The annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference gets under way Monday in Orlando, Florida, with numerous preconference activities starting Sunday.
As more than 40,000 people descend on Central Florida for the grueling event, MedCity News talked to HIMSS CEO and President H. Stephen Lieber for what has become an annual ritual, at least for this reporter. As usual, it’s on tape.
HIMSS17 is the last HIMSS conference with Lieber in charge; he announced in December that he would retire at the end of 2017.
Lieber is preparing to depart at a time when health IT is at a crossroads.
Healthcare organizations in the U.S. have spent the better part of the last 10 years installing and now optimizing electronic health records, though they continue to lag when it comes to sharing data across systems. And they continue to gripe about EHR usability and Meaningful Use requirements.
Providers in recent years also have grappled with updates to HIPAA regulations and the conversion to ICD-10 coding. Now, they face some new regulations affecting health IT.
Notably, the 2016 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is coming into force for ambulatory care. The rise of accountable care is “certainly having an impact already in terms of how care is not only delivered,” as well as how payers calculate reimbursements, Lieber noted.
They also face the uncertainty that comes with a change in administration in Washington.
Still, some things do remain relatively constant in health IT.
“The ongoing challenge in dealing with security, there is going to be an even greater focus this year as we try to bring more attention, more focus on what it takes to make sure that we’re handling data in a secure way,” Lieber said.
Clinical analytics has become a normal course of business in the field as well, though it has changed from merely clinical decision support and retrospective analytics to predictive analytics and machine learning. “As the field evolves, we’re evolving the programming with it.” Lieber noted.
Policy seems to be where a lot of intrigue is right now. It’s easy to make assumptions about what the new Trump administration might do, but assumptions are just that.