5 trending topics to watch at HIMSS16

The healthcare industry’s health IT extravaganza, HIMSS' annual conference, gets underway next week in Las Vegas. Expected to outpace last year’s 43,000-attendee event, the event will feature broad-reaching educational programs and more than 1,300 exhibiting companies, including anchor booths by Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, GE Healthcare, Lexmark, McKesson, OnBase and Optum.

Kicking off the conference Monday will be keynote speakers HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of tech giant Dell, to talk about the role of health IT and information exchange in furthering value-based patient care.

Also in the lineup: a special session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with Karen DeSalvo, national coordinator for health IT, and Andy Slavitt, CMS' acting administrator.

Healthcare Dive will be joining other industry members throughout the week to talk about some of the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing healthcare IT today. Here are five topics to be on the watch for and opportunities to hear experts weigh in on them.  

Quantifying value

In December, HIMSS launched Value Score, the first-ever global quality measurement for the determining the value of health IT.  The tool builds on HIMSS’ Value Suite and HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model to help providers maximize IT’s potential to improve care outcomes and efficiencies, while reducing costs.

By using Value Score, healthcare organizations can learn where their IT strengths and weaknesses lie and fine tune efforts to achieve true electronic exchange of information, setting them up for a Stage 7 designation, the highest level on the EMRAM scale.

Not to be missed:

On Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., Patricia Wise, vice president of health information systems at HIMSS, will talk about best practices for utilizing the Value Suite and Score to optimize an organization’s HIT systems.


With the shift to value-base healthcare payment models and aggregation of data from EHRs, determining how to leverage all of that information to better target chronic disease interventions and assign scarce resources is a major challenge facing health systems and payers today. Predictive analytics has improved the utilization of data for care management, quality and benchmarking, saving Medicare $50 million in the last year alone.

Not to be missed:

2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, David Seo, CMIO at the University of Miami Health System, and Chitra Raghu, senior program manager and innovations officer at Lockheed Martin, will describe strategies for a flexible technology platform can enable cost-effective population health management.


As healthcare becomes increasingly connected — from EHRs to medical devices and smart apps — ensuring the interoperability of all those technologies is critical to a health system’s success—and to the safety of patients. Last October, ONC released its final “roadmap” on interoperability, followed shortly by its 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory. And in January, the FDA issued draft guidance on design considerations for manufacturers of interoperable devices.

Not to be missed:

Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., hear John Halamka and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Memorial Hospital and athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush discuss how establishing a framework for bidirectional data exchange can make patient care more accountable.

Precision medicine

During his State of the Union address last year, President Obama proposed a $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative to improve diagnosis of a wide range of diseases and better target new drugs and treatments to individual patient needs. Last September, the National Institute of Health unveiled a framework for building a nationwide cohort of a million-plus participants to collect health data that would support that goal. EHRs and better analytics, as well as increased data sharing among the various stakeholders, support the evolution of healthcare to a more individualized approach, but challenges remain.

Not to be missed:

On Tuesday at 1 p.m., D. J. Patil, chief data scientist for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will share his views on the promise and possibilities of personalized medicine.


With advances in health IT come new opportunities for utilizing technology and information to support hospital- and health system-based innovation centers. Children’s National Health System launched the first pediatric health informatics institute to drive innovations that improve pediatric outcomes. February to April 2015 results of the program, compared with the previous year: median time from admission to informed consent in the ICU dropped by 49%; medication reconciliation compliance increased from 80% to 93%; the percentage of patients with urinary catheters in place longer than 96 hours declined by 11%; and the average number of daily providers using electronic forms jumped from 131 to 735. 

Not to be missed:

Thursday at 2:30 pm., Brian Jacobs, CIO and CMIO at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., and David Pierre, senior institute executive, will discuss how a robust health IT system, shared value, operational excellence and population health management can drive innovations to improve patient outcomes.

Filed Under: Health IT