand me than me. Increasingly, consumers want clearer answers to what ails them and what they need to do to address their health issues. And with so many tools becoming available to patients as consumers of care, the concept of consumers as doctors or navigators of their own health will be a prominent theme.

With digitization and the increasing amount of data about the individual — self-generated, generated by the healthcare system, and generated online — I’m thinking about the concept of the Digital Me vs. the Physical Me. We can use AI to surface insights about Digital Me and — with the right engagement and orchestration technology — drive better outcomes for Physical Me. That AI insight is only as powerful as the data it can observe, and as consumers pay more attention to the Digital Me, AI will become an increasingly important tool in amplifying the role of consumers in their own health outcomes.

All these trends are fueling access to care everywhere. Today, consumers can get healthcare advice telephonically, through AI-enabled chatbots, or in person at nontraditional locations — for example, from a nurse at a gym or a clinician who will visit you at work or at home to carry out a procedure. The concept of the retail clinic is a bow to consumerization, and enabled by the rise of digitization — from AI, to personalized care, to the concept of Doctor Me and the records associated with Digital Me.

With consumers taking over a larger share of the care continuum, we’re slowly chipping away at the time clinicians have to spend on low-level, administrative patient tasks — freeing them up to spend time on more complex diagnosis and care activities.

One more trend that is key to enabling personalized care and improved access to health data is interoperability. More and more companies are announcing interoperability agreements, and increasingly those agreements, as well as mergers, are traversing nontraditional industries. Consider the Microsoft and Walgreens Boots Alliance agreement to develop new healthcare delivery models and retail developments, or the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase alliance to form an independent healthcare company for U.S.-based employees.

There will inevitably be new deals, new technologies and new ways to change the healthcare system on display. I’m looking forward to seeing what innovations are heralded at HIMSS.

Damon-Auer-headshotDamon Auer is a vice president with DXC’s Healthcare and Life Sciences group. He is a 20-year technology and consulting services executive specializing in helping health and life sciences organizations achieve business performance improvements. With a passion for driving the personalization of care, he was instrumental in the development of DXC Health360.



  1. Great piece Damon….I work for HIMSS and blog for DXC and hope to see you at the show !

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