The Buzz from THINK and HIMSS19

Interoperability, FHIR, Engagement, and AI

HIMSS19 is in the rear-view mirror, but that doesn’t mean the buzz from HIMSS has diminished.  Our favorite part of HIMSS is always spending time with clients and discussing their reactions to the announcements and sessions. This year, IMT was pleased to host our annual client reception at Orlando’s Cuba Libre — with an abundance of good food, great refreshments, and thought-provoking conversations.

The very same week, IMT executives attended IBM’s THINK conference in San Francisco and had their own client conversations.

Since the conferences, we’ve been talking about the common themes that we heard across both events.

Interoperability and data sharing

Data interoperability has long driven our clients, fueling a focus on standard integration methods (that save time and money) and a largely standard set of data to facilitate patient/person/citizen record matching.

Increasingly, we hear customers talk about the need to ensure interoperability of lab and imaging data, too. The driver may be to overcome cumbersome EHR processes and put data in front of the caregiver as quickly and efficiently as possible, as our client Cabell Huntington Hospital specifically shared. The heightened emphasis on interoperability of lab and imaging data may also stem from data being used for analytics, business intelligence, and population health activities.

Regardless of the reason, ensuring a single, consistent view of clinical data is foundational to providing good care — hence IMT’s specific healthcare offerings — and may help patients avoid repeated, expensive tests. After all, any mis-placed or lost test creates a potential safety risk, so let’s make sure results are available so tests aren’t unnecessarily repeated.

Standards and FHIR

There was certainly lots of buzz about Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) at HIMSS, particularly in the Interoperability Showcase. We already have clients undertaking their first FHIR projects, and many more asking questions. These clients are interested in exposing FHIR interfaces to outside entities for queries against their patient, provider, and location registries. We will explore it more in a future post.

Consumer engagement and patient access to data

HIMSS speakers (including Seema Verma, Donald Rucker, and others) emphasized the critical nature of patients having ready access to their own data. Obviously, lots of obstacles can be encountered (i.e. crossing state borders with conflicting laws, substance abuse special requirements, minors, consumers’ varied tech aptitudes, etc). Sadly, some providers even set up roadblocks.

We hear repeatedly from clients (and again at the HIMSS reception) how important it is to create a single view for patient safety. This same single view is vital to the integrity of an enterprise record that is released to a patient. Otherwise, healthcare organizations risk a HIPAA violation if records are co-mingled erroneously, or they may face disgruntled consumers if not all relevant records are released upon request.

Innovation including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning weren’t top of mind among the HIMSS attendees we met, but they prompted plenty of talk among IBM THINK conference attendees.

As other industries make strides with AI and ML, we are beginning to explore how we might apply these fast-changing disciplines to patient record matching and the associated task resolution. Only a few clients are asking about it now, but as more of us use AI in our daily lives, it’s inevitable that we can find some value in applying it to long-standing healthcare challenges.

While the year’s two biggest tradeshows are behind us, we are busy preparing for more focused shows where we will highlight solutions  to solve our clients — and the industry’s — priorities. Hope to see you at one of the shows.

3/31 – 4/2:  CLMA KnowledgeLab in Grapevine, TX.   IMT will be in booth 413 and will be giving a presentation in the exhibition hall

  • Session Title: Put Your Lab Orders in the Fast Lane!
  • Speaker Name: John Wieler, VP of Business Development
  • Session Date/Time: Monday, April 1, 2019 | 12:10 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

4/30 – 5/1:  Executive War College, New Orleans, LA.  Cabell Huntington will be presenting the OQM Case Study!