Leading Health Care Into an Increasingly Connected World

It has been more than 50 years since the first annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) national convention. In April 2015, more than 38,000 health IT professionals and clinicians from around the world gathered in Chicago, IL, to see the latest technology developments from over 1,300 vendors. Themes at this year’s event included integrating electronic health records and analytical tools for better patient care, new technologies for remote monitoring, and enhanced population health analytics. Read on for 3 notable developments that Sg2’s technology team garnered from the conference.

Partnerships With New Market Entrants Take Center Stage
HX360, a new showcase developed through collaboration between HIMSS and Avia, was dedicated to innovation. The exhibit featured 4 main areas: start-ups, games for health, marketplace for maturing companies and accelerator hubs that focused on strategic partnerships.

Head Rehab VR showcased a virtual reality product that aims to aid patients with pain, cancer or end-of-life care. The patient dons a virtual reality headset, which consists of eyewear and headphones, and chooses a destination (eg, the beach). He sees the destination as if on a plane flying toward it, then he lands on the beach. Turning your head in all directions allows visualization of the beach from different angles, as if you were actually there. The serene sights and sounds of nature, along with an audio guide for various breathing exercises, are intended to relax patients and distract them from their actual surroundings.

Caremerge, a company focused on care coordination, has quickly grown their investment funding to $4 million in 4 years and has developed products tailored to senior living and skilled nursing. Caremerge is a good example of a start-up becoming a disrupter by utilizing features of existing EHR systems to focus on connecting patients to their caregivers and providers. Their products vary from real-time note and assessment entry to alerts and secure messaging. Pairing mobile social features, such as messaging or group events, among residents and families with elements from EHR systems makes this technology unique in a space (senior living) that most EHR providers are not primarily focused on.

Key Takeaway: The health care landscape has no shortage of innovative technologies developed by new market entrants.

  1. To fill gaps in your System of CARE, consider engaging with local entrepreneurs to foster important discussions and novel solutions.
  2. If investing in a start-up health care technology company is not an option, consider sponsoring networking and educational events that bring together local start-ups and health care professionals.

Seamless Transitions Facilitate Value-Based Service
The largest exhibit at HIMSS this year was the Interoperability Showcase. Interoperability refers to technologies or products that can interact with other products or systems without restricted access. The exhibit included over 20 rooms and more than 50 companies. Each room was designed for a patient scenario (eg, visiting specialists for a chronic disease) and included examples of the treatment and monitoring tools provided by various vendors. The exhibit highlighted the journey of a sample patient family, and each room depicted a site of care so that attendees could follow the patient’s care journey via live demos of technology solutions for workflow, case management and EHR utilization.

Key Takeaway: Interoperability reduces redundancy, fosters a more efficient environment that spans multiple sites of care, and eases communication between patients and providers.

  1. Pinpoint opportunities in your System of CARE that could be improved with the integration of interoperable solutions.
  2. Solicit feedback from staff, providers and patients to identify gaps in communication and poor data transfer.
  3. Compare solutions offered by various vendors to understand which solutions could fill these gaps with minimal disruption to current workflow.

A More Connected Workforce Improves Efficiency and Quality
Another highlight was the partnership between Apple and IBM to create 4 new applications for the health care industry. These apps allow the users (typically nurses) to access patients’ records anywhere at any time.

  • Hospital Lead is an iPad app that notifies the charge nurse of overdue tasks, offers prioritized task lists and streamlines the patient discharge process.
  • Hospital RN allows nurses to access a patient’s records, identify the patient’s location via iBeacon, update notes, view lab status and receive alerts.
  • Hospital Tech is very similar to Hospital RN; however, Hospital Tech is geared to nurse technicians.
  • Home RN is designed for the home health environment and allows the nurse to receive alerts; update notes; capture photos, videos and audio notes and append them to the patient’s record; and view a patient’s home on a map along with nearby labs and facilities (eg, pharmacies).

These 4 apps increase efficiency and ease case management while reducing administrative time required for note-taking and gathering the appropriate paperwork in a home health environment.

Key Takeaway: There are a variety of simple and intuitive apps on the market that allow real-time tracking and decision making for nurses.

  1. Consider integrating these solutions to increase efficiency and cultivate better case management and care for patients.
  2. Develop and track metrics over the short-term to calculate financial return, improvements in staff efficiencies, and clinical and quality outcomes.

This year’s HIMSS conference featured a plethora of new ideas, products and technologies from both start-ups and established vendors. To learn more about how to implement these ideas and strategies at your organization, contact your Sg2 account executive.

Sg2 Senior Analyst Catherine Tan contributed to this post.

Sources: HIMSS Annual Conference, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, 2015; Sg2 Analysis, 2015.

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As of February 11, 2016, Vizient, Inc. has completed its purchase of MedAssets Sg2 and spend and clinical resource management segments from Pamplona Capital Management, LLC. MedAssets revenue cycle business will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pamplona Capital Management LLP.

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