HIMSS18: Keep a steady pulse on healthcare IT

March 6, 20185 minute read

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Healthcare IT is gearing up for HIMSS18. With more than 40,000 people and 1,300 vendors expected at this year’s event, it’s worth zeroing in on a few conference hot topics—whether you’re strategizing how to get the most out of your visit to Vegas or just trying to keep a steady pulse of trends in the industry.

While last year saw the shift of patient engagement toward a more customer-oriented perspective, this year’s conference can be expected to hold strong on topics around cybersecurity and data analytics, with a continued focus on contributing to quality outcomes from an IT perspective. Here are a few topics IT professionals and healthcare employees won’t want to miss at HIMSS18.

Emphasize data-driven information security

Cybersecurity is on everyone’s mind. With the emergence of new technologies, like blockchain and the expected increase in threats to industry data, any healthcare IT professional interested in understanding the current state of cybersecurity should prioritize this topic during the conference—and beyond. Even though the value of medical records is dropping on the black market, individual records are far from the only prize hackers are after.

You’ll definitely want to learn more about this topic if you’re trying to stay up on the procedures, workflows, policies, and management of both security and private health information. Discussions held on this topic will address technology from both clinical and business workflows. If you’re attending this year’s conference, make sure to drop by the popular—and now twice as large—Cybersecurity Command Center to take a few challenges and learn new ways to protect your organization, in addition to sampling one of the many presentations on securing medical devices.

Improve quality outcomes through health IT

Health IT’s been breaking out of its silo for years now, but are you ready to see an even greater focus on connecting IT to clinical quality outcomes at this year’s HIMSS?

The conference favorite, HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, will feature a look at the opioid epidemic and how healthcare IT can impact outcomes from a medication management perspective. Overall, this focus will highlight the improvement of clinical outcomes and the development of sustainable quality measurements through technologies, applications, and technology-enabled workflows. Expect to see attention given to federal quality reporting programs as well.

Address compliance concerns, risk management, and program integrity

The heart of this focus runs through multiple topics at this year’s event, so it’s one many healthcare employees should prioritize. New compliance challenges will arise when Stage 3 Meaningful Use rolls out later in 2018, and risk management concerns intersect with rising cyber extortion threats. Understanding compliance and risk mitigation in healthcare organizations should top the to-do list of every attendee and anyone at home. This topic also delves into the question of managing rising costs associated with noncompliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Looking for a highlight? Don’t miss the Mastering Compliance Symposium.

Meet the patient halfway with better engagement

Healthcare is still playing catchup when it comes to keeping the undivided attention of customers, but this year’s event highlights a significant step toward a customer-centered approach with better patient engagement. Expect a look at both provider- and customer-oriented technologies, tools, and strategies used to capture the attention of both patients and caregivers, as well as encourage active partnerships with providers and other professionals responsible for care management.

Specifically, don’t miss the Patient Engagement and Experience Summit, presented in cooperation with the Cleveland Clinic, for a look at case studies, best practices, and insights into the strategies and tools to make it all possible.

Invest in data analytics and business intelligence

Big data is still driving buzz in healthcare, so don’t feel surprised when you see streams of analytics and business intelligence questions running through and out of the event. Sessions on this topic should definitely make the conference schedule of any healthcare employee looking to make real improvements in their organization’s relationship with data. The sessions in this area will center on organization- and provider-focused best practices and lessons learned, as well as tools and resources that can help your organization make the most of the clinical and business intelligence technologies you’ve already invested in. Expect a focus on effectiveness, efficiency, and of course, patient outcomes across both value-based and fee-for-service environments.

Want to learn more? Check out the resources in the HIMSS Clinical and Business Intelligence library.

Take into account the human factors, user experience, and design

As healthcare shifts toward a stronger focus on patient experiences, the question of user experience won’t be far behind.

This topic was a highlight of HIMSS17, and 2018’s experience promises an even deeper look at human-computer interactions and workflow optimization. You can expect an overview of the user experience, as well as the human factors involved in the increasingly complex and vital interaction between patients, systems, devices, and providers in the delivery, management, and measurement of healthcare objectives.

Understand modern health IT infrastructure and standards

This focus ties all the rest together. Make sure to jump on any sessions related to this topic if you want a big-picture look at the applications of healthcare IT. Expect to see conversations and presentations on highly technical components, including:

  • Wireless

  • Cloud computing

  • Business continuity

  • Virtualization

But don’t be surprised if you run across information on any other technologies that can enable the delivery of seamless, effective, and efficient care at the regional, national, and international levels.

The key to success at any HIMSS event is keeping your schedule organized, so if you haven’t downloaded the app, make sure to check it out and start charting your course today. If you’re not lucky enough to attend the event this year, make sure you dedicate enough time and effort to researching each of the focus areas listed above so you can help your business stay on the pulse of healthcare tech trends. And don’t forget to pregame HIMSS18 with a look at how to keep a largely ignored threat to healthcare IT security at bay.

Searching for more conference coverage on Tektonika? Check out “SecureWorld 2018: Cybersecurity pros are the heroes of the future” or “SecureWorld 2018: Prepare your cyberdefense for the unknown,” and stay tuned for highlights of Mobile World Congress 2018, coming later this week.

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