Last week’s 2018 HIMSS Conference presented, as every year, a profusion of insights into the current landscape of healthcare technology. With over 300 education sessions, 1,300 vendors, and hundreds of special programs and events, a HIMSS conference can be hard to boil down into just a few key points. Still, I wanted to share one particularly salient impression that stuck with me after I attended, one that I think anyone with an interest in healthcare should stick a pin in.
In a recent article for Becker’s Hospital Review, Dan Michelson, CEO of Strata Decision Technology, discussed an interesting takeaway from his conversations with over 50 providers at the conference. Amazon, Apple, and Uber dominated the buzz thanks to recent announcements that each of these companies will be jumping into the healthcare waters, focusing respectively on group purchasing, employee clinics, and transportation. Michelson’s key insight was that while none of these companies are doing anything truly innovative, “the collective announcements are waking people up to the fact there is a better way of doing things and that if they don't innovate, someone else will.” In other words, they’re significantly motivating innovation.
Building on this line of thinking, one compelling takeaway in my mind is that CMS was hardly mentioned here this year. They are the largest consumer of healthcare in America, perhaps in the world, yet at this time their innovations are minimal.
Especially considering their demographic, CMS should be the ones contracting with Uber for rides for patients. CMS should be using Alexa to help with communication between patients and providers. CMS should be rewarding, really rewarding, proactive healthcare and predictive models. Instead they are lagging; their focus remains on interoperability between the VA and the DOD.
For healthcare executives, it’s important to remember that CMS is not the standard by which to gauge your own journey of improvement. Despite their lag, cutting-edge improvement is still the name of the game—and thanks to the influence of outside companies, it’s gaining momentum. HIMSS18 was also buzzing about teleheath, cybersecurity, predictive analytics, blockchain, AI, VR… we are truly in a time of great change. Regardless of whether CMS is coming along, industry thought leaders are ready to embrace that change.