Digital healthcare innovation at HIMSS17

-By George Kapellos-

Another HIMSS conference is over and the experience of participating may have been a little overstimulating perhaps, but it was hands-down one of the best experiences we’ve had at a conference so far.

For those who may not know: HIMSS stands for “Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society” and is one of the most respected not-for-profit health tech organization worldwide.

The healthcare vertical is hungrier than ever

The most valuable insight I extracted was that the healthcare vertical is hungrier than ever before for innovation and disruption. Walking around more than 100 booths in the main exhibition hall, we witnessed all the major tech players (IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle and others) promoting technology for ‘better outcomes’ and ‘cost efficiencies.’

The most exciting innovations this year focus on aggregating vast amounts of data that hospitals and healthcare providers generate, and then organizing the info and making it available to the right people at the right time — helping them make better healthcare decisions and reduce the amount of time patients spend in healthcare facilities.

Mobile: A driver for change

Needless to say, the use of mobile technology (smartphones and apps combined) is a major driver of this revolution in the space. It is also one of the reasons we see companies like Samsung showing a great interest in healthcare, and increasing their efforts to penetrate this robust and ever-expanding market.

VR’s growing influence

Even though the presence of VR across the conference was nowhere near what we saw at CES, wherever VR was present it seemed to make a lot of sense of in terms of the role it can play. We attended a fascinating talk by Brennan Spiegel, Director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai, highlighting his experience with VR and pain management. Brennan’s conclusions from a small controlled study indicated that VR was able to drop patients’ average self-reported pain scores from a 5.4 to a 4.1. A Two-Dimensional distraction experience in the control group only dropped that score to 4.8. And even though not all patients responded well to the VR experiment, the overall results were positive enough to trigger commission of larger research on VR and pain management.

I also saw my friends at AppliedVR creating VR content for pain management. Talking to their CEO, Josh Stackman, his experience so far has been that VR is way more engaging than any other medium, and therefore enables the human brain to absorb visual information faster and with better outcomes.

I look forward to HIMSS 2018, and to the possibility of even more VR applications and successful case studies to showcase.

This article was originally published on the Mativision Blog as “HIMSS 2017 — Digital Innovation in the Healthcare Space”.

An excerpt was also published with permission on

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