Colin Hung recently posted that HIMSS 2016 didn’t really have a theme and that this was a good thing. I think that’s a fair assessment. There wasn’t any one topic or initiative that was grabbing everyone’s attention. However, I would argue that there was a theme coming out of HIMSS 2016:
The Healthcare IT industry is tired and burnt out.
You know the feeling when you’re burnt out. You can’t think about any more topics. You can’t add anything new to your plate. You just need some time to re-energize yourself before you start taking on new initiatives. You need some time to reset.
While at HIMSS I heard and read a few people mention that the healthcare IT world feels a bit like it did after the craziness of Y2K. They described the feeling at HIMSS after Y2K similar to what it was like at HIMSS 2016.
I’ll admit that I was off in Italy without technology for Y2K, so I can’t compare it first hand, but the comparison makes a lot of sense. I did see how companies and organizations were trying to prepare for Y2K. After putting so much focus and worry on a project for an extended period, you need some down time to reset your priorities.
I see the same happening today. However, it isn’t just one thing that’s tied up healthcare executives. Meaningful use has been all consuming for many organizations. ICD-10 took up a whole lot of focus and training to ensure that everything went smoothly with that transition. HIPAA Omnibus and this wave of breaches along with the HIPAA Security Risk assessment requirements has caused organizations to focus on security. All of that has consumed healthcare executives focus the past couple years. It’s definitely time for a well deserved reset.
However, it’s not just the leaders that need a reset. The entire organization needs a reset and some space to relax after executing so many major projects at once (often in a very compressed time frame).
The problem is that there won’t be much time to sit back and relax. Most EHR implementations still need a lot of work. Doctors are getting more and more frustrated with their EHR and we’re going to need to do something about it before it adds to the already burnt out doctors. However, looking back I think we’ll see HIMSS 2016 as the year of the Healthcare IT reset. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s necessary.