This year looks to be one of adventure and excitement for healthcare technology, per usual, and according to a new report from HIMSS, 2019 Healthcare Trends Forecast: The Beginning of a Consumer-Driven Reformation, we’re about to get serious about the tangible results of digital health innovation. HIMSS’ forecast is meant to detail possible clinical and financial outcomes.
“Consumer pressure is driving a disruptive technology-enabled shift in healthcare today,” said Hal Wolf, HIMSS president and CEO, in a statement about the report. “Digital health technologies are beginning to deliver on their promise to help providers understand individual consumer preferences and provide personalized care that effectively coordinates care throughout the broader health ecosystem. By fully realizing the potential of information and technology, we can create an ever-increasingly informed and empowered global community of innovators, care providers, and patients.”
Specifically, the HIMSS report addresses four key trends: digital health implications and applications, consumer impact, financial and demographic challenges, and issues of data governance and policy. “Digital health tools have been riding the peak of the hype cycle for several years now,” the report points out, “but 2019 will be the year that digital health will need to answer for the way technology will increase access to care and narrow gaps in care and coverage.”
Given these areas of focus, it’s a good bet that the upcoming HIMSS19 conference and trade show will heavily promote these ideals. Even with that, there are likely going to be many other takeaways from healthcare technology’s biggest annual event so we asked some industry insiders, experts and thought leaders what they hope become the main takeaways from the event once it has wrapped. Here’s what they said.
Todd Crosslin, vice president of healthcare strategy, Snowflake Computing
One of the most pressing issues facing healthcare organizations has long been how to store mountains of data. This year at HIMSS, the focus is shifting to how we can share data and rapidly generate real-world evidence to uncover critical healthcare insights. Modern data sharing is disrupting the traditional model of how people store and access healthcare data from multiple sources. Data must be connected from all available sources and combined with streamlined analytics and consolidated storage to deliver the frictionless, real-time healthcare insights that will advance the collective understanding of human health.
Vidya Murphy, vice president of operations, MedCrypt
The current CMS administration has placed an emphasis on listening to end consumers and bringing transparency to healthcare, with many anticipating that price transparency will allow for a transition to value-based care. A recent statistic states 60 percent of costs in healthcare are attributed to people – confirming technology could be an impactful lever in industry costs. As much as social determinants are the current buzzword amongst providers, I hope HIMSS will help identify the information and technology-driven conditions that assist in transitioning IT from transactional support to relational support for patients.”
Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., head of global health practice, Accenture
Younger generations are increasingly unsatisfied with the conventional aspects of healthcare. As they become the largest living generation and hold the most power to influence future healthcare models, millennials are looking to take healthcare into their own hands and are actively paving the way for the growth of non-traditional care models, such as retail clinics and virtual and digital services. For example, recent Accenture research has found that one-third of millennials and almost half of Gen Z’ers say they don’t have a primary care physician, compared with just 16 percent of baby boomers. Providers and payers must aim to stay one step ahead of these shifts – offering strong digital capabilities and meaningful choices that provide services on patients’ terms – if they are to earn loyalty and fulfill the needs of all generational groups.
Pete Walker, CTO of global healthcare communications network, Publicis Health
Two things that I’m hoping to see elevated at HIMSS are the maturation of a partnership-focused culture in healthcare technology, and the rapid adoption of proven “consumer-grade” technologies to improve patient experiences. Healthcare is too big, complex, emotional and expensive for any one company to go it alone, and so everyone from existing pharma and platform leaders to non-health companies breaking into the space can benefit from a cultural shift towards increased collaboration. The latter suggestion reflects a trend towards integrating the type of personalized, AI- and data-driven engagement that already exists in other industries into healthcare.
Christopher K. Lee, MPH, CPHQ, clinical solutions marketing manager, Family Health Centers of San Diego
I’m looking forward to hearing about dealing with consolidation in our industry. Every week we hear of high-profile mergers and acquisitions — large players seeking vertical integration to control the provider, payer, and lately supplier side as well. Smaller organizations have been forced to align with these large players (strategically, technologically, etc.) or react in ways that may not be in their best interests or in the interests of their patients. So I’m interested to hear what HIMSS19 speakers have to say about this issue.
May Wang, co-founder and CTO, Zingbox
HIMSS message to the hospital/healthcare community is clear: cyber-attacks are both real and preventable. The risk is no longer limited to patient data and privacy, its patient lives that are at stake. We must secure medical devices as they are the biggest threat to the overall security of hospital operations. In fact, securing the entire IoT environment can prevent a single infected connected device from spreading that infection across the network.US Department of Health & Human Services convened a task group on cybersecurity and recently released guidelines for protecting health systems from cybercrime. It’s time for healthcare IT executives to take this issue seriously.
Jeff Zucker, CEO, ADVault, Inc. and MyDirectives
I hope there’s a strong focus on digital advance care planning as an empowering way to give consumers confidence they can have a voice in their care 24/7, anywhere in the world while helping payers and providers honor the industry’s shift to a values-based world. In short, we can’t truly be a person-centered healthcare system in a values-based world if we don’t know what people value!
Chris Edwards, CMO, Conversa Health
The desired single takeaway is proof the Patient has moved from a passive role in healthcare to an active participant in her health. Electronica health record companies, patient engagement companies, community population health companies should all be showing solutions that drive towards this critical, core transformation.
Paddy Padmanabhan, CEO of Damo Consulting and HIMSS19 Speaker
I expect plenty of discussion around digital transformation as healthcare shifts towards improved patient engagement and caregiver enablement. The use of data, interoperability issues, and advanced analytics tools including AI will get a lot of attention as well. The ongoing structural shifts in the industry, including M & A activity and the emergence of non-traditional players such as Amazon, Apple, and Google will be interesting topics of discussion.
Niko Skievaski, co-founder and president, Redox
The lack of interoperability costs the healthcare industry billions of dollars a year. More importantly, it contributes to the lack of patient engagement and threatens patient safety. Physicians are getting burnt out over their data entry responsibilities. Clearly, there needs to be a sense of urgency to make healthcare data useful. Healthcare organizations need to take steps to enable an interoperable infrastructure. Providers need to attempt to adopt the technologies that will make them most efficient and push back against the ones that don’t. And patients (all of us) should demand from our providers the same modern technology experiences we’ve come to expect in every other industry.
Nicole Latimer, CEO, StayWell
Industry research shows that health literacy is directly tied to health outcomes. However, up to $73 billion is spent each year on unnecessary healthcare expenses because patients don’t fully comprehend what their medical providers say to them. At HIMSS 2019, I hope providers walk away with a clear understanding of how FHIR technology can help them instantly access and share the most up-to-date, personalized health and wellness information — from printable handouts to videos and other digital content — in an easy-to-understand format.
David Niewolny, director of market development – healthcare, Real-Time Innovations (RTI)
2019 will be the year of the platform. Payers, providers, EHR and device vendors will realize the benefits of a platform strategy vs. a product strategy (i.e. ecosystems – Apple/Android vs. phones –Blackberry/iPhone). The availability of standards-based, medical-grade technology will drive adoption of this mentality. It provides a foundation for organizations to build the ecosystems that are necessary to drive widespread adoption. This platform-based approach has transformed industries and at HIMSS19 I believe we’ll see technology that will allow the Healthcare market to fully embrace the platform, and develop solutions that will improve patient outcomes while lowering costs.