Interoperability, cloud, consumerization were hot topics at HIMSS19

Patient engagement and the consumerization of health also held court this week in Orlando.
By Jonah Comstock
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It’s always hard to pin down one theme for a conference as large and multifaceted as the HIMSS global conference, which wrapped up today in Orlando, Florida. But this year one theme did stand out above the rest: interoperability.

Of course, interoperability and data sharing have been a conversation topic at HIMSS for a number of years. But this time there was a sense that all the effort that’s gone into creating HL7, FHIR and other data standardization and sharing tools is finally paying off.

The biggest indicator of this, of course, was a major new rule on the topic from ONC and CMS, which forbids information blocking and requires not just data sharing, but data sharing in specific formats.

“All previous regulations just said ‘you have to share data’ and didn’t tell you how,” Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka said in a session summarizing the rules. “Well, now you know.”

And while bureaucrats were talking about interoperability on stage, vendors on the floor were announcing partnerships and new technologies to make it happen, especially big cloud vendors Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

The cloud has taken on new importance in healthcare as machine learning, and its massive data storage requirement, has begun to move from hype to reality in medical centers.

Additionally, across the conference, patient engagement and the consumerization of healthcare continued to hold a central place in the discourse. As systems finally become more interoperable, they will also need to be connected to patients, whether it’s by taking in data from their apps or devices or by delivering their data to them as easily as their banks do now.

Plenty of other topics also held the floor, from telemedicine to virtual reality to blockchain, and we’d encourage you to check our HIMSS19 landing pages at both MobiHealthNews and our sister publication Healthcare IT News for full coverage of the conference.

And keep checking back. The show may be over, but in the weeks to come, we’ll be trickling out hours of video footage from the show here and on HIMSSTV, and even a few more session stories we haven’t had a chance to put together.

HIMSS19 Coverage

An inside look at the innovation, education, technology, networking and key events at the HIMSS19 global conference in Orlando.

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