Interoperability and Telehealth in Las Vegas: Looking back on HIMSS 2016

Guest post by Michael Leonard, director of product management, healthcare, Commvault.

Michael Leonard
Michael Leonard

Once a year, the healthcare community gathers to discuss the hottest healthcare trends. This year, the event took place in Sin City, and the turnout was staggering. Topics of choice at the show ranged from EHR best practices to the rising need for telehealth services.

Now that I’ve had a chance to step back and digest, there are a few key moments that jumped out from the event. Here are my top two:

  1. The HIMSS survey showed healthcare organizations are ready for telehealth.

During the show, HIMSS released a survey that had some exciting results around connected technology in the healthcare field. The results showed that 52 percent of hospitals are currently using three or more connected health technologies. Technologies being used by that group that stood out to me include mobile optimized patient portals (58 percent), remote patient monitoring (37 percent) and patient generated health data (32 percent). It’s fascinating to see these results, and important for healthcare and health IT professionals to know that the telehealth wave is here to stay.

  1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) made a key interoperability announcement.

At the show, the HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell made a major announcement around interoperability that was backed by the majority of the top electronic health record (EHR) vendors and is supported by many of the leading providers. This news will enhance healthcare services and allow doctors and patients to make better informed decisions. It certainly has the potential to catapult the industry forward, allowing healthcare partners to increase accessibility by improving their clinical data management solutions.

As always, the conversation at HIMSS was engaging and educational and I left with some great takeaways and predictions for the future of health IT including:

  1. Healthcare consolidation isn’t over.

The current wave of consolidation for healthcare organizations will continue for many years, and provides an interesting opportunity for the technology industry. The impending M&A activity will require IT organizations to manage significant changes in infrastructure, including developing comprehensive data management strategies and making technology investments to help the organizations successfully navigate through the transition.

  1. Health IT is providing real business value.

Attending HIMSS and seeing all of the exciting new health IT solutions only solidifies what many have known for years—technology is transforming healthcare practices from every angle. And more importantly—companies that can help healthcare organizations control costs, reduce complexity and improve access to clinical information, both for analytical and diagnostic purposes— will help transform the healthcare industry. This time, I hope that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, and healthcare providers can continue to benefit from the innovation showcased by companies at HIMSS this year.

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