HIMSS19 Was All About Data

Dave Mink, Chief Client Officer

Each year I look forward to HIMSS because it allows me to step back and get an overview of the trends shaping the healthcare industry. One message rang loud and clear this year—data will continue to drive innovation to create better experiences for patients and clinicians.


With the CMS announcement requiring health plans to share claims and other health data with patients via an API by 2020 and the release of FHIR® 4 by HL7, the industry is adopting more technologies that make interoperability, and by extension data sharing, easier.

Seema Verma, the CMS Administrator, remarked early on at HIMSS that while hospitals have invested billions in electronic medical records, these systems still aren’t meeting the needs of patients and clinicians. But EMRs have improved the healthcare system by helping providers better manage care and capturing vast amounts of user data. The key is to break the data out of institutional silos so the industry can develop new solutions to improve patient outcomes and clinician workflow.

An effective way organizations are doing this is by analyzing data on patient engagement with the digital interactions and health education sent to them by care team members. For instance, care teams can see how patients who have hypertension interact with their education, then they can correlate that data to how well patients are monitoring their blood pressure at home and if they’re adhering to their medication regimen. Clinicians can easily identify the patients who may need more interventions if they know these patients haven’t read the education. This information helps organizations personalize health care for individuals, gain a better understanding of the impact of their patient education strategies, and tie education to outcomes.

More organizations are also analyzing data around clinician utilization of patient education and determining how to leverage it to improve the clinical workflow. The ability to track and identify the most frequently used health resources helps organizations configure workflows that allow clinicians to easily access their favorite documents. Taking that one step further, organizations can create standardized care plans by building collections of content mapped to specific points in care. Using patient data to help recommend the right health content at the right time makes it personal to the patient and simplifies the clinician’s workflow since they don’t need to search for the right information. Understanding metrics around the usage of patient education helps improve the clinician experience by making it easier to deliver health resources within their workflow.

When it comes to interoperability, we’ve rounded the corner in healthcare culture where providers are more interested in sharing patient data, and health systems recognize the value of systems talking to each other. Over the past few years, there’s been an influx of new applications leveraging SMART® on FHIR® to accelerate data sharing. As organizations explore various options, we’ll start to see those applications consolidate into the ones that clinicians and patients use the most, just like we have with smartphones. The applications will be the ones that make an easier workflow for clinicians and a personalized experience for patients.

As HIMSS19 concluded, I returned home with renewed excitement for advancing interoperability and the opportunity to create a better healthcare experience for everyone.

Learn more about how we’re helping organizations use data to improve the patient and clinician experience.