Interoperability took center stage at HIMSS 2019

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Healthcare executives, IT vendors, and policymakers convened to discuss the latest on interoperability, health tech, and potential acquisitions during the HIMSS 2019 conference in Orlando this week.

Judy Faulkner Epic Systems CEO

Here are our takeaways from some of the biggest announcements made during the first four days of HIMSS 2019:

  • The US government is all in on enforcing health data sharing, while the private sector is mostly on board. Two proposals released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday received mostly positive feedback from health IT leaders at the conference, per Politico. However, the largest US hospital group balked at one key part of the CMS' proposal: The American Hospital Association (AHA) contended that a rule requiring providers to notify other providers when a patient is discharged or moved to a new hospital would create undue administrative stress. And the AHA's concerns make sense: Health IT-related administrative burdens are a sore spot for hospitals, as reporting requirements imposed by government bodies have contributed to the near epidemic levels of physician burnout in the US.
  • Electronic health record (EHR) software vendor Epic CEO Judy Faulkner dismissed chatter around a potential acquisition bid from Apple. Faulkner laughed off the idea, likely putting to rest any speculation that Epic could sell to Apple, according to Healthcare IT News. However, we think it may make sense for Apple to look elsewhere for a potential EHR vendor acquisition: Competitors Google and Amazon are both dipping their toes into the hospital software market, and Apple's already built a portable consumer-facing EHR feature.
  • Attendees identified top blockchain uses - and suggested blockchain pilots will start to mature into implementations in 2019. Revenue cycle management, clinical trials and research, patient treatment adherence, and monetization of data were all discussed as promising applications of blockchain in healthcare. Microsoft principal healthcare lead David Houlding advised health firms to identify a single use case for blockchain, as opposed to broadly applying the tech, per HealthTech. It makes sense that health firms have started to hone in on implementing specific blockchain use cases: Blockchain pilots and investments took off in 2018, paving the way for broader implementation this year.


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