by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | February 20, 2018
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HealthCare Business News recently spoke with Denise Hines, DHA, PMP, FHIMSS, chairwoman, HIMSS North America Board of Directors, in advance of the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition for a sense of what to expect during this year’s event as well as some updates on what the society has been working on over the past year and its plans for the future.
HCB News: What are a few of the topics that you expect to dominate conversations among attendees at HIMSS18?
Cybersecurity is definitely at the top of the list, followed by artificial intelligence, precision medicine, interoperability and investment in new technology and startups. Emerging technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and blockchain, will be popular as well. And, of course, there’s plenty to talk about how information and technology can positively address the impending economic crisis facing health care in nations around the world. HIMSS18 will offer over 500 educational sessions, most of which are applicable to attendees from around the world. Our approach is to host an event that equips professionals globally with the education, networking and access to suppliers and consultants to meet their needs.
HCB News: Going back to VR for a moment, how is that expected to move into health care?
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There’s potential for a number of uses. Patients can use virtual reality for physical therapy, and surgical procedures are also being planned and practiced using VR.
HCB News: Recapping 2017, what were some of the landmark events for HIMSS or for health IT?
For health IT in general, I think it was the introduction and focus on newer technology, with interoperability being better recognized as an important function for health care. In the U.S., legislation was enacted, The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017, that promoted the use of telehealth in ways we hadn’t seen before. On the regional side, states, provinces and regions are taking a more aggressive approach to accommodate and understand the role health IT can play in improving health.
The government’s focus on information and technology increased. For example, in the U.S., the VA is exploring a new EHR system and the FDA is exploring new ways to bring safe medical devices to market. In 2017, many providers continued to work on meaningful use and care measures, and increasingly focused on better understanding the user’s experience.
For HIMSS17, recognizing the contributions of women in health IT and bringing millennials into our field were two big areas of focus. HIMSS18 expands that focus.