As roughly 43,000 health IT professionals gear up to descend upon Las Vegas for this year's HIMSS conference, Healthcare Dive offers a view into what we're watching and what first-time attendees should be on the lookout for.
From meaningful use to the uptick in telehealth adoption and the creeping entrance by massive consumer tech companies like Amazon and Apple into healthcare, there's a lot to cover.
Google-parent company Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt speaks on Monday at 5 pm (all times listed here are in Pacific Standard Time) and CMS Administrator Seema Verma takes the stage on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am.
Beyond these keynotes, Healthcare Dive highlights some topics and sessions to watch out for in between trips to slot machines.
Keep your eyes peeled for a HIMSS18-themed newsletter from Healthcare Dive hitting your inbox Thursday afternoon. The special edition will include major takeaways, insights from thought leaders at the conference and some fun tidbits. If you aren't already a Healthcare Dive subscriber, sign up here.
AI will be a hot topic again this year. While it's up for debate whether robots are coming for physician jobs, many believe the technology can help streamline office operations.
Artificial intelligence "is supporting both operations and revenue cycle — for example, natural language processing (NLP) in application areas such as coding and clinical documentation improvement are generating a lot of benefits in healthcare already, including a more efficient and proactive revenue cycle and assuring documentation integrity concurrent with patient care," Mark Morsch, VP of technology at Optum, told Healthcare Dive.
"There will be a few challenges to adoption," he added. "On the financial front, it is important to make sure that AI has an ROI. For any initiative involving AI, the user needs to know how it will provide tangible benefits — cost savings, time savings and improvement in quality of care. Tangible benefits are key."
March 6 - 10-11 am: How AI and Machine Learning are Disrupting the Current Healthcare Ecosystem
Last year, PwC Managing Director James Golden led a standing-room only panel on artificial intelligence. This year, Golden, alongside Mayo Clinic CIO Christopher Ross, will explore how AI is being used at Mayo, which has a pilot project using IBM's Watson as part of its clinical team.
March 6 - 4-4:20pm: AI and Machine Learning in Revenue Cycle Management
Revenue cycle management will be a vital tool for providers to master in this era of industry uncertainty. Brooke Moore, CFO at The Emory Clinic, and Valerie Barckhoff, principal of advisory services at Windham Brannon, will discuss how experiences with an AI assistant may help with administrative tasks.
Technology vendors and providers are looking to engage patients in and outside a provider's four walls. Apple is creating a PHR and in January announced it will let patients view their medical records on their iPhone, a potentially game-changing move if adoption is widespread.
"We are focused on building a 10x better digital experience and digital consumer engagement across a variety of strategic problems and key populations," Sara Vaezy, chief digital strategy office at Providence St. Joseph Health, told Healthcare Dive. "When we talk about digital experience, we mean providing patients with convenient, frictionless, personalized ways to access our health system and get the care they need when they want it."
Vaezy added she is bullish on "the category of technologies that put patients’ health management in their own hands, and simultaneously reduces the burden that’s put on patients to do so. She said these have enormous potential and are experiencing growth.
Industry leader Epic, meanwhile, wants to move beyond an EHR to a "comprehensive health record." The company announced last month it will release new functionality for healthcare organizations to interact and work with patient data in an EHR, as opposed to just sharing data across organizations.
New paradigms of care delivery will require new forms of patient engagement and experience strategies.
March 5 - 12:45-1:45 pm: Into the Looking Glass: New Perspectives on the Complexities of Population Health
Population health management is complex and executives need to be familiar with how to manage data surrounding pop health frameworks.
Panelists, including Premier's VP of Population Health Joseph Damore, will discuss pop health strategies, including those centered on compliance, care coordination and decision support.
March 6 - 8:30-9:30 am: Scaling a Customized Patient Experience
Sanjay Shah, director of strategic innovation at Dignity Health, and Royal Tuthill, chief transformation officer at Docent Health, will provide a case study on how one system used "technology-enabled, human-driven strategies" to assist a scalable model for a customized patient experience.
Santosh Mohan, head of "More Disruptions Please" Labs at athenahealth and Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer at UPMC and EVP of UPMC Enterprises, will highlight case studies and concepts for providers to deliver positive care experiences for patients.
As the industry inches toward value-based care and consumerism, such experiences will be valuable not just for patients, but also providers themselves.
