The Transformation of HiMSS & What Role Doctors Will Play

The biggest show in hospital technology/IT is only weeks away and in all the pre-show buzz one thing is abundantly clear – this is an industry that is still focused more on gathering and organizing data and less on using that data to deliver on the promise of value-based care.

That is about to change. 

The current state of affairs is eminently understandable.

The collection of data is actually not a technology problem. It is mature, commoditized and cheap. In fact, the collection of data may be the easiest thing going on in a hospital today.

It wasn’t always like that. The folks at Epic and Cerner deserve real credit for that and have benefited substantially from their work.

It’s why they, and others, have half-acre booths at HiMSS.


Data Collection.

It is why database companies have quarter acre holdings on the show floor.

Screenshot at Feb 11 08-29-57

Data Storage.

It is why Monitoring Companies, Digital Health Companies, Wearables/Smart Implants have the equivalent of large apartments sprinkled around the event.

Data Collection, Data Collection, Data Collection.

So you have successfully collected and stored your data.  Then what?

Analytics, preferably Advanced.

Analytics involves a different set of skills, a different organizational mindset and a different suite of technologies.

It is the opposite of commoditized, it is specialized.

As a result, there are far fewer providers that have moved the needle when it comes to analytics.

Think Intermountain, Mercy (St. Louis), Mt. Sinai and Memorial Hermann to name a few (and there are others).

Those institutions are driving the migration to value based care – not getting dragged along with the regulatory and market shifts.

HFMA Value

Courtesy – HFMA

Those institutions are transforming their organizations to have an analytical mindset and pushing that mindset past the C-Suite down to the manager and analyst level.

Those institutions are starting to tackle the next level problems in healthcare – problems like patient risk stratification that will define success in the value based world.

They were innovators in collecting data and are now innovators in doing something meaningful with it.

Let’s be clear, meaningful is more than just the light lift SQL queries offered by visualization platforms. We are not talking about dashboarding software. We are not talking about making Excel pretty.

We are talking about a generation of analytical applications that have machine learning technologies at their heart and user experience in their souls.

Because they are different in scope, they go to market differently too.

Committing to an analytics mindset has to occur at the highest level. It doesn’t require physicians and nurses to get degrees in mathematics, but it does require a desire to understand deeply.

This is where healthcare has a huge advantage over most industries. It is, at the most senior level, operated by scientists. They want to know the right answer. Knowledge and learning are part of their DNA.

This is why healthcare is about to take a gigantic step forward.  Doctors had little to contribute to database deployments but they have a ton to contribute to digging deeply into data and extracting the type of learning that changes patient outcomes.

As the analytical tools, applications and platforms get better with their user experiences they are going to enable doctors, both young and old to discover optimal care paths using data from their peers, understand the true cost of variation and develop personalized medicine on a scale that was once science fiction.

It will happen sooner than we think and will reconfigure HiMSS for years to come.