Consumerization and Patient-Centered Care: Takeaways from HIMSS19 and a Look Ahead at HIMSS20

By Alex Carter, Business Development Executive, Lumeon

The HIMSS19 conference was full of exciting innovation and abuzz with talk of the latest developments in healthcare information and management. The Lumeon team was out in force and spent the 3 days back-to-back sharing our vision of care pathway management with dynamic company executives, analysts and press.

What I found encouraging was seeing the embers of care pathway management starting to catch on as the next level in efficient and coordinated care delivery. We predict this will be a leading topic of discussion at HIMSS in 2020.

Care pathway management orchestrates enhanced patient engagement together with care team coordination and best practice care pathways to deliver optimal organizational performance at lower cost. This use of technology equips patients, providers, and payors, with the capabilities they need to thrive in the era of pay-for-performance and consumerism.

While buzz for care pathway management grew at HIMSS this year, there were plenty of other exciting topics that took center stage. Our fellow conferencegoers have shared some notable takeaways from the event.

Here are a few interesting takes on what was hot at HIMSS19.

A central theme at HIMSS19 was open data sharing. The conference began with an announcement of new rules from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT “to support seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information.”

As GRM Information Management writes, this year’s big takeaway is that data sharing will drive the next generation of cures: “Even though data and AI are driving innovation, true innovation won’t happen until all the data is taken out of silos and legacy archives.” GRM predicts that methods of extracting all the data stuck in unusable formats will be a big topic at HIMSS 2020.

“If the rule goes into effect by its proposed timeline, the open exchange of electronic health information will receive a major boost, and consumers will have much broader access to their health data,” writes Cerner’s Chief Client Officer John Peterzalek.

Accordingly, prioritizing patient-centered healthcare was a key consideration at the conference.

“One prevailing message from government and private industry alike was a desire to enable patients to play a greater role in their own health,” write David Lim and Rebecca Pifer in Healthcare Dive. However, some conferencegoers expressed concern that healthcare consumers are not ready to take on this role and the data-management it involves.

Patient-centered thinking requires focusing on outcomes and not just technology for its own sake, according to Erin Dietsch at MedCityNews. There was a lot of buzz about AI at this year’s HIMSS. While AI is capturing attention for all the innovations it potentially enables, it is only useful to the extent that it improves outcomes and lowers costs, and those use cases are as-yet not entirely clear.

Echoing a similar theme, Dan Bowman of HealthTech writes that “For organizations to innovate, technology is key, but broadly examining the environment and developing holistic strategies for adoption and engagement are just as important.”

He identifies this as the number one takeaway from the conference—that healthcare technology does not exist in a vacuum. Social determinants such as health literacy, medication costs, and isolation are major drivers for how care should be delivered. Technology is best used to support care that takes these social factors into consideration.

We look forward to next year’s HIMSS, when we can further showcase the potential of care pathway management for enabling holistic, patient-centered care.