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The Senate is Promoting Healthcare Innovation – How Organizations Can Keep Pace – Breakaway Thinking

Posted on April 20, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Mark Muddiman, Engagement Manager at The Breakaway Group (A Xerox Company). Check out all of the blog posts in the Breakaway Thinking series.
Mark Muddiman
On March 9, 2016 the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) approved S.1101, better known as the Medical Electronic Data Technology Enhancement for Consumers’ Health (MEDTECH) Act. As HIMSS reports, the bill aims to limit the regulatory oversight of “low-risk” medical device software, while simultaneously making a clear distinction of the FDA’s reach of authority.

But how do you define “low-risk” when it comes to a person’s health?

The answer might surprise you. These items are deemed low-risk by the MEDTECH act and will no longer require oversight:

  • administrative, operational, or financial records software used in healthcare settings
  • software for maintaining or encouraging a healthy lifestyle unrelated to medical treatment
  • electronic patient records, excluding software for interpreting or analyzing medical image data
  • software for clinical laboratory testing, excluding software for interpreting or analyzing test data
  • software that provides medical recommendations and the basis for those recommendations to healthcare professionals, excluding software for acquiring, processing, or analyzing medical images or signals

Regulations serve a purpose in ensuring that the devices used do not put patients at risk, and some fear that the loosening of these restrictions could be problematic. But the number of policies vendors were previously required to abide by was staggering. There is little value in subjecting vendors or healthcare leaders to such stringent policies with software and devices that are unlikely to lead to increased risk or an adverse event. Unnecessary regulation ultimately restricts patient access to the most current technology and impedes more successful clinical outcomes.

As HIMSS further clarified, the MEDTECH act still allows the FDA to oversee medical software if it considers the product “reasonably likely to cause serious adverse consequences.” The congressional summary goes on to note that the FDA may assess a software function for safety and effectiveness if the medical device has multiple functions. For example, mobile applications do not need supervision if integrated by a vendor unless they become linked to something of medium or high risk such as medication administration. In short, vendors get the freedom they need to explore new avenues, but the FDA doesn’t cede total control and retains an option that can be interpreted broadly enough to intervene when needed. In this sense, the MEDTECH act finds a middle ground using a risk-based approach to focus oversight where it’s needed most.

Key players in the industry have supported the bill; Health IT Now and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) both praised the passage of the act, while major vendors including Athenahealth, IBM, and McKesson strongly supported the push to pass the bill. Undoubtedly, the passing of the MEDTECH act was great news for vendors.

The benefits to patients and vendors are clear, but what about healthcare providers and administrators?

CIOs and CMIOs already have their hands full in keeping pace with a seemingly endless set of transformations in health IT. Now the senate is aiming to quicken innovation and promote shorter times for technology to reach the market, inevitably resulting in a faster rate at which organizations must adopt that technology. Some providers likely viewed the passage of the act with an exasperated palm to the face. The frustration is real; the move to ICD-10 occurred less than seven months ago, not to mention many organizations have implemented EHRs but are focusing on optimization to improve their ROI.

Simply put, there is no end in sight to new technologies arriving in healthcare, and there will not be a slowdown anytime soon. Healthcare organizations must proactively plan a long-term adoption strategy that accounts for continual enhancements in technology, with a focused ability to quickly bring staff to a high level of proficiency. Those that achieve such agility will be able to leverage the best technology to offer the highest standards of care.

Xerox is a sponsor of the Breakaway Thinking series of blog posts. The Breakaway Group is a leader in EHR and Health IT training.

The Burnt Out Healthcare IT Industry – Time for a Reset

Posted on March 14, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

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.

The Sick State of Healthcare Data Breaches Infographic

Posted on March 9, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the topics discussed at HIMSS 2016 last week is the number of healthcare data breaches that have happened recently. Most people predicted that it was likely to get worse. I agree with them. It’s amazing how many healthcare organizations are playing the “ignorance is bliss” card when it comes to these breaches.

This infographic from LightCyber should put a little perspective on the quantity and impact of all these health care data breaches. If I were the leader of a healthcare organization, I’d be making this one of my top priorities.

The Sick State of Healthcare Data Breaches Infographic

No Single Theme Dominated HIMSS16 and That’s Exciting!

