Our HIMSS excitement really started the week before, when Farzad Mostashari, M.D., joined our board of directors. Farzad spoke movingly during HIMSS about the importance of seeing healthcare from the patient’s perspective, the need for the private sector to ‘step up’, create patient engagement tools, and his desire to view healthcare innovation globally, expanding on Get Real Health’s experience exporting InstantPHR to other countries.
HIMSS did a wonderful job with the Interoperability Showcase. Their communication efforts spotlighted interoperability in a way that created a lot of in-depth conversations throughout the conference, and using Jane’s Journey to illustrate key interoperability concepts was particularly helpful.
Patient engagement was top-of-mind for many attendees this year, not simply on a conceptual level but as a reality. The level of excitement around putting the patient at the center of health IT innovation — and at the center of population health — felt stronger and more palpable than in the past. It was great to see people finally see what we have seen for some time!
On a company note, we were honored and excited to have a presence in Caradigm’s booth, which gave us an up-close and personal view of the many HIMSS attendees who learned about the vital role data can serve, especially in the areas of healthcare analytics, care coordination and management, and wellness and patient engagement in population health.
Social media played an even bigger role this year than in the past (an infographic by @laurencstill reported that ‘the HIMSS Twitter conversation has grown nearly sixfold since 2010’ — 540%). HIMSS is the most-tweeted HealthIT conference on the planet, with 38,828 participants generating a record-breaking 63,839 tweets, and we were proud to be among the social media influencers that helped break the record. Sharing useful information and connecting and engaging with the HealthIT community truly makes a difference! It was also great to connect in person with people we’d met previously through social media channels.
We were especially impressed with sessions like There’s a Patient on the Care Team and How Engaged Patients Will Fix Healthcare. “We can’t forget to listen to the patient,” said Jennifer Dunphy, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, Clinical SME, Get Real Health. “As healthcare providers, we’re often nervous about taking patient-generated data, but we can only take good care of our patients if we have it. More importantly, without the patient there is no care team.”
“Without engaging patients we can’t change the broken healthcare system,” Dunphy added. “By getting them accountable for their own health, we can improve population health and change the course of the medical system, plus save a lot of money.”
The interest of and engagement with visitors from around the world was both exciting and valuable, as Get Real Health CTO and Founding Partner Jason Harmon noted in this video interview. The opportunity to talk one-on-one about their needs and challenges, and learn about their cultural perspectives on healthcare, reinforced HIMSS as a not-to-be-missed global opportunity to advance health IT.
We discovered that regardless of what country someone is from, or what type of healthcare system that country has, all nations face the same problems and are looking to technology and patient engagement as solutions. That common recognition transcends borders and inspires visits to the U.S. in order to meet with leading-edge companies that offer those solutions.
Finally, our great experience this year adds up to one thing: excited anticipation as we look ahead to HIMSS 2015 in Chicago!