Future of Healthcare Depends on Collaboration, Usability and Value

From the trends in interoperability to the interaction between policy, providers, payers and technology, the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS, conference offers a candid view into the inner workings of our current healthcare IT landscape.

HIMSS 2016 was no different. With everyone from Dell CEO Michael Dell to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in attendance, discussions focused on the future of healthcare, and how IT is helping make such a future a reality. In case you weren’t able to follow the conversation during the conference, here are Eastwick Healthtech practice’s major takeaways from the event.


Collaborating On Data Is More Crucial Than Ever, But It Doesn’t Stop At EMRs

From the trends in interoperability to the interaction between policy, providers, payers and technology, the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS, conference offers a candid view into the inner workings of our current healthcare IT landscape.

HIMSS 2016 was no different. With everyone from Dell CEO Michael Dell to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in attendance, discussions focused on the future of healthcare, and how IT is helping — or hindering — make such a future a reality. In case you weren’t able to follow the conversation during the conference, here are Eastwick’s Healthtech practice major takeaways from the event.

Data collaboration doesn’t stop at EMR interoperability, however. Cybersecurity, and the mounting pressure to keep valuable healthcare data private, was another hot topic at HIMSS. Perhaps the most interesting discussion around data sharing was CHIME Chairman Marc Probst’s call for providers to share data as part of responding to a cybersecurity incident.


Health IT Us Only As Useful As It Is Usable

You can’t talk about HIT in 2016 and not talk about meaningful use. Despite the best intentions to use policy to dictate adoption of technology, there’s been significant backlash from across the healthcare ecosystem. Everyone from providers to health systems to insurers have been questioning the policy, citing concerns over evaluation criteria and the realities of modern workflows simply don’t match up.

While this is nothing new, HIMSS 2016 brought us this substantial step in what some are calling a course correct: CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said today’s current health IT “hurts rather than helps physicians providing better care.” In the same speech, he called for the need for user centered technology. While neither are groundbreaking on their own, combined, the two ideas indicate CMS may be coming around to understanding physicians are very much end users of health IT, and in order for health IT to be useful, it needs to provide not only patients, but their physicians, with value.


No Matter Who You Are, The Name Of The Game Is Value

The shift toward delivery value-based care instead of fee-for-service is having major ramifications on nearly every facet of the healthcare system. The pervasiveness of this shift was clear at HIMSS 2016 from the vendor, policy, payer and provider communities, painting a picture of a landscape rife with disruption.

Rarely do we see policymakers leading instead of playing catch up in the conversation around healthcare transformation, but at HIMSS, Chairwoman Dana Alexander did just that. In her opening remarks discussing MACRA, Alexander squarely launched the theme of value-based care by discussing how the new law will be a possible successor to meaningful use. More importantly for the vendors, payers and providers in the room receiving reimbursements from CMS, Alexander noted the bill “will speed the advancement toward the goal of paying for better value healthcare.” And as any good healthcare practitioner knows, follow the reimbursement and you’ll follow the trend.

Vendors across the board echoed this sentiment, but none better than Phillips CEO Frans van Houten, whose statement “We see health as an investment that needs to be optimized, rather than a cost that needs to be minimized” electrified the Twittersphere by encapsulating this new mentality toward healthcare as a value driven business.

Not to be left out, payers and providers also talked about the oncoming transformation value-based care will bring. Perhaps most shocking was the overlap in talking points between these two groups, often pitted as antagonists in today’s healthcare system. Take the Business of Healthcare Symposium, in which both Veeneta Lakhani, VP of Provider Enablement at Anthem, and Douglas Van Daele, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Iowa Health Care, whose talking points nearly mirrored each other when discussing provider-payer interaction. With value, as opposed to reimbursement or payment, as the outcome, many are claiming (hopefully correctly) that patients will be the big winners in the future, value-based healthcare system.


Did you go to HIMSS 2016? What did you think? Reach out to us at healthtech@eastwick.com to share your thoughts or learn more about Eastwick’s Healthtech practice.