Posted on March 8, 2016 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin is a true believer in #HealthIT, social media and empowered patients. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He currently leads the marketing efforts for @PatientPrompt, a Stericycle product. Colin’s Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung

HIMSS 2016 Attendance Numbers

Last week, over 41,000 people descended on Las Vegas for the annual HIMSS conference, #HIMSS16. Attendance was down slightly compared to the previous year, but it sure didn’t feel like it in the crowded hallways and aisles in the Sands Expo Center.

I truly enjoy HIMSS in Vegas. I find that people are more energetic and more willing to conduct business when the conference is held there. It feels like it is easier to have conversations with people in Vegas. Perhaps it is the oxygen they pump into the casinos or perhaps it is simply the aura of the town rubbing off on people.

Having impromptu conversations is one of things I love most about HIMSS. I always gain a tremendous amount of perspective when I randomly stop and chat with people in the exhibit hall. That trend continued this year, but after the first day, I felt something was missing from my discussions. It wasn’t until today that I realized what that was…there was no single consistent theme from #HIMSS16.

Over the past several years there has always been a single topic that dominated the conversations at HIMSS. Interoperability, Meaningful Use, Big Data, Patient Engagement and Population Health have all been hot-button HIMSS themes. This year, no single dominant topic emerged. There was certainly talk about gender parity, interoperability, moving to a value-based system, telehealth and Big Data, but there was no consistency to the conversations I had with fellow attendees.

I think this is a good sign. In fact, I’m excited about it.

HealthIT is in a state of flux right now. Meaningful Use is winding down, ICD-10 is in the rearview mirror and the hype around digital health is starting to wane. For the first time in years, vendors and healthcare CIOs are free to chart their own paths, pursue their own interests. This is something that hasn’t happened since the EHR incentive program started back in 2010.

Through this lens, the conversations at #HIMSS16 show me that we are about to see progress on many different fronts. Some people I spoke to are looking to invest in new decision support tools that employ the latest in artificial intelligence. Others are seeking new ways of using public data to assist in population health. Everyone I spoke to had one or two projects that they were FINALLY going to get a chance to start in 2016.

This is very exciting and I can’t wait to see how all this pent-up innovative energy manifests for the remainder of 2016.

Where Do We See Positive Things Happening in Healthcare IT? – Post #HIMSS16 Blab

Posted on March 4, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

UPDATE: In case you missed the live video interview, you can watch the recording of our discussion in the video embedded below:

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business and Dell is sponsoring my trip to participate in the Dell Healthcare Think Tank. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Where Do We See Positive Things Happening in Healthcare IT-blog

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT) I’ll be hosting a live video interview with the Chief Medical Officers of both Samsung and Dell. As we recover from HIMSS 2016, we’ll be sharing the positive things we saw, heard and are doing in healthcare IT. Far too many people at HIMSS are focusing on the challenges and downside of healthcare IT. In this live video chat, we’re going to focus our discussion on the innovations and amazing technologies that are making healthcare better for everyone.

The great part is that you can join my live conversation with this panel of experts and even add your own comments to the discussion or ask them questions. All you need to do to watch live is visit this blog post on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT) and watch the video embed at the bottom of the post or you can subscribe to the blab directly. We’ll be doing a more formal interview for the first 30 minutes and then open up the Blab to others who want to add to the conversation or ask us questions. The conversation will be recorded as well and available on this post after the interview.

Here are a few more details about our panelists:

We hope you’ll join us live or enjoy the recorded version of our conversation. Plus, considering the size of HIMSS, the three of us likely only saw a small portion of the amazing innovations and technologies that were on display at HIMSS. Please join us on blab and share things you found at HIMSS that everyone should know about.

If you’d like to see the archives of Healthcare Scene’s past interviews, you can find and subscribe to all of Healthcare Scene’s interviews on YouTube.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare.

Also, you can see Dr. Nick and myself on the Dell Healthcare Think Tank event March 15th on Twitter using the #DoMoreHIT hashtag and the Livestream.

Best Part of #HIMSS16

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today was the last day of the exhibit hall at the HIMSS 2016 Annual Conference. As I ponder on the #HIMSSsanity of the last 5 days, I’m struck with one big takeaway.

The people at HIMSS 2016 are the best part of the conference!

