Top Trends and Outlook in Health IT—HIMSS18 Conference Report

A Renewed Focus on Data Interoperability and EHR Usability as Healthcare Heads into Peak Digital Transformation
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Published: 18 Apr 2018

The annual HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) conference is the key event for the health IT industry, providing a comprehensive overview of the state of the market from the perspective of various stakeholders, including health IT vendors, healthcare payers and providers, and government regulators. HIMSS18 was held in March 2018. Frost & Sullivan was in attendance and presents a high-level summary of the event and our take on how trends seen at the conference will impact healthcare and health IT markets in the coming months and years ahead. Key discussion points include an analysis of where CMS will focus for 2018 particularly with regard to Meaningful Use and MACRA; the need to aggressively improve data interoperability; growing concerns about EHR usability and physician burnout; and how large ICT vendors are reshaping healthcare and health IT. In contrast to HIMSS17, this year’s conference saw many new health IT-related announcements from government agencies delivered by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, Jared Kushner, Director of The White House Office of American Innovation and senior advisor to the President, and Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration. At HIMSS 18, the government unveiled its new plans to promoting interoperability, eliminating data blocking, empowering patients and consumers, and getting data to flow to enable value-based care and healthcare transformation. As part of the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey this year, the top three areas of focus for provider organizations are patient safety, cybersecurity, and process improvement. Also making the top ten was leadership, governance, and strategic planning—certainly critical areas of focus in these times of highly disruptive market changes. Healthcare is facing profound disruption driven by a confluence of factors—the playing field and the rules of the game are shifting dramatically. This situation offers tremendous opportunities and challenges for the health IT industry. For the past several years, a big chunk of the market has been focused on rolling out EHRs and related solutions in compliance with HITECH and MU directives. In addition, new financial and billing solutions were needed to upgrade for the transition to ICD-10. Today, ICD-10 is in place, the MU era is coming to an end, and we’re all a bit uncertain about the exact direction forward. Hospitals and physicians have spent millions of dollars on new core EHR and revenue cycle management (RCM) deployments and have also spent a lot of money on a plethora of bolt on solutions designed to get these solutions to do more for data analysis, population health, care management, patient engagement, and other functions. What has become abundantly clear in this environment is that a lot of the new tech isn’t living up to expectations or delivering value. Providers are frustrated, end users are exasperated and, often, exhausted. Core health IT usability and functionality must improve and everyone knows it. What we saw at HIMSS18 gives new hope that help is on the way from both legacy health IT vendors and new entrants to the market, particularly among the large information technology conglomerates whose interest in healthcare is accelerating. Our research further highlights Frost & Sullivan analyst perspectives on the major trends in health IT, areas of opportunity and what that means for vendors, providers, payers and other stakeholders. We also showcase views on select vendor announcements and news surrounding HIMSS, as well as perspectives on what is in store for health IT in 2018. Companies mentioned Allscripts, Amazon, Apple, athenahealth, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, Google, Healthfinch, Human API, IBM, Medcrypt, Meditech, Microsoft, NoteSwift,Nuance, Optum, Salesforce, Surescripts, Uber



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