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The HIMSS annual conference and exhibition is always one of our favorite events because it is the place to get a sense of everything that is going on in the healthcare IT industry.

Over five days, more than 45,000 healthcare experts, regulators, researchers, and IT vendors come together to discuss current trends, share innovations, and figure out what’s hype and what’s really setting the stage for the future of healthcare technology.

I’ve been going to HIMSS for the past 20 years, and it has always been a place to get the pulse of our business and learn from and connect with industry leaders. Given the upheaval in Washington and the ongoing uncertainty in the legislative and regulatory healthcare landscape, HIMSS 2017 promises to b e a timely and thought provoking event that should not be missed.

In this dynamic political climate, the conference will provide a bellwether of what’s likely to happen in the coming months around regulatory changes including Affordable Care, MACRA, interoperability, the 21st Century Cures Act, value-based care, and what role technology and innovation will play in these shifting policies moving forward.

The future of healthcare IT

As biopharma companies think about new ways to demonstrate real world value in this patient centric healthcare environment, tech vendors have increasingly pushed the envelope, developing new ways to harness machine learning, predictive analytics, wearables, and the ability to merge disparate data sources to support a more data driven healthcare economy.

At HIMSS there will be many presentations and vendors showcasing new data generators and analytics tools, innovations in mobile healthcare and internet of things applications, and demonstrations of interoperability between previous data silos. All of these elements can help us address the growing demand for real world outcomes evidence and proof of treatment value. Some of these tools and technologies have started to evolve past the proof of concept phase, while others offer a glimpse into the future of healthcare data management.

I’m looking forward to sitting in on several of these presentations, including a session on Monday exploring social media governance where speakers will showcase how healthcare providers are using social media as a population health education tool and to convert unknown consumers; Thursday’s session on how changing industry dynamics and consumer demand are creating the need for a new model for healthcare; and Wednesday’s session on how MD Anderson built an innovative data first strategy for its electronic health record system that allows it to move data easily between records and its data warehouse. I’m also excited to attend the Rock Stars of Blockchain Healthcare program, which will explore this hot new data sharing technology that could change the way we think about data portability, and create new possibilities for analyzing population health trends and identify cost reduction opportunities.

Along with attending sessions and walking the massive expo hall, I most look forward to networking. Because it’s not enough to know technologies exist, we also have to figure out how to make sense of these advances so we can choose the best tools and apply them in ways that will solve real world problems. The many networking events and expert-lead workshops at HIMSS give attendees a place to have these conversations so they find that context.

Whether you are a vendor, a healthcare professional, a regulatory expert, or an IT guy, we all come to HIMSS with the same goal – to better understand what’s happening in healthcare IT today and to get a sense of what the future holds. This year promises to offer lots of opportunities for both, and I look forward to seeing you there. 

Topics in this blog post: Affordable Care Act, Data and Technology, Healthcare