Sure, there are outliers in every community. Plus, we all have our weaknesses. However, from my experience, HIMSS 2016’s 41,712 attendees represent and extraordinary group of people.

While healthcare has many challenges. Considering the many amazing people involved in healthcare IT, I have to be very optimistic about our future.

Tomorrow’s the last day and has 2 keynotes. Then, I’ll sleep the whole weekend.

EHR Vendor Commitments to Make Data Work at #HIMSS16

Posted on March 2, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and 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 I think back on the first day and a half of HIMSS, I think that this might be the biggest news of the conference so far:

It seems that most people see this as a hollow commitment. Some might argue that we’re jaded by past history and they’d be right. However I’d make a different argument. Interoperability is hard and there are plenty of incentives not to do it. I don’t see this changing because EHR vendors commit to being interoperable.

Let’s be honest. Saying that they’ve “committed” doesn’t matter if they have no skin in the game. There’s no payment for successfully creating a product that’s interoperable. There’s no penalty for not being interoperable. That’s not ONC and HHS’ fault. They only have the levers that the government provides them. There are just so many easy ways for EHR vendors to feign interest in a real commitment to interoperability without actually executing on that vision.

While this type of announcement at HIMSS doesn’t really make me think that the dynamics around healthcare interoperability will change, I do like HHS’ decision to have EHR vendors work out the interoperability problem. If the government couldn’t solve interoperability with $36 billion in incentive money and penalties to boot, do we really think they can do anything to change the equation? At least on their own. This has to be an industry focused effort or it won’t happen.

While I must admit that I’m slowly becoming a skeptic of ever achieving true interoperability of health data, I think we will see point examples where data is being shared. I’m always intrigued by great companies who realize that they can’t be everything, but they can be something. I think we’ll see more of more companies like this.

#HIMSS16 Day 0 – Exhibit Hall Tetris

Posted on February 29, 2016 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin is a true believer in #HealthIT, social media and empowered patients. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He currently leads the marketing efforts for @PatientPrompt, a Stericycle product. Colin’s Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung

Arriving the day before the craziness of HIMSS is an annual tradition for most vendors. The Saturday and Sunday before the main conference are the days when most of the booth building activity happens inside the HIMSS exhibit hall.

I have always enjoyed these pre-conference days at HIMSS. Being in the exhibit hall while booths are being constructed is like watching a life-sized game of Tetris. It’s fun to watch the army of tradespeople unpack crates and piece together complex booths while following instructions that look eerily like those you find with Lego building sets.

#HIMSS16 features move vendors than ever before. Over 1300 booths sprawl across multiple halls in the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas Nevada. With this many vendors, the aisle-ways were especially difficult to navigate during setup. It’s a testament to the skill of the forklift drivers that they managed to squeeze all the crates in and round the booth areas for setup.

HIMSS16 Exhibit Hall 1

As a marketer and engineer, I relish the opportunity to have a preview of the booths before the hall opens. Every year I find at least five or six booths of unique/fresh design that I add to my must-visit list.

This year was no exception.

HIMSS16 Philips Booth
The Philips booth (3416) looks very impressive this year with four floor-to-ceiling LED displays that look like the ones they use in Football stadiums. The booth itself is beautifully accented with a stunning chandelier in the center. I can’t wait to see it in action when the hall opens.

The CDW Healthcare (3606), SalesForce (10525) and Cerner (2032) booths are also intriguing. I’m particularly interested in the SalesForce booth – partly because of the design but mostly because I’m curious to see how their healthcare offering is shaping up.

If you see a cool or interesting booth over the next few days, I hope you’ll tweet out a notification or post something to the HIMSS16 mobile app.

Will the Disconnected Find Interoperability at HIMSS 2016? Five Scenarios for Action!

Posted on February 28, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Donald Voltz, MD.
Donald Voltz - Zoeticx

With the yearly bluster and promise of HIMSS, I still find there have been few strides in solving interoperability. Many speakers will extol the next big thing in healthcare system connectivity and large EHR vendors will swear their size fits all and with the wave of video demo, interoperability is declared cured.  Long live proprietary solutions, down with system integration and collaboration. Healthcare IT, reborn into the latest vendor initiative, costing billions of dollars and who knows how many thousands of lives.

