Bits and Bytes from HIMSS10

Nov. 14, 2011
With HIMSS10 now in full swing, I’ve compiled a list of some of my observations from 1.5 days of meetings, events and sessions. At Monday’s keynote

With HIMSS10 now in full swing, I’ve compiled a list of some of my observations from 1.5 days of meetings, events and sessions.

At Monday’s keynote address, HIMSS Board Chair Dr. Barry Chaiken said the healthcare industry “remains frozen in time.” Because it is still largely paper-based, it reminds him more of “a business stuck in 1969” than the IT-driven field it should be. Chaiken spoke about the role HIMSS can play in affecting change, and wants to see less emphasis on humans being forced to recall information. Data, he says, needs to be delivered right to clinicians’ fingertips.

Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, talked up a trend that doesn’t need talking up – smartphones. Hesse said more than 80 percent of clinicians will be using the devices by 2012. He believes it is the most rapidly adapting technology in history, citing applications designed to detect cancerous moles and analyze coughs. Hesse also talked about the growing role of monitoring in chronic disease market, the exploding home health care presence, and the impending release of 4G phones.

With all of the emphasis on meaningful use (which is understandable), many industry experts are concerned that security and privacy are getting lost in the shuffle. Imprivata CEO Omar Hussain talked about two new applications designed to put clinicians and hospital executives at ease: a cutting-edge authentication technology and a privacy alert feature aimed at preventing data breaches. The emphasis, he said, needs to be on security as well as simplifying workflow for clinicians (preventing them from having to log in and log out all day long).

Security was also a hot button issue with Praveen Chopra, CIO at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Rather than speculating on whether meaningful use requirements will be met, Chopra is more interested in how patient information will be protected when facilities start sharing data on a broader level. Somehow I don’t think he’s the only one wondering that.

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