HIMSS15: Hottest topic, Common Pains and Interesting Learnings

Some observations from HIMSS15

andyAndy Nieto, Health IT Strategist at DataMotion, recently attended HIMSS15 in Chicago. He recapped the most interesting things he learned, details the biggest pains he saw attendees facing, and discusses the hottest topics this year. If you weren’t able to attend, this article will bring you up to speed on this year’s conference and trends.


  • What was the most interesting thing you learned or saw at HIMSS15?

The most interesting thing was all the ways the healthcare community is extending beyond the hospital and provider to the broader community. Unlike many years in the past, this year everyone was demonstrating the need to put the patient first, as well as starting the conversation of how do we elevate the need of the patient. This is something that has not been seen in past years. I also noticed that vendors are more unified in their participation in growing the health it infrastructure.

  • What was the biggest thing you took away from the conference?

The biggest thing I took away was the need to reduce barriers to interoperability. We can lower these barriers through things like raising standards and expectations, and demanding them within the guidelines and regulations. Related to that I think we still have some who tend to do things just to the letter of the law, and not the spirit of it. For example if these vendors are told to move a transition of CCD then they will. But often these vendors are doing the bare minimum and not leveraging all health IT technologies at their disposal. Doing the bare minimum of what is required is not enough for real interoperability. We as vendors need to take the time to see how technology can improve and make the process better for the end users.

  • Did anything you learn surprise you?

Nothing surprising but I was disappointed to see so many of the large EHRs behaving in a very closed/non-interoperable fashion, while the smaller EHRs seem way more nimble and innovative.

  • What was the biggest pain you saw attendees facing?

The biggest pain I saw attendees facing was the difficulty in finding and understanding ways to unify their silos of data. Everyone has silos of data that they have to deal with between systems. The challenge most are facing is making data uniform enough to make it useful.

  • What was the hottest topic at HIMSS15?

That one’s easy, population health. There are a number of components to population health such as how do we address security, interoperability, and resources. Truly interoperability, and how to manage these communities and big data, are at the core of this topic.  This includes the trend of moving towards fee for value vs fee for service.

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