Healthcare IT takes center stage this week at the HIMSS 13 Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, La., March 3-7. HIMSS – the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society – is a cause-based not-for-profit organization focused on the use of IT and management systems to improve healthcare.
Mobility, security, and the challenges of a health information exchange are among the topics being addressed at HIMSS 13. In addition, senior IT decision makers attending the event will have the opportunity to focus on sessions geared toward making the business case for healthcare IT investments.
HIMSS 13: Why mobility matters
Charlotte Davies, lead analyst of research group Ovum‘s IT in Healthcare Practice, said in a prepared statement that “Connected mobile devices offer a double-win in healthcare. Firstly, they will be key in the shift to the big rise in cross-disciplinary teams, which are required to deliver coordinated care. Secondly, mobile devices are key tools in helping to ensure patients follow treatment regimes, in monitoring patient symptoms in real-time, in facilitating a higher level of self-care and in contributing to richer data for the development of personalized medicine and treatment.”
A HIMSS 13 session entitled “Leveraging Smartphones to Simplify Communication Across Multiple Systems” is just one of the many panels devoted to exploring the potential of mobility in healthcare IT.
Security of healthcare information is front and center
Security of healthcare information is also a primary topic at HIMSS 13. Today, with the enormous amount of extremely sensitive, private, and confidential information stored in electronic health records (EHRs), the threat of employee-related breaches is now one of the biggest security issues for healthcare providers, IT professionals, and government regulators.
Addressing these security issues is key to making a healthcare information exchange successful, according to Davies. “We know there will be a big focus on the effective sharing of clinical and administrative information (HIE) within the ring-fenced hospital/provider environment. However, another keynote speaker next week is Dr. Eric Topol, who has spoken widely on how drug development and treatment programs must radically change by leveraging big data, both formal and informal, including the explosion of patient experiences shared on forums such as ‘Patients Like Me’. So we also anticipate more debate on the use of unstructured data, how to leverage individual patient experiences and how to better incorporate the rapid growth in the use of online resources.”
One session at HIMSS 13, Extracting Value from Healthcare Big Data with Predictive Analytics, aims to address some of these issues. Another session, Lessons Learned from Expanding the Boundaries of EMR, will further elaborate on these themes.
Making the business case for healthcare IT investment
HIMSS 13 will also give healthcare professionals and IT service providers the tools they need to make the business case for advancing the use of information technology in the healthcare environment. According to Davies, “Political discourse on the challenges facing healthcare is at an all-time high, yet the role of technology in underpinning both systemic change and much greater use of innovation in not highlighted nearly enough. In the US, the National Institutes of Health is working to build the interdisciplinary research capacity needed to establish an evidence base for the benefits and risks associated with mHealth technologies. Initiatives like this are hugely important in building momentum in emerging healthcare IT areas.”
About the Author
Susan Nunziata is Director of Editorial, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM Tech community.