Over 38,000 healthcare professionals are expected to converge on Chicago, IL for HIMSS 2015 starting on April 12, 2015. In-depth innovations, education and networking opportunities will be available for movers and shakers in the Health IT industry. Many of the conversations during those five days will focus on the most exciting points of healthcare, and more than a few buzzwords will grow out of those discussions. Here’s a sampling of buzzwords you can expect to hear while exploring HIMSS 2015.
Health information organizations working seamlessly together seems to be a necessity, but forming truly interoperable systems has proven to be a challenge across much of the healthcare industry. That could be due to barriers uncovered in the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange survey, including lags in encryption of health data, difficulty in exchanging health data with non-affiliated groups, trouble blending structured and unstructured data, and the need for manual intervention to successfully match electronic patient records.
Among the many discussions to be had on interoperability during HIMSS 2015, talk on Epic Systems and Cerner will lead the pack. Though Epic Systems still dominates in the EHR market, Cerner Corp. is catching up fast, according to TechTarget. CommonWell Alliance is growing fast with the recent addition of five new members, and Meditech, McKesson and Allscripts are still in the game.
2. Meaningful Use Stage 3
Stage 3 Meaningful Use guidelines were made public in March, and since then healthcare professionals have been sounding off about what works and what might not. Stage 1 and Stage 2 were complex to a point of being difficult to implement; Stage 3 seeks to streamline things a bit, all while still pushing for higher levels of IT engagement in healthcare. During the first stage, providers needed to ensure that five percent of their patients were viewing or accessing their health records online. Stage 3 is expected to push that number up to 25 percent. Other objectives are also expected to be met, such as wider use of electronic prescribing and computerized provider order entry.
The short deadline of January 2018 means that vendors might have trouble creating the proper products to meet the requirements, as Bruce Eckert, National Practice Director at Beacon Partners told EHR Intelligence. Expect to hear plenty of debate on what Stage 3 really means for physicians and patients, and reasons why the deadline should be pushed back – or not.
3. Population Health Management
Why would Angelina Jolie be big news at HIMSS 2015? She has become the famous face of personalized medicine since 2014, when she opted for a double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene. Personalized medicine is just one part of the larger goal of population health management, or PHM, which seeks to improve outcomes by pinpointing and monitoring problems in certain patient groups.
Today, most population health management programs use business intelligence tools to shift through data. However, it is rare that those tools are used across the continuum of care, according to Wellcentive. A goal of PHM is to ensure that all pertinent data is shared across the care networks of patients, from labs to pharmacies to primary care physicians to specialists, ambulatory centers and hospitals.
It sounds like a great idea, but how will implementation work? That’s one of the questions that will likely be addressed during HIMSS 2015.
By now everyone in the health industry has heard of ICD-10, and it will be impossible to walk through the conference without hearing serious conversations about what it means for doctors and the industry at large. The change has been delayed until October 2015, but a whopping 62 percent of physicians surveyed by QuantiaMD and Healthcare Informatics say there should be another delay; 53 percent of those say that the delay should be indefinite.
Physicians cite numerous reasons why ICD-10 is a bad idea right now: There are high costs associated with the transition, payers aren’t prepared for the change, training takes time and money, and the paperwork requirements are daunting for doctors who feel they already do more pencil-pushing than actually seeing patients. Physicians see the writing on the wall and are preparing for the transition, but that won’t curb heated debates on the pros and cons of ICD-10.
5. Patient Engagement
Patients want to be more engaged in their own healthcare, and the healthcare industry is responding to that with numerous ideas that open up the patient experience. A March 2015 survey by eClinicalWorks found several promising trends in patient engagement, from both the patients and the physicians who treat them.
Doctors are implementing patient portals, according to 84 percent of respondents; interestingly, 61 percent of those aged 55 and older are using them, as compared to the 45 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 54. More than 37 percent of people have invested in a fitness tracker, 64 percent would opt for telehealth visits, and 60 percent prefer to use online means to schedule appointments.
At HIMSS 2015, listen for the great ideas that will float around on patient engagement as physicians and other healthcare professionals brainstorm ways to give the patient even more empowerment over their own healthcare.
6. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
Accountable care is getting more traction, thanks to another 89 provider organizations that joined the Medicare Shared Savings Program in January 2015. The government strongly backs the model, with a goal of moving 50 percent of all Medicare payments to alternative payment models, including ACOs. With the increases in ACOs, today more than 23.5 million people are covered under ACO arrangements, according to the Health Affairs Blog.
Big data analytics can play a starring role in improving patient care under the ACO umbrella. Expect conversations on more robust EHR systems, new ways to exchange health information and the struggle to standardize the data that physicians need in order to provide a continuum of care for patients. Also expect to hear a lot about the promise of predictive analytics and what that can do to help ACOs meet expectations in the coming years.
7. Mobile Health
It has become almost impossible to have any discussion about healthcare without bring up mobile health. In a world that is becoming more connected by the day, reaching out to patients with mobile apps just makes good sense. But mobile apps have been slow to catch on with healthcare providers – in a 2014 QuantiaMD study, 42 percent saying they would not recommend a mobile app to patients due to no regulatory oversight, and 37 percent have no idea what apps are available.
But that might all change with new regulatory oversight promised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As of February 2015, the FDA outlined which apps must apply for Premarket Notification, or PMN. But in addition to meeting regulatory guidelines, app developers must also find a way to reach out to wary physicians and prove that their applications really are worth a look. HIMSS 2015 might give them the platform to do just that.
Great Expectations for HIMSS15
HIMSS 2014 ended on a high note with record attendance of over 38,000 healthcare professionals and a whopping 1,233 exhibitors – this year might see even higher numbers. The 2015 theme of transforming health will bring these buzzwords to center stage, as well as touch on others that matter, like interoperability, cybersecurity, mobile health and much more. Expect strong opinions and valuable insights in what has become affectionately known as #HIMSSanity.