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5 Health IT Takeaways From HIMSS 2017


Topics like cybersecurity are always top of mind at health information technology meetings, but other topics, such as artificial intelligence, also grabbed people’s interest at HIMSS 2017.

Every year experts across healthcare converge for the annual health information technology (IT) meeting of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Topics like cybersecurity are always top of mind, but other topics, such as artificial intelligence (AI), also grabbed people’s interest.

Here are the top 5 takeaways from HIMSS 2017.

1. Cybersecurity is a concern

An increasing number of data breaches—up 320% from 2015 to 2016—meant cybersecurity took up a substantial portion of sessions at HIMSS. Patient health information is incredibly valuable to hackers because the data is richer and can be more exploited.

2. New methods of data protection emerge

Trivalent released its next-generation data protection software, Trivalent Protect. The system is supposed to keep data secure even if hackers try to penetrate data on a mobile device or laptop. The system is also supposed to block breaches at multiple points, including a lost or stolen mobile device or laptop.

3. Patient engagement comes into the spotlight

Sessions at HIMSS covered how health IT can engage with at-risk populations, motivate patients create new behaviors, and remotely monitor patients to better engage them.

During a special session on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, Kate Goodrich, MD, chief medical officer of CMS and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, discussed how CMS is dedicated to improving engagement through tools and strategies, and how it developed measures to improve experience.

4. Health IT is a “bright spot” for the US economy

At the conference, HIMSS released its latest leadership and workforce study, which details health IT priorities and how they link to strategic initiatives. Budgets for health IT continue to increase and stakeholder groups are generally aligned that the biggest priorities for leveraging IT include privacy/security, care coordination, culture of care, and population health.

However, there is a disconnect over electronic health records (EHRs). Vendors and consultants are ready to move on to other issues that need to be addressed, but physicians are still trying to determine how best to leverage their EHR investments. In addition, employers are struggling to fill health IT positions because there is such a demand for these workers.

5. Artificial intelligence is already here

AI may still be in the early stages, but already people are thinking about how it can be used in healthcare. It can relieve some of the administrative burden for physicians, highlight opportunities for a more personalized treatment plan, and improve patient experience. Companies like CATALAIZE and Atomwise are working on AI projects.

The challenge is that healthcare is notoriously slow to change, and AI represents a huge technological shift.

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