Thursday, March 10, 2016

My top ten from HIMSS2016

The annual healthcare IT conference (HIMSS2016) was held in Las Vegas this year, which is always a welcome location during the winter, especially for those attendees from the north.
When walking the exhibition floor, I noticed several trends and new products, my top ten are listed below:

typical alert dashboard
  • It’s all about Alerts: Most medical devices ranging from infusion pumps to EKG’s are getting connected to the Internet. The same trend that we see in the consumer world with the Internet of Things (IOT) is also present in healthcare. The average number of patient care monitoring devices has increased with now more than 10 for each patient bed. The good news is that we can manage them remotely and also collect alerts from them for patient monitoring purposes. There were quite a few companies showing their alert dashboards.
    Hire a hacker
  • Security audits are critical: With the increase of the IOT, there is also an increase in the potential number of entry points for hackers to get to patient data through a “backdoor.” Audits are critical, and you might actually consider hiring a “white hat” hacker instead of a traditional security firm to find out if you are well protected.

keep your devices secure
  • Phones are becoming medical devices: physicians are increasingly taking pictures with their cell phones to monitor wound care and document patient information. To protect this information through encryption and secure upload into a cloud based system and/or EMR one needs to make sure that dedicated software aps are being deployed.





    talking with your physician on-line
  • Healthcare is being “Uberized”: The same fundamental changes that Uber brought to the conventional way that people use taxis are about to change how primary healthcare is being delivered. One can simply click on an app on a smartphone and have a consult with a physician while using the camera as an additional semi-diagnostic tool

remote viewing of your eye
  • Telemedicine is becoming affordable: in addition to the “poor-mans” teleconsult using a smartphone, companies are offering a telemedicine cart that has a larger screen and captures vital signs and other relevant information that can be shared. This is very useful for remote communities, nursing homes, and military and disaster areas.

  • Dashboards are becoming ubiquitous: Doctors are generally not that happy with the recent
    typical dashboard; very configurable
    transition from paper-based records to having everything computerized. However, they often overlook that the real power of the EMR is not so much the electronic data capture, but much more what you do with the data captured. Not only can you use it for decision support but also to support managing the healthcare delivery process. Dashboards that can display key performance indicators are becoming standard.

RFID detectors, either for wristband or tape-on
  • Device and patient tracking is getting more sophisticated: The time that a patient is “forgotten” while waiting in the corridor, or devices “disappear” is gone as many providers can now track these using RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. It is still a big investment as a barcoded wristband might cost a few pennies while a RFID band can cost between $50 and $100, but the benefits are much greater.


  • Interoperability is getting better: There were a lot of complaints from implementers and
    lots of interest at IHE booth
    integrators who are trying to connect to the big EMR vendors, to the extent that even the EPIC CEO felt that she had to defend her bad rap in an interview with one of the major healthcare IT magazines. But, to compensate, there was an even larger number of stories of successful implementations of IHE profile based interoperability. It appears we are on the right track.

no it is not a coffee maker,
but a drug dispensing machine
  • Automatic dispensing machines are becoming popular: Instead of giving a patient a bottle of medications, it is more effective to provide them with an automated drug dispenser which is also connected to the IOT and provides alerts and feedback in case the medication is not dispensed at the right time. The only thing missing is ensuring whether a patient actually swallows or administers the medication, something researchers are working on as well by including tracers in the meds themselves.



  • Its’ all about the gadgets: HIMSS is kind of different as each booth has either an eye catcher in
    Masserati, McLaren? your best guess
    the form of a great car, Vegas show girl, or a take-away ranging from USB chargers, phone backup batteries, pens, toys, T-shirts, hand sanitizers, stuffed animals, liquor, bottled water, coffee, chocolate and much more. The backpack that you get as an attendee is definitely not big enough to carry all of it if you are into this. I brought home a cell-phone stand and back-up, that was pretty much all I could carry back.


In conclusion, this event is worthwhile attending: The use-cases (intelligent home and IHE interoperability showcases) were awesome and very well done. The educational sessions are not bad (although some were poor), the keynote speech by Peyton Manning was worthwhile if you are into American football, the industry exhibits are interesting, networking and finding out what is going on in the industry is critical, and it is good to share experiences with peers. And of course, what happens in Vegas… there are good shows at night, and the food is pretty good. It will be hard for Orlando to match that next year.

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