CMIOs look ahead to HIMSS16

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 - HIMSS12
Source: Oscar Einzig Photography for HIMSS

The annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition kicks off next week in Las Vegas. CMIO.net asked several health IT leaders for their thoughts on the event that draws tens of thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors to see what specifically attracts them to the "Disneyland for HIT professionals."

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What are you most looking forward to seeing, learning or doing at HIMSS16?

Lyle Berkowitz, MD, Director, Szollosi Healthcare Innovation Program and Associate Chief Medical Officer of Innovation, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare: Connecting with colleagues, hearing and seeing what others are up to, viewing the latest and greatest on the exhibit floor and watching and listening for themes. 

Howard Landa, MD, CMIO, Alemeda Health System, Oakland, Calif.: I am most interested in spending time with colleagues and talking about how they are dealing with all the challenges we are facing in an ever-changing HIT world.

Brian McDonough, MD, CMIO, Saint Francis Healthcare, Wilmington, Del.: HIMSS16 has its greatest value as a way to connect with colleagues and talk about the latest developments. In addition there are opportunities to meet with vendors and to talk with trusted colleagues about their impressions of what they have seen.

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What do you think will be the major themes at this year’s conference?

William F. Bria, MD, AMDIS Chairman of the Board: 1) Keeping the faith, post Meaningful Use exhaustion and disillusionment remedies. 2) The Age of Patient Informatics—time to not only partner but promote better patient family health leveraging informatics. 3) Open Notes—True electronic collaboration, disease management and health maintenance using proven e-tools. It's not all about us anymore!

Berkowitz: 1) Telehealth: Everyone is jumping in these days, whether we are ready or not. I think the hype around video is close to peaking, and then we will realize that using video for routine care perpetuates a bad system and is not our way out of this mess. Video will then focus on specialized care for remote locations; and asynchronous care will rise again for routine care. 

2) Predictive analytics: Again, everyone says they can do this better than the other guys but there is no winner yet. Of course, predicting who will do poorly and being able to do anything about it are very different things.

3) Doctor burnout and the need to make IT more usable. This will span from tech to policy. Unfortunately, there will only be a few solutions that actually help. I'm looking for HIT solutions which automate routine care and which virtualize services out of the office but do it all in a way that takes work off the MD's plate, not adds onto it as the EMRs have done. Classic examples remain companies like my healthfinch (full disclosure on co-founding this one to automate routine office work), healthloop and others that are helping with post-visit care, and I'm intrigued by the remote scribe companies (there are many now). 

Landa: I agree that one major topic will be the transition of the era of Meaningful Use to the era of “usable in a meaningful way.” We have heard that MU was “going away” and value based payments are on the horizon, but the devil is in the details. The opportunity exists to start morphing the system to really support a value based care paradigm and our role is providing the data to do this, but the driver has to be financial. The reality is that HIT is expensive, and if there is not a real return-on-investment it is difficult to get changes implemented.

Related to this is interoperability and HIE. The sharing of both patient-derived and healthcare-created data (the HIE part) in a useful and impactful way (The interoperability part) is on the horizon. I don’t think we will really see results this week, but I do believe we will finally see the formation of a path that will deliver on the HIE promise from back in the 1990s.

Finally, while I am still not sure they are ready for “prime time” I think we will see a lot of advanced technology in areas like artificial intelligence, Big Data, genomics, and predictive analytics. While not generally incorporated into the current health paradigm we need to be looking at these tools and start anticipating what is just hype and will actually end up incorporated into the healthcare processes.

McDonough: Building the relationship between ambulatory and inpatient EMR—the junk in-junk out issue associated with ambulatory diagnosis lists built on billing that "clog" the inpatient EMR. Can we really