Our Top 10 Learnings from HiMSS18

Mark Sabotti, Head of Business Development
Tim Pegler, Consumer Health Specialist

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Our team attended the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual international conference for 2018 in Las Vegas last week. With over 45,000 attendees from all over the world, it is the event that brings the global healthcare industry together to discuss the latest trends in health information and technology as well as overcoming key challenges. Customer focus, centralised data and connectivity were the big themes to emerge from the conference this year.

Here are our top 10 learnings from a packed week:

  1. Hospitals are acutely aware they need to treat patients as customers to win business and loyalty. Initiatives showcased included maternity liaison teams, timely access to medical records and education materials, and services for stress-free navigation from home to healthcare appointments - including Uber Health.

  2. Interoperability is essential and hospital systems and healthcare professionals need to connect with each other and a vast range of devices in order to deliver the level of centralised data required for predictive and personalised medicine.

  3. Data is accumulating everywhere and hospitals are untapped wells of information. ECG machines, anaesthetic devices and more all offer insights that can improve medical practise and save lives as interoperability improves. Hospitals already have algorithms predicting which patients will experience cardiac arrest in emergency departments.

  4. Machine learning, powered by hospital and other health data including genomic information, is creating an ethical minefield. Who gets treated or has treatment halted? Who gets access to more expensive medications?

  5. Telehealth is gaining mainstream acceptance because it offers fast, customer friendly, cost-effective access to healthcare. In the USA, for instance, 700,000 military veterans use telehealth each year.

  6. Virtual Reality is becoming an accepted therapy for mental illnesses and rehabilitation, and a powerful training tool for medical students.

  7. Voice technology could be a game-changer, especially for elderly and disabled patients. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and robot companions are new ways for people to connect to care. Indeed, humans tell things to virtual assistants that they might not confide elsewhere. Voice analysis is also being used to diagnose conditions ranging from high cholesterol to depression.

  8. Wearables and Internet of Things devices won’t be fully accepted within healthcare without rigorous clinical trials and collaborative partnerships (including data and revenue sharing) between healthcare providers, payers and the pharmaceutical industry. That said, the data derived from medications and IoT may become more valuable than the drugs and devices themselves.

  9. Medications management requires seamless integration between hospital hardware and software - and a portable, simple solution reminding consumers when and how to get the most from their medicines.

  10. Smartphone-wielding consumers expect their healthcare information to be portable, meaningful and available wherever they are, whenever they want it.