Following a handful of activities that took place during the preceding weekend, including the CIO Forum opening reception, HIMSS 2019 officially kicked off on Feb. 11. Nashville, Tenn.-based Change Healthcare, a 15,000-employee provider of revenue cycle management and clinical data exchange solutions, made headlines immediately with the announcement it will launch a new solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide “free clinical data interoperability services.” The collaboration with AWS will improve patients’ access to their medical information while enhancing the integration of patient and clinician platforms with EHR systems. There is never a shortage of cutting-edge and innovative health IT technologies showcased at the HIMSS conference, but Change Healthcare’s new offering, and its well-timed introduction, reflects the efforts companies are making amid the persistent challenges of interoperability and consumer-centrism in healthcare IT.
During HIMSS19 TBR spoke with healthcare IT professionals from hardware, software and services vendors; management consultancies; and professional services organizations possessing a bird’s eye view of current market trends and the strategic levers healthcare organizations are pulling to align with market movements and meet evolving demand for value-, data- and patient-centric health IT solutions.
Interoperability is a still a big problem that remains to be solved
Illustrating interoperability as a common and protracted concern among health IT professionals, conference organizers described the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase as “the most trafficked area of the exhibition floor.” There, attendees found demonstration areas where as many as eight health IT vendors could cooperate to showcase use cases for interoperability solutions. Beyond the exhibitions, interoperability-related panel discussions and presentations touched on how the recent Carequality and CommonWell alliances have created a national infrastructure, or informal backbone, of sorts to support and enhance interoperability across disparate health IT systems. The topic of open APIs received significant attention, as did how open source collaborations can help drive the industry toward a more interoperable future.
HIMSS 2019 hosted over 45,000 attendees and more than 1,300 vendors and featured more than 300 education sessions. Due to the massive scale of this industry conference, TBR elected to focus on seminars, round table discussions and exhibitions that emphasized interoperability, consumerism and patient engagement.