Five Takeaways From Healthcare’s Biggest Event

With a little time to reflect, we wanted to share the five things you need to know coming out of HIMSS18. We will keep it brief, but know that we can go deeper if you would like. Just drop us a note and we can bring our experts to the table.

  1. There is a growing frustration in the C-Suite around the ROI on the massive investments in IT over the last few years. For a large system, the bill for the EMR, implementation, optimization, data lakes etc ran in excess of $1B. The subsequent results have underwhelmed. With all that data, all those features the expectation was that you would see commensurately better analytics. They haven’t. Furthermore, they won’t. The limitations that existed in traditional analytical tools are still there. If you want radically different outcomes, you need radically different approaches. This is why AI was so hot at the show.

  2. AI was everywhere. Only 20% or so was justified. The rest is just old wine in new bottles. What that 20% is doing, however, is worth noting. While AI in healthcare has been defined by its large public failures in recent years, the truth is that it’s quiet successes over the past year are changing perspectives on what is possible. From imaging to operations, from acute care to population risk, from revenue cycle to patient acquisition – AI is racking up win after win by delivering orders of magnitude better performance. The practitioner isn’t going anywhere – but the opportunity to make them more efficient and more effective is here today.

  3. Convergence is happening. Chilmark has written about the concept but we hear it in nearly every conversation – payers and providers increasingly need to acquire the other’s skills. Payers are looking at care process models to manage clinical variation management and align incentives/steer patients to the best doctors. Providers are looking at population risk at a more granular level to understand where future costs are hiding – enabling them to get in front of those potentially devastating (financially) surprises.

  4. Value Based Care remains the goal – and for many it still appears elusive. VBC is the right target, no one disputes that. The industry’s inability to get there, however, is troubling. Part of that challenge lies in the how the problem is viewed. It is not compartmentalized – it is integrated. A granular understanding of patient risk results in far more groups of patients presenting with multifactorial co-morbidities. That requires care plans that account for multifactorial co-morbidities. The best doctor in the world cannot make the connections that machines can make. This is the great opportunity for AI – to help the doctor “see” the patient in dimensions they simply cannot today. VBC only becomes a reality when this view of the patient, the care model and the risk are better understood.

  5. Bench to Bedside/Precision Medicine is getting closer by the quarter. The technology is there, the infrastructure and regulatory framework is not. Still the care-plan of one is closer than you think and will be more robust than ever – mostly for the other components on this list. Our ability to inexpensively sequence DNA, couple that with advanced diagnostics, create features on all that data and precise care models is within our reach and will become a key theme at HIMSS19.


There is a bonus theme around the economics of all of this and how that relates to the changing demographics – but that’s a longer discussion. Let’s have it.