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Expecting Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary at #HIMSS16

Posted on February 26, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As most of you know, I’m deep in the weeds of planning for the HIMSS 2016 Annual conference. Actually, at this point on the Friday before HIMSS, I’m more or less planned. Now I’m just sitting here and wondering what things I might have missed. With that said, I’ve been preparing for this live video interview with the Samsung CMO which starts in 30 minutes (it’s recorded in case you miss the live discussion) and so I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to see at HIMSS. As someone who follows the changes in healthcare technology every day, I’m expecting lots of evolutionary changes and very little revolutionary.

As I think about it, I’m trying to imagine what someone could announce that would be revolutionary. That includes thinking back to past HIMSS to what announcements really revolutionized the industry. I can only think of two announcements that come close. The first announcement was when the meaningful use regulations were dropped right before the ONC session at HIMSS. Few people would argue that meaningful use has not revolutionized healthcare IT. Certainly many people would argue that it’s been a revolution that’s damaged the industry. Regardless of whether you see meaningful use as positive or negative, it’s changed so many things about healthcare IT.

The second announcement that stands out in my mind was the CommonWell health alliance. I’m a little careful to suggest that it was a revolutionary announcement because years later interoperability is still something that happens for a few days at the HIMSS Interoperability showcase and then a few point implementations, but isn’t really a reality for most. However, CommonWell was a pretty interesting step forward to have so many competing EHR companies on stage together to talk about working together. Of course, it was also notable that Epic wasn’t on stage with them. This year I’ve seen a number of other EHR vendors join CommonWell (still no Epic yet), so we’ll see if years later it finally bears the fruits of what they were talking about when they announced the effort.

The other problem with the idea that we’ll see something revolutionary at HIMSS 2016 is that revolutions take time. Revolutionary technology or approaches don’t just happen based on an announcement at a conference. That’s true even if the conference is the largest healthcare IT conference in the world. Maybe you could see the inkling of the start of the revolution, but then you’re gazing into a crystal ball.

The second problem for me personally is that I see and communicate with so many of these companies throughout the year. In just the last 6 months I’ve seen a lot of the HIMSS 2016 companies at various events like CES, RSNA, MGMA, AHIMA, etc. With that familiarity everything starts to settle into an evolution of visions and not something revolutionary.

Of course, I always love to be surprised. Maybe someone will come out with something revolutionary that changes my perspective. However, given the culture of healthcare and it’s ability to suppress revolutionary ideas, I’ll be happy to see all the amazing evolution in technology at HIMSS. Plus, the very best revolutionary ideas are often just multiple evolutionary ideas combined together in a nice package.

If You Had a Healthcare IT Audience…What Would You Say?

Posted on September 16, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve been really intrigued lately by the changing media landscape. Things like Blogs and Twitter are providing opportunities for basically anyone to be able to share a message with the world. Certainly, many of the blogs don’t get read and a tweet on Twitter falls off people’s radar very quickly. However, some of the better or more interesting ones rise to the top and provide an interesting and sometimes dissenting voice to the conversation. Personally, I think this type of open discussion around topics is valuable and beneficial as long as people maintain a certain level of respect and decency.

My question to you then, is what would you say to a Healthcare IT audience?

As I considered on this difficult question myself, I decided the message that I would want to deliver: You can resist all you want, but the future of healthcare will require IT.

Pretty much every day, someone comes on this site to talk about the benefits and challenges associated with EMR and EHR in their office. As I’ve listened to the various challenges that people have posted, I’m sympathetic to them. However, almost all of those I’ve heard boil down to poor EMR selection or poor EMR implementation.

To me, the EMR selection is the absolute most important part of the EMR implementation process. Far too many doctors and clinics don’t take the time and effort that’s required to really go through a proper EMR selection process. I’m very sympathetic to them for a lot of reasons (ie. It’s not their job or interest, there are 300 EHR vendors, there aren’t great resources for differentiating EHR, there are a lot of perverse incentives, etc). However, it’s worth the cost to do it right. Otherwise, you should wait until you can do it right.

However, I believe that EMR is still only one small part of how healthcare IT is going to impact healthcare. Just last night I was at a local event and someone who use to work in the casino industry has been working for the past year or so on an app that helps improve doctor to doctor communication. Fascinating stuff.

Personally, I see us just at the very begging of a revolution in healthcare IT. IT is going to start invading every part of healthcare and will pretty much be impossible to avoid.

Certainly there will be some (possibly many) who continue to resist the adoption of technology in their clinic. However, I’m seeing more of a shift by patients and doctors that are interested in finding more ways to integrate technology into their healthcare. Most of the doctors aren’t sure what to do next, but they’re looking.

I can certainly understand and appreciate those that say that the current EMR and healthcare IT offerings aren’t up to snuff. The fact is that many of them aren’t. However, that doesn’t change my belief that IT is still going to change how healthcare is provided. It just may mean that healthcare will be changed by an IT offering that most of us don’t know about today.

My greatest wish would be that we could close the case on whether healthcare IT is important and/or it can change healthcare. Instead, let’s put our energy into finding the ways that it can change healthcare IT for good. All of us focused on using healthcare IT and EMR for good in healthcare would produce some amazing results.