Physicians’ satisfaction with electronic health record (EHR) systems has declined by nearly 30 percentage points over the last five years, according to a 2015 survey of 940 physicians conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) and American EHR Partners. The survey found 34% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR systems, compared with 61% of respondents in a similar survey conducted five years ago.

Specifically, the survey found:

  • 42% of respondents described their EHR system’s ability to improve efficiency as difficult or very difficult;
  • 43% of respondents said they were still addressing productivity challenges related to their EHR system;
  • 54% of respondents said their EHR system increased total operating costs; and
  • 72% of respondents described their EHR system’s ability to decrease workload as difficult or very difficult.

Whether in the presidential election campaign or at HIMSS, outside of the convention center hype, our abilities are confined by real world facts.  Widespread implementation of EHRs have been driven by physician and hospital incentives from the HITECH Act with the laudable goals of improving quality, reducing costs, and engaging patients in their healthcare decisions. All of these goals are dependent on readily available access to patient information.

Whether the access is required by a health professional or a computers’ algorithm generating alerts concerning data, potential adverse events, medication interactions or routine health screenings, healthcare systems have been designed to connect various health data stores. The design and connection of various databases can become the limiting factor for patient safety, efficiency and user experiences in EHR systems.

Healthcare Evolving

Healthcare, and the increasing amount of data being collected to manage the individual as well as patient populations, is a complex and evolving specialty of medicine. The health information systems used to manage the flow of patient data adds additional complexity with no one system or implementation being the single best solution for any given physician or hospital. Even within the same EHR, implementation decisions impact how healthcare professional workflow and care delivery are restructured to meet the constraints and demands of these data systems.

Physicians and nurses have long uncovered the limitations and barriers EHR’s have brought to the trenches of clinical care. Cumbersome interfaces, limited choices for data entry and implementation decisions have increased clinical workloads and added numerous additional warnings which can lead to alert fatigue. Concerns have also been raised for patient safety when critical patient information cannot be located in a timely fashion.

Solving these challenges and developing expansive solutions to improve healthcare delivery, quality and efficiency depends on accessing and connecting data that resides in numerous, often disconnected health data systems located within a single office or spanning across geographically distributed care locations including patients’ homes. With changes in reimbursement from a pay for procedure to a pay for performance model, an understanding of technical solutions and their implementation impacts quality, finances, engagement and patient satisfaction.

Moving from a closed and static framework to an open and dynamic one holds great potential while requiring an innovative look at how technology is used as a tool to connect the people, processes and data. Successful application and integration of technology will determine future healthcare success. Although the problems with healthcare data exchange have not been solved, numerous concepts have been proposed on how to solve these challenges.

Connecting the Disconnected

Currently, healthcare data flow is disconnected. Understanding the current and future needs of patients and healthcare professionals along with how we utilize the technology tools available to integrate data into a seamless stream can bring about an enhanced, high-quality, efficient care delivery model.  One successful integration example, middleware, has been used for years to integrate data in financial and retail organizations with its simple open technology.

One of the leaders in middleware integration is Zoeticx, a healthcare IT system integrator who integrates the data traffic and addresses, adding the missing components to connect, direct and act upon the healthcare data flow.  This technology helped one hospital struggling with the typical EHR interoperability plaguing most healthcare facilities connect multiple EHR systems.  In addition, the health-care facility used middleware to identify a new revenue stream from CMS reimbursements for patient wellness visits while also improving patient care.

Accessing patient information from EHR’s and other patient health data repositories is critical for patient care. The development of tools and strategies to enhance the patient experience, improve quality and innovation of the care delivery model requires an understanding of how data is accessed and shared.  Current EHR’s have employed numerous ways to extract patient data, each of which brings opportunities and challenges. Here are a few examples to ask about at HIMSS.

The Critical Care Team – Distributed Care

The critical care environment is a challenging one with numerous healthcare professionals teaming up to manage and care for patients. Delays in addressing critical issues, lab values or other studies can negatively impact these patients or lead to redundancy and inefficiencies which increase costs without impacting outcomes. Coordinating care between the various care team members can be a challenge.