Revenue cycle management
It may not be sexy but it helps pay the bills. Hospitals are facing slumping patient volumes alongside increasing expenses. This means they need to get their financials in line and look for revenue growth. Revenue cycle management can help them find and obtain funds for the organizations. While it may not have the same hip je ne sais quoi as artificial intelligence, it's a necessary function providers need to master.
March 6 - 8:30-9:30 am: Enterprise-Wide value Realization through IT: A Davies Story
CMIOs from Novant Health and Henry Ford Health System, two health systems with HIMSS Davies accolades (LINK), will outline their strategies for aligning analytics with revenue cycle principles. Topics include change management and how to measure and optimize efficiencies post go-live.
March 8 - 1-2pm: Creating Strategic Alignment for a Value-Based World
The move to a value-based world is slow but forces outside provider organizations like payers pushing patients to low-acuity settings are making the shift difficult to ignore. Once an organization begins its transition, it will need to know how such activities will affect the bottom line. Leigh Williams, administrator of business systems at the University of Virginia Health Systems, and Justin Barnes, director of Justin Barnes Advisors, will offer strategic advice on building out a transition vision to the land of value-based performance.
Interoperability remains one of the largest impediments to sharing patient data among providers. The importance of the liquidity of patient data is growing as new technologies and large tech players enter the care delivery stream.
March 6 - 1-2pm: Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement Update
The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement was mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act to create federal government interoperability standards. ONC issued a draft version in January, proposing "policies, procedures, and technical standards necessary to advance the single on-ramp to interoperability," according to ONC. The agency recently wrapped up the comment period and officials will be onsite to provide an update to the framework.
March 7 - 4-5pm: HIEs, CommonWell, Carequality Can Work Together: Here's How
Executives from Indiana Health Information Exchange will describe the challenges and opportunities available for interoperability.
Views from Washington
It won't be all tech vendors and provider-palooza at the event. CMS will be on the scene as well with a regulatory perspective.
March 6 - 2:30-3:30 pm: Leveraging HIE for Disaster Preparedness and Response
Natural disasters can upend communities. In the unfortunate event, health information exchange can help bridge communications in hard-to-reach areas. CMS members will identify overlap with HIE and emergency response areas and discuss how the health IT community can help provide patient-centered care during natural disasters.
March 6 - 5:30-6:30 pm: Fireside Chat: Dr. Don Rucker, National Coordinator for Health IT
Get inside the mind of the national coordinator for health IT to get his views on the agency's focus on improving interoperability, the 21st Century Cures Act and the future of health IT.
Travel smarter: Podcasts to listen en route
The road to Vegas can vary. If yours happens to be a long one, here are a few podcast episodes Healthcare Dive recently enjoyed:
A Healthy Dose - "JP Morgan Recap 2018" - A nice primer to what trends one might see at HIMSS18 and includes sharp insights from its panel.
The #HCBiz Show! - "Why You Should Always Be Preparing to Sell Your Company" and "How to Analyze the Health IT Market" - Don Lee's two-part discussion into the health IT market is a fantastic primer for HIMSS18. Dexter Braff, president of The Braff Group, dives into what health IT companies get right and wrong about selling and where the market is heading. Hint: Prepare to see movement on the revenue cycle front.
Decoding Healthcare - "The past and future of value-based payments: The voice of doom" - From athenaInsight, Paul Levy, former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center — inspired by Levy's controversial blog post — throws cold water on the idea of value-based care and whether it's a step in the right direction. Season Two of the podcast will launch in April and focus on "connecting the dots" in the industry.
Politico Pulse Check - "Sam Quinones, author of 'Dreamland'" - The opioid crisis is still occurring in the U.S. Politico's Dan Diamond speaks to the author of Dreamland, an investigative book that opened the nation's eyes to the opioid epidemic. A good primer on the book and the issue for those that haven't yet read the book.
And for when you're ready for a break from the healthcare world:
Crimetown - "Buddy Cianci...The Musical" - Crimetown's first season tells the corrupt story of Providence, RI and the late Buddy Cianci, twice the city's mayor. The whole season is a fantastic look at the crime mobs in New England and the colorful cast of characters that enveloped them, namely Buddy himself. The whole season is worth a listen but Politico's Paul Demko tipped us off on this musical episode, where a group of former Rhode Islanders recorded a musical based on Buddy Cianci. It's funny, it's weird and is the charming embodiment of Lil' Rhody.
For a second year in a row, we've put together an aging hipster's playlist for the conference. Steely Dan is good. Don't @ us.