HIMSS 2019 Day Two Recap

Posted February 13, 2019
By Paige Goodhew

Before descending into the mile-long exhibit hall this morning, attendees started the morning with a live rendition of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” This was fitting given this year’s theme of healthcare champions.

Chris Ross, CIO of the Mayo Clinic spoke personally about his own health journey as a cancer patient. He revealed some scary stats including that 1 in 5 people will tackle cancer. Ross’s personal health challenges inspired him to be a champion of health. Sharing data for patient care is important, he said, but it doesn’t stop there. Data must drive the next generation of cures. It must be interoperable. And we need to create collaboration between consumers and providers and between clinicians and technology professionals. He ended with “There are miracles in this room!”

HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf then outlined six challenges healthcare is facing globally: an aging population, the chronic disease burden, geographic displacement, a lack of actionable information, challenged funding systems, increasingly demanding consumers and growing staff shortages. Wolf then introduced the line-up for the panel consisting of Seema Verma, administrator for CMS, Michael Leavitt, founder Leavitt Partners, who served as both Secretary of Health and Humans Services and Utah Governor, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, former national coordinator for Health IT and a consumer-directed exchange advocate, and Aneesh Chopra, president of CareJourney.

The group reiterated the HHS proposed rule to promote interoperability of electronic health information which puts patients/consumers squarely in the center of healthcare. A recent article in HealthLeaders reports that many HIMSS attendees view this proposal as the starting line. Our own Nick Hatt offered three takeaways regarding FHIR, rural hospitals and the payer focus.

Verma commented that with data patients can engage more with providers, and providers can care better. It is the beginning of the digital data revolution. Leavitt added that we are unified today in a goal and in an approach, regardless of what side of the aisle we are from. Dr. DeSalvo said this is an exciting time because instead of talking about how to unlock data in EHRs, we’re talking about “how consumers are going to drive this marketplace and how we’re going to think every day about doing this on behalf of them.” She urged the industry to shift our focus from technology to the person and said we need more sources of data than simply what’s in the EHR. Look at the environment and other social determinants of health, she said. The majority of health outcomes are driven by non-medical factors.

Chopra, also the first CTO of the U.S., commented, “The embrace of FHIR APIs means that we’re not going to have a Betamax-VHS fight in healthcare.” Content is available; the industry must come to a consensus on how to share data seamlessly. At the same time,  all EHRs must speak a common language, and that is the power of the FHIR community.

Later in the morning, Mona Siddiqui, MD, MPH, chief data officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spoke about “Unleashing Healthcare Data,” supporting the sentiments of the panelists. She said federal departments, including the FDA, CMS and the CDC, must become more evidence-based and change the way they are using data. Data can be the conduit to partnering with the private sector. The critical relationship of the private and public providers, government policy, innovators, and consumers is a critical driver for information to be available at the point of care.

After the keynote, attendees teamed into the exhibit hall to which smelled faintly of popcorn and new carpeting to staff booths and visit the hundreds of vendors. Redox had a steady stream of people throughout the day asking questions and learning more about our value as the industry realizes the intense need for healthcare organizations to exchange data more efficiently with digital health vendors.

We welcomed Anusman Acharaya, product manager at Microsoft, at the booth to talk about Redox’s integration with Microsoft Teams enabling clinicians and caregivers to easily communicate patient data on the Microsoft Teams platform and record information at the EHR level.

Sean Vandeweerd, senior product manager at PointClickCare also presented at the booth. Just Monday, PointClickCare announced a new solution that will enable acute and post-acute care providers to eliminate data silos between care partners and use meaningful insights. Redox Co-founder and CEO Luke Bonney commented in a press release, “The transition to long-term post-acute care facilities is becoming increasingly important for health systems as they look to reduce costs and improve care outcomes.”

Taking a break from the myriad sessions, networking, and one-off chats, the Social Media Ambassadors met at the HIMSSpot in the afternoon to talk about trends and compelling innovations seen and heard at HIMSS19. This is a community of health innovators who embrace social media as a driver of change in the health IT industry. They work in exam rooms, courtrooms, boardrooms, studios and offices and have a wealth of experience as leaders across the healthcare ecosystem. They too reiterated that it’s important to not only harness the power of technology but also people to move the industry forward. Medicine is a team sport and healthcare is personal.

One of the most compelling and beautiful parts of the show is Regina Holliday’s famous Walking Gallery of jackets, each with a unique story  Here are just a few of her masterpieces:


That’s all for now! Check back later for additional recaps. If you’re in Orlando, make sure to stop by booth #7861 and say “hello”!