The medical record and the nursing flow sheet had traditionally been the platform for communication and understanding the trajectory of care. With the incorporation of the electronic medical record, things have changed. EHR’s bring along new constraints in caring for critical patients while at the same time bring about potential to enhance care delivery through the improvement in communication and management of these patients.

Chronic Care Management

There is a growing prevalence of US adult patients who are managing two or more chronic medical conditions. Governmental and commercial insurance providers have embraced this trend by introducing chronic care management (CCM) programs in an effort to better manage these patients so as to limit costly hospital admissions and improve quality of life.

There are numerous barriers to engaging physicians and patients in the management of chronic health conditions. One of the findings from a recent survey of chronic care management by health plan was how improvement in coordination of care between multiple physicians and other healthcare professionals can positively impact the care received and improve utilization. With commercial and governmental incentives, development and implementation of CCM management tools that interface with EHR’s and connect patients and professionals can enhance care delivery in this expanding population of patients.

Care Transitions

Patients admitted to the hospital for scheduled procedures or the unexpected management of a medical issue are at risk of being readmitted for preventable issues that develop following discharge.  For aging patients with multiple chronic conditions, enhanced communication to limit misunderstandings, conflicts in disease management and compliance with medications are critical as they move from hospitals to intermediate care settings and ultimately back home. Management of these critical care transitions depend on communication of patient data, the meaning ascribed to this data by the primary care physician along with those who managed these patients in the hospital becomes a critical component in care quality, patient satisfaction and to address preventable readmissions.

Healthcare professionals have emerged to manage many aspects of patient care and are dependent on access to patient data which is often spread between EHR’s and other health data systems. Connecting and sharing this information plays a role in how these patients are managed. Development of clinical pathways that integrate and translate evidenced-based medicine into the care delivery model is a critical component to the management of care across transitions.

Patient data, treatment plans and monitoring approaches to chronic conditions and underlying risks must be integrated and communicated between patients and healthcare professionals. The complexity of healthcare and the distributed care-team model makes this more critical now than ever before. Understanding data flow between all members of the care team, including patients and their family, becomes key in the development of strategies to achieve high quality, cost effective and engaging solutions that ultimately impact outcomes.

The Annual Health Screen

Preventative care is an expanding area of medicine with the goal of trying to control US healthcare costs. In 2011, The Affordable Care Act established the Annual Wellness Visit for Medicare beneficiaries. The purpose of this initiative is to perform an annual health risk assessment and identify all of the healthcare professionals caring for a beneficiary. By identifying risks and care professionals, coordination of care and risk mitigation can be put in place.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is promoting this service in an effort to enhance patient care, reduce unexpected care and reduce healthcare costs. With an expansive list of healthcare professionals who can perform the Annual Wellness Visit, a critical component in implementing this service hinges on communication and the sharing of the information obtained. Understanding and connecting patients, professionals, and their health data into a unified, accessible system must be managed.

Personalized Health

The landscape of patient health data is expanding. Personalized health and wellness trackers, genetic variants influencing risks for chronic conditions and pharmacogenetics, are all revealing new biologic pathways that will impact how care is delivered in the future. Systematically integrating these disparate pieces of data is becoming critical to translate individual disease risk and treatment recommendations. Emerging uses of personalized data will impact how we store, access and use this data for personalized diagnosis and management of disease.

Solving the technical challenge of accessing the data, development of decision-support tools and visually displaying the results to physicians and patients who will ultimately act upon the findings is being actively developed. How these new technologies are integrating into clinical medicine will impact their use and the engagement of all those involved. Exploring the potential ways to integrate emerging technologies into current EHR’s becomes critical to the future of healthcare delivery.

The process of healthcare delivery, use of data to drive decisions and employing various technological tools have become interdependent components that hold great potential for impacting quality of care. Gaining an understanding of the clinical needs, designing processes that meet these patient needs while incorporating evidence-based decision support has become a critical component of healthcare delivery. Understanding the current thinking, available technology and emerging solutions to the challenges we face with data flow and communication is the first step to developing innovative and impactful solutions.

Step up at HIMSS and ask the presenter how they plan to address these needs. Then reach out to the authors at or for a reality check.

