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My Overall View of Healthcare IT After HIMSS15

Posted on April 17, 2015 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 I fly home from HIMSS15 (literally), I’ve been thinking how to summarize my annual visit to the mecca of healthcare IT conferences we know as HIMSS. I’ve seen a bunch of numbers around attendance and exhibitors and I believe they’re somewhere around 43,000 attendees and 1300 exhibitors. It definitely felt that massive. The interest in using technology to improve healthcare has never been higher. This shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone. When I look at the path forward for healthcare, every single scenario has technology playing a massive role.

With that in mind, I think that the healthcare IT world is experiencing a massive war between a large number of competing interests. Many of those interests are deeply entrenched in what they’ve been doing for seemingly ever. Some of these companies are really trying to dig in and continue to enjoy the high ground that they’ve enjoyed for many years. This includes vendors at HIMSS, but also many large and small healthcare organizations (the small entrenched healthcare organizations weren’t likely at HIMSS though) who enjoyed the status quo.

The problem with this battlefield is that they’re battling against a massive shift in reimbursement model. They can try and stay entrenched, but the shift in healthcare business model is going to absolutely force them to change. This is not a question of if, but when. This doesn’t keep these organizations from bombing away as they resist the changes.

If you’re a healthcare startup company entering the battlefield (to continue the analogy), you’re out in the open and absolutely vulnerable. You’re very rarely the target of this major entrenched players, but sometimes you get impacted by collateral damage. As the various organizations throw bombs at each other you have to work hard to avoid getting in their way. This is a tricky challenge.

Even more challenging to these startup companies is they don’t have a way to access many of the entrenched companies so they can work together around a common vision. Most of the startups would love to work with the entrenched healthcare companies, but they don’t even have a way to start the conversation.

The mid size healthcare IT companies are even more interesting. They’ve started to carve a space for them in the battle and many of the entrenched healthcare IT vendors are scared at what this means for them. They’re using every means possible to disrupt the competition. At HIMSS I saw the scars from many of these battles.

Certainly this description is true of many industries. Welcome to economic competition and capitalism. Although, this year at HIMSS I found the battle to be much more intense. In the past couple years meaningful use opened up new territories to be “conquered.” There was enough “land” to go around that companies were often working to capture new territories as opposed to battling their competitors for the same opportunities. That’s why I think we’re in a very different market today versus the past couple years.

The great thing is that in periods of turmoil often comes the most amazing innovations. I believe that’s what we’re going to see over the next couple years. Although, I predict that most of these innovations are going to come from places we don’t expect. It’s just too hard for companies to innovate themselves out of business. There are a few exceptions in history and we might see a few exceptions in healthcare. However, my bet is on the most successful companies being those that choose to obliterate as opposed to automate.

What’s most exciting to me is that healthcare organizations and patients seem to be ready for change. There are varying degrees of readiness, but I believe I’ve seen a groundswell of change that’s coming for healthcare. As a blogger this of course has me excited, but as a patient it has me excited as well.

What were your thoughts of HIMSS 2015? What do you think of the analogy?

While the battle is on in healthcare IT, the best part of HIMSS is always the people. Every industry has some bad apples, but for the most part I’m always deeply impacted by the good nature of so many people I meet at HIMSS. They are sincere in their efforts to try and improve healthcare for good. We certainly have our challenges in healthcare, but similar to what George Bush said in his keynote, I’m optimistic that the good people in healthcare will be able to produce amazing results. The best days of healthcare are not behind us, but are ahead of us.

Is a Lack of Effective Marketing Holding mHealth Back?

Posted on July 25, 2011 I Written By

Let me preface this post with an acknowledgement of my relative inexperience in healthcare.  I have always thought that I stayed at least relatively informed of what was going on in the world in general, but these last few months of writing this blog along with a few others in this network has truly opened my eyes to my ignorance.

I am the type of person that loves to learn new things.  I may not know anything about a specific topic, but if someone is teaching I will always listen because understanding new things fascinates me.  When this opportunity first came up I saw it as a way to help my brother, who is the founder of emrandhippa.com and healthcarescene.com, as well as a way to stay busy while awaiting some training.

In the months that have followed I have been completely blown away  by the technology that is out there, and the companies that are providing it.  It isn’t even hard to find an article or press release about a new gadget or app that completely blows my mind.  Maybe this is sue to my relative inexperience, but I also think it is in large part do to the amazing things that developers are creating.

It was not that long ago that all a cell phone did was make calls and maybe send text messages.  Then they added cameras which was pretty cool.  Now those cameras are better than the stand alone digital camera that I bought less than 3 years ago.  Now you can access the internet from anywhere you get cell service.  We aren’t just talking about box scores from sporting events or headline news, but the internet in all its glory.

Smartphones are cool for internet access if nothing else, but my recent “education” has taught me that we have only scratched the surface.  We now have microscope cameras, blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, fitness trackers, and even “nano-tatoos” that provide a range of information.

What I don’t understand is why so few people know about it?

As I try and talk with friends and family, outside of my healthcare IT brother, they have no idea that these things even exist.  They are generally aware that there are apps for just about anything, but they have no idea the power some of these apps have.

The power that I am referring to is the power to save lives.

I can’t help but wonder if a lack of marketing to the public has to do with this?  Are these developing companies still too small and broke to really get their products out there?  I don’t claim to be a marketing or business genius, or even an amateur for that matter, but if people don’t know about your product they can’t buy it.

I am not even referring to these companies becoming rich as much as I am referring to the improvement in health that more people could be enjoying if they only knew about these devices.  As I write this it strikes me that it may be the sheer number of apps and gadgets out there that is preventing their widespread adoption.

Anyone with a little programming experience and $10 a month for a website can create a “healthcare app”, so how are people supposed to wade through all the garbage to find the truly valuable ones?  Maybe this is where the FDA, or some other large organization needs to step in and provide some real oversight of these devices.

If people had a source to go to for accurate information I can’t help but think they would use it.  People visit Kelly Blue Book, and Edmunds, and a handful of other sites for information about cars, why wouldn’t they so the same thing if a reliable healthcare company presented a valuable overview of the good stuff out there.

Maybe I am displaying my ignorance with this post, but with the amazing technology that is out there, and the relative small distribution of quality apps and gadgets I can’t help but wonder what is holding it back?