Hot Topics from HIMSS16: Insights, Trends and a Look Ahead

March 2016

Everything’s bigger in Vegas and HIMSS16 was no exception. There was so much to see, to do and to learn about technology and healthcare. With 42,000 in attendance, 300 education sessions, 100,000 tweets and 500,000,000 event impressions, the 2016 HIMSS Conference showcased the future of healthcare technology.

Once the shock and awe of the sheer magnitude of the event subsided, what took its place? To find out, we reached out to a couple of healthcare influencers who had some key insights to share. There was so much going on that covering everything was impossible, so read on for the key topics and highlights from HIMSS 2016 that you don’t want to miss.

Meet our interviewees:

Janae Sharp – Healthcare Marketer at Healthcare Scene

Ryan Lucas - Manager, Engagement and Development at MINES & Associates

What was your favorite session at HIMSS16?

Sharp: Where is the Money Flowing in Healthcare IT?

Lucas: I’d have to say that out of the sessions that I attended, the ones where a company and their client shared a case study were most often the interesting ones as they dealt with not only the conceptual opportunities, but the real-life problems when trying to make changes in the healthcare system. I’m thinking specifically about a session hosted by Salesforce entitled “Relationships are the Future of Healthcare,” where the CMO of Salesforce and the Medical Director of Colorado Health Neighborhoods shared their stories about using Salesforce to enable their care coordinators to engage their patients while also recognizing that they still had room to grow, and continue to develop the work that they have started.

What topic was hottest, either in session themes or in on-the-ground conversation?

Sharp: I feel like there were a lot of hot topics. Value-based payers were something I heard mentioned a lot.

Lucas: The most common thread that I heard was “interoperability,” yet there was as much groaning as there was energy about the topic. There is a decent amount of effort going into interoperability. However, as was also noted around the conference, for example, by Rasu Shrestha, “we have a ton of standard sets” and by Brian Ahier, “we don’t have an interoperability problem, we have a business problem.” When you put these two things together and consider that CommonWell was announced 4 years ago, the groans are somewhat expected.

What was your one key takeaway from HIMSS16?

Sharp: HealthIT can create better outcomes and save money.

Lucas: Security was huge this year! Not privacy, but security. Ransomware was definitely a common point of discussion. I actually tried to attend many of these sessions, and in almost all of them, human factors were the key takeaway. You can’t design to eliminate human error, you can only mitigate it.

What should be the top 3 priorities for Health IT professionals within their respective organizations?


1. Working with other groups to increase knowledge and cooperation, which is also part of interoperability.

2. Increasing overall knowledge of HealthIT and how your organization fits in the puzzle.

3. Finding your passion within HealthIT and pursuing that.


1. Talent management – making sure you are keeping a good mix of innovation and experience to keep the ideas churning.

2. Staying ahead of the curve on innovation outside your organization–don’t become stale by doing what you’ve always done.

3. Stay on top of the security threats by maintaining strong relationships with others in your industry–either through a formal or informal structure.

What topics do you think will be hot for HIMSS17?

Sharp: Women in HealthIT and gender wage gap. Patient and provider relations. Wearables and implant technology.

Lucas: While there is a lot of talk about Big Data and Population Health, I didn’t see a whole lot on many of the things that I think would be really critical to that, such as social network mapping…and social determinants (access to food, fitness, their social networks, how people influence one another’s daily behaviors and even their geographic location and its impact on health outcomes in many ways). Until we really start digging into that data and actually tying plan design and payment model to provider reimbursement while aligning with patient incentives, any attempt to use the phrase “population health or accountable care,” in my opinion, is only scratching the surface.

And for fun, what’s your favorite part of Las Vegas?

Sharp: The Jason Derulo show was pretty amazing. I wish HIMSS had invited Britney Spears to perform.

Lucas: Vegas = weather. HIMSS in Vegas = SO many opportunities/locations to meet up with different groups of people. You might hop from a social gathering for coffee, then dinner with your colleagues to debrief the day, then meet up with a vendor that night, and then late night drinks to decompress with someone you just met for a much more in-depth conversation. Being in a late city means you have long nights, but that also means you have more time for more opportunities.


Topics Row



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