About Donald Voltz, MD
Donald Voltz, MD, Aultman Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology, Medical Director of the Main Operating Room, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Case Western Reserve University and Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Board-certified in anesthesiology and clinical informatics, Dr. Voltz is a researcher, medical educator, and entrepreneur. With more than 15 years of experience in healthcare, Dr. Voltz has been involved with many facets of medicine. He has performed basic science and clinical research and has experience in the translation of ideas into viable medical systems and devices.

My Guide to #HIMSS16

Posted on February 23, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and 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 just looked over my HIMSS calendar and I have almost 50 events listed and I haven’t even finished scheduling my week. That’s going to make for a packed week at the mecca of healthcare IT conferences, the HIMSS Annual Conference. If you read this site, you’re probably already familiar with HIMSS and the annual conference that will bring together ~45,000 health IT professionals and ~1300 exhibitors. It’s massive and packed full of incredible people, technology, and experiences.

Each year, I post my schedule and guide to the HIMSS Annual Conference. This year is no different. I’m happy to share some of the places I’ll be at HIMSS and the topics and sessions that interest me. I hope that readers of this blog will join me at some of these events and come say hi. There’s nothing better than meeting someone who reads your blog.

I won’t go through each of the HIMSS 2016 keynotes in detail, but I’m excited to hear what Michael Dell and Peyton Manning say for their keynote addresses. I also enjoy a good “mental floss” keynote that I think Dr. Berger will provide. Most people will be gone for it, unless they’re staying to hear Peyton Manning talk that afternoon. It’s too bad since I always find it a refreshing end to an exhausting week.

Each year of HIMSS, they create some sort of innovation section of the conference. Sometimes this includes conference sessions. Other times it includes an exhibit hall area. This year they have both in what they are calling HX360. I heard Shahid Shah mention today that the great thing about HX360 companies is that these companies are often doing something pretty unique. Unlike some other HIMSS vendors, you don’t usually know 20 other companies doing the same thing when you’re talking to HX360 companies.

There’s also a great luncheon keynote for HX360 that includes Mitt Romney and Michael Leavitt (Former HHS Secretary and Governor of Utah). I like them because they’re connected enough to Washington to have tremendous insight, but far enough removed that they can actually speak frankly about what’s happening. The one problem with HX360 is that it requires a separate registration. So, we’ll see how much of it I get to see. I might have to live vicariously through other people’s tweets on the #HX360 hashtag.

Now for some very specific conference sessions, meetups, and events:

#HITMC Meetup – What has become a bit of an annual tradition, Shahid and I will be holding a meetup with members of the healthcare IT marketing and PR community and the broader healthcare social media community as well. The official title of the session is Marketing to Customers in an Uncertain Healthcare IT Marketplace and it’s happening Monday, Feb 29 from 3:00-3:45 at the HIMSS spot. Join us for an open and engaging discussion with the community.

#HealthITChicks Meetup – I’ve been so impressed with the efforts Jennifer Dennard has put together to bring together the #HealthITChicks group. What an amazing community that’s formed. This community of women (and men) are some of the best and brightest in healthcare IT. They’re doing a meetup on Tuesday, March 1 from 10-10:45 at the HIMSS Spot. Check out the full list of speakers, and don’t be surprised when you see the caliber of people who attend this meetup.

@MandiBPro Tweetup – At 2 PM on Tuesday March 1st, Mandi Bishop (better known as @mandibpro) and Dr. Joseph Kim (@DrJosephKim) are doing a tweetup at the Dell booth #4416 where they’ll be talking “Can the Right Data at the Right Place and Right Time Make a Difference?” Should be a lively discussion since if you know Mandi, you know how much she loves data. Is there anything better at HIMSS than talking to someone who’s passionate about a topic?

DataMotion Video Interview – I’m excited to take part in a number of video interviews with the team from DataMotion at booth #12144. One of those interviews will be with DataMotion advisory board member Peter Tippett, MD, PhD. He’s a great advisor for a company like DataMotion that focuses on secure data delivery and communication solutions in healthcare. I look forward to hearing what else they’re talking about at HIMSS16.

Sutter Health Video Interview at SAP – Shahid Shah will be interviewing Souvik Das from Sutter Health at the SAP booth #5828. They’ll be talking about SAP’s HANA being used for analytics and data aggregation for managing an ACO shared savings program. Given ACOs current track record, I’m interested to hear how their ACO has done. Shahid’s interviews are always must see for me thanks to his personal “No BS” rule.

#HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassador Meetup – Bring 20 of the most active social media people at HIMSS into one session and that’s what you’ll have at the Social Media Ambassador meetup. No, this session isn’t just for social media ambassadors. Everyone is welcome to come and interact with this group of social media ninjas. Just be ready to take a selfie.

New Media Meetup – I can’t believe this will be the 7th annual New Media Meetup at HIMSS. I’m biased since I organize the event (which is technically not affiliated with HIMSS), but it’s an amazing experience to be with so many amazing healthcare social media people in one room. Be sure to register if you want to come. A big thank to you to Stericycle Communication Solutions for sponsoring the New Media Meetup.

ONC’s Meaningful Use Session – ONC has a whole schedule of sessions at HIMSS. The one that stood out to me was this MU session called “Understanding the 2015 Edition: Meaningful Use & Other Use Cases.” This session is being held in the Sands Expo, Palazzo B and Elise Sweeney Anthony, J.D., Acting Director, Office of Policy, and Michael Lipinski, J.D., Division Director for Federal Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Policy are presenting. This felt like a real practical session where I could learn something as opposed to many government sessions where they use vague generalities that don’t better my life.

Patient Engagement: No Diamond Ring Required – On the last day of HIMSS I always try and sneak in a session or two while everyone is mostly gone. There are often some nice gems of sessions and you don’t have to fight for seats. This year I’m looking at this patient engagement session by the leaders of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum. I’ve heard good things about the work they’re doing, so I’d like to learn more.

Like I said, I have almost 50 appointments on my calendar (including a party or two), so this is just a small sample of sessions, meetups and events that others are welcome to attend. I’ll also be doing a video interview with Jon Melling from Pivot Point Consulting which should be a lot of fun. I’ll be talking with the people from HIPAA One to see how their efforts to automate HIPAA compliance is going along with their partnerships with many EHR vendors. I’m also interested to learn about what large companies like Oracle and Samsung are doing in healthcare. I think they’ll both have much larger presences than past years.

Plus, I always like to block out some free time on the exhibit floor so I can see if ClinicSpectrum will be attracting attention with balloons and jewelry again and hopefully I can make some time to enjoy Greythorn’s foot massages (I’m sure to need it). Given there are ~1300 exhibitors vying for your attention, you never know the serendipitous connection and interaction that can occur just by strolling through the HIMSS exhibit hall. Yes, be sure to plan ahead to get the most out of HIMSS, but include in that plan some time to explore the unknown (Yes, that includes the exhibit booths downstairs at the Sands Convention Center).

Just writing this up has me excited and tired. I can’t wait for the fun to begin next week at HIMSS in Las Vegas! I’ll be doing 2 different blabs leading up to HIMSS and one blab after HIMSS, so be sure to check those out too and join our conversation about the HIMSS experience.

Bonus Tip: As a local Las Vegas resident, I feel it my responsibility to share some local insights into Las Vegas experiences you might not expect to find in Las Vegas. Here’s what I suggested to one person who asked me for some unique Las Vegas experiences that were a little more kitschy/fun than you can normally find on the strip:

Sounds like you need to check out the new Downtown Las Vegas that we call Fremont East. I’d start with some time at the Downtown Container Park. It has kitschy/fun experiences and live music written all over it. They also play live music on the weekends and have a mix of stores, restaurants and bars that make for a fun experience. The fire breathing preying mantis at the entrance just adds to the fun along with the 2 story slide.

You can grab some great bbq from Big Ern’s at the container park, or head over to La Comida (mexican) or Le Thai which are both very popular. Afterwards, you can grab a drink at Downtown Cocktail Room (intentionally hard to find, but it’s right on Las Vegas Boulevard and there’s a black door with no handle and just one small sign above the entrance. It’s kind of speak easy style). After that you can head over to the Gold Spike for some games, music, and fun. They rotate live music and DJs.

It will be something you totally don’t expect from Las Vegas, but sounds like it will be right up your alley. The other night you should do something more traditional Las Vegas and grab any of the Cirque du Soleil shows (except for the Criss Angel one). They’re not cheap, but they’re awesome.

If you want a surprisingly incredible performance check out Terry Fator. For outdoor fun, rent a car and drive out to Red Rock.