HIMSS put mobile in the basement

By Brian Dolan
03:35 am
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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsWhen it comes to IT, healthcare providers are currently focused on achieving meaningful use. No surprise there. That was one of the key findings of the 23rd Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, which was published at the association's massive health IT tradeshow in Las Vegas last week.

Last year's survey also found that fewer than 1 percent of those providers surveyed planned to make providing patient-centric solutions like web-based self services, personal health records and mobile devices a top IT priority. This year's survey found that, despite the consistent buzz around smartphone and tablet adoption among physicians, only 18 percent of respondents to the HIMSS survey said that supporting mobile devices was a top infrastructure priority.

Considering that tepid response, it seems fitting that HIMSS corralled the mobile health companies, startups, and pavilions into an echoing, low-cielinged exhibition space in the basement of the main event.

Upstairs those HIT vendors offering up technology platforms that aim to help providers achieve meaningful use, had plenty of iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices on display. Stripped down and streamlined versions of their HIS platforms, often squeezed into a handheld form factor, were a part of almost all of the big vendor demos. One long time hold out, athena health, also finally showed off its initial mobile plans at the event.

Providing physicians more efficient access to HIS systems is certainly a key opportunity for mobile in healthcare. Pulling information out of the healthcare system so that providers can view and analyze it on tablets right at their fingertips, however, is just one side of the coin.

In the basement of the Venetian's Sands Expo Center were many of those mobile health startups that have created apps, services, and wireless health devices that -- in the words of the West Wireless Health Institute's Dr. Eric Topol -- help to "digitize humans". This is the other side of the coin. Some of these companies are developing easy to use, engaging consumer health tools that collect and transmit personal health data that was too cumbersome to collect in the past.

The opportunity for HIMSS13 and the opportunity at the mHealth Summit this December, which HIMSS recently acquired from the FNIH, is to bring together those hospital information system vendors along with those working in mobile health. For the past three years the FNIH's mHealth Summit has been the destination mobile health event for the emerging sector.

HIMSS can help bridge the gap between HIS and mHealth. It is one of just a few organizations that is in a position to catalyze that integration. This is the association's next opportunity, but first, it has to invite mobile out of the basement.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax.

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