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It’s a busy time of year in the office for conferences. The Merritt Group Cybersecurity Practice is focused on RSA while on the healthcare team we just finished up with HIMSS18. As one of the biggest healthcare IT shows of the year, the annual HIMSS conference brings together health technology leaders in the public and private sectors and is always a launching point for new innovations that have the potential to reinvent healthcare.

HIMSS18 was my third HIMSS conference, and every year I’m always inspired by the innovations and the opportunities for the future. Below are my top three takeaways from this year’s event. Some of these surprised me while others were more expected, but no matter what, they’ll be exciting to watch shape healthcare in the coming year.     

  1. David and Goliath are teaming up on healthcare innovation: From Apple to Uber and every major company in between, HIMSS18 showed that the days of little startups being the only healthcare disruptors is coming to an end. These big companies made a splash at HIMSS by announcing new products and partnerships and are breathing funding and life into some of the leading ideas healthcare needs. Given the brand recognition and reach these companies bring, this might be the push healthcare needs to embrace innovations.
  2. CMS launched citizen health initiatives: At the conference, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced the federal government’s plans to wade into healthcare interoperability and empower citizens through health data in the process. Verma and Jared Kushner spoke at HIMSS18 and announced MyHealthEData, a tool to give patients access to their entire health record digitally. This focus on providing citizens access to their health data is a huge step for healthcare and as citizens are asked to take a larger role in their healthcare journey having easy access to these files digitally will be key. By getting CMS involved at the outset, there’s hope for a standardized process that can be implemented nationwide.
  3. Healthcare’s biggest buzzwords go to AI and blockchain: With HIMSS18 being in Vegas this year we all could have gambled that AI and blockchain would dominate discussions. These two trends dominated the conference in the vendor booths, panel discussions and product announcements launched at the show. What’s most interesting to me about the blockchain discussion from HIMSS18 is the level of education still happening on the topic. Panels included “Blockchain 101” and “Is Blockchain Right for Good Health,” so it’s clear that while blockchain has become the hot buzzword in healthcare, practitioners are still figuring out where it fits into the healthcare ecosystem.

To keep up to date on the trends impacting healthcare I’ll be reading up on and following on Twitter outlets like Modern Healthcare, Healthcare Dive and Kaiser Health News to see where healthcare is heading. Here’s to HIMSS19!

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