Whew! What a week it was at HIMSS. If you’re like me, you had a great time and you’re tired. But now that I’ve had some time to sit down and digest all that we experienced in Las Vegas, I can recap what I thought were some of the hottest trends at HIMSS16. Spoiler alert – I provide lots of links for you to reference!

Day One Welcome Events

Did you get to see Sylvia Burwell’s announcement that opened HIMSS16? The US Secretary of Health and Human Services announced a new joint commitment from a large group of healthcare providers and health IT companies (NextGen Healthcare included) to make electronic health records (EHRs) work better for patients and providers. Now that makes sense! Here’s the accompanying fact sheet that summarizes the announcement and lists all participating organizations. And here’s the transcript of her entire speech.
Sylvia Burwell

More Day One Highlights – February 29

The Opening Keynote – “The Current Landscape and Future of Innovative Payment Models” – included remarks by Alex Baker, a public health analyst from the Office of Care Transformation (a relatively new office at ONC). He said health information exchange is an essential tool to support the transition to value-based payment models. He said the ONC and HHS see delivery system reform – interoperability – as providing the business case for health information exchange.

Healthcare risk adjustment technology vendor Talix announced it is partnering with NextGen Healthcare, Allscripts, and Capstone Performance Systems to make Talix’s Coding Insight application available in each company’s offerings.

Surescripts activated its National Record Locator Service, designed to give providers a way to obtain a more complete view of a patient’s health history. In the press release announcing the interoperability milestone, it is noted that CVS Health, Express Scripts, Epic, and NextGen Healthcare are key partners with Surescripts, enabling patient record location and standardized record-sharing practices needed to drive a patient-centric and value based care healthcare system. Also, check out this Record Locator Interoperability Panel discussion moderated by Dr. John Halamka, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO.

New at HIMSS16: Population Health and Revenue Cycle Knowledge Centers.

HealthcareITNews asked readers to vote on “the biggest topics” at this year’s HIMSS conference and exhibition. Which topic was most important to you?

Day Two Highlights – March 1

The HIMSS Interoperability Showcase™ kicked off “Day 2” showing attendees how health information exchange impacts patient care. It was the largest interoperability education destination on the HIMSS16 exhibit floor. And judging by the crowds, the most popular too.

HIMSS Show Floor

HHS released a proposed rule that would expand its oversight of EHR vendors, allowing the agency to review how certified health IT products interact with other products. Modern Healthcare says the proposed rule aims to prevent data blocking. A full copy of the proposed rule is available here.

And here’s something else that’s really starting to make sense: Data and findings from the 27th annual HIMSS Leadership Survey. The key takeaway is that adding a doctor or nurse to the IT leadership team changes how a healthcare organization views its technology efforts and mandate. In the news release announcing the findings, clinical IT executives are seen as vital to ensure health IT is used to positively impact care outcomes. You can download an Executive Summary of the survey here.

The ONC issued its annual report to Congress on HIT progress and barriers. In the report the ONC says it will continue to build the economic case for interoperability, improve consumer access to healthcare data, and discourage health information blocking. Here’s the full report.

Think your staff needs an “attitude adjustment” to get more from your EHR? Elizabeth Regan, department chair and professor of integrated information technology at University of South Carolina agrees! She said for EHRs to pay off, behavior change must be part of the implementation. Here’s her full presentation: “EHR Optimization: Why Is Meaningful Use So Difficult?”

Late this day, a special joint session with the ONC and CMS took place. Dr. Karen DeSalvo, ONC National Coordinator and Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator, CMS said in their session that health IT has to work better for doctors. HealthcareITNews covered the co-presentations and issued this wrap-up story.

Day Three Highlights – March 2

Here’s the healthit.gov page that lists every ONC session conducted at HIMSS16.

HIMSS released a cool new infographic to illustrate the value of an HIE to providers, especially in communities with separate, independent practices and EHRs.

Speaking of infographics, here’s another one, also unveiled on Day 3 at HIMSS16, by the Vitality Institute showing guidelines for personalized health technology. They also issued their final report – “Guidelines for Personalized Health Technology.”

Remember the note earlier in my post about which topic is/was the hottest at HIMSS16? My vote goes to interoperability. On the official CMS Blog, Andy Slavitt and Karen DeSalvo co-posted news that CMS will back interoperability for long-term care facilities, behavioral health providers, and substance abuse treatment centers. The “i-word” – interoperability – was everywhere this year at HIMSS16!

Please visit the master HIMSS16 web site for items not in my recap or activities that happened on the last two days of the conference.

Here’s one more good one: A complete listing of the #HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassadors and their links. Do a quick review of each contact and start following the ones who can help you stay on the front edge of what’s important to you.

One final note: In·ter·op·er·a·bil·i·ty

Because the eight syllable “i-word” is my vote for the hottest, most talked about topic at HIMSS16, I’ll leave you with the suggestion to visit the NextGen Healthcare Interoperability Solutions section of our website. Our clients exchange PHI across disparate systems every day with our health exchange solution suite. It’s not hard. Because we make it easy.

See you next year in Orlando!