HIMSS 2018: Vegas Edition

Michele Behme
By: Michele Behme
Date: March 14, 2018

What a week it was at the HIMSS18 Annual Conference & Exhibition! If you haven’t been to a healthcare conference in Vegas, then you don’t know what you’re missing. More than 40,000 healthcare professionals from around the globe – physicians, nurses, caregivers, technology professionals, executives, and vendors – converged on the Sands Expo and Convention Center for a week of networking, education, and sharing perspectives on the trends, initiatives, and advances that are shaping health information technology and how care is delivered and received. There was so much going on, the energy was palatable, and it’s impossible to look back and not feel like there was something we didn’t get to see while at this year’s HIMSS conference.


The big theme of the show can be summarized in one word: disruption. Countless speakers gave testament to this being the era of disruption and how data is at its core. Some of the big messages were focused around how data is improving care, influencing policy makers, how CIOs are looking to eliminate data centers in favor of the cloud, and how the Internet of Things (IoT) brings opportunity to use patient generated health data to enhance the patient experience and transform data into actionable information.

The patient

Another prevalent theme was patient experience and the critical necessity to make the patient experience a priority. Interoperability, blockchain and security, digital transformation, cloud computing, revenue cycle, and telemedicine dominated many conversations, but it all came back to mindfulness in transforming patient experience and outcomes.

We spoke with one physician who really nailed the importance of workflow and using technology in the patient experience. He said when users have accurate, real-time information in the system they can influence a better patient experience as well as the end user experience.

We saw a lot more work being done on patient access and evidence of how that is providing a better experience. It’s about the efficiencies of dealing with the workflow behind the scenes, such as allowing patients to complete preadmission information from the comfort of their home without the distractions of the hospital. Health systems benefit because they save costs with increased accuracy and may achieve higher HCAHPS scores by delivering a better patient experience.

Physician engagement

I’d be remiss in not giving a nod to the activities happening outside the main HIMSS18 conference. The CHIME Spring Forum featured several great speakers, including Cletis Earle, CIO at Kaleida Health, healthcare strategist and best-selling authors Nicholas Webb, Seth Mattison, Liz Murray and Robert Wachter, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and author of The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age.

Avaap hosted a CIO focus group “Why the Best CIOs May Be Missing the Biggest Revenue Opportunity” and while the topic was ERP and EHR integration, the discussion still came back to patient engagement, physician experience, and increasing usability of the system. The trickle effect was obvious to the group: when physicians’ work is streamlined, they’re able to impact patient satisfaction and happiness.

While HIMSS 2018 is behind us, we want to say we heard it loud and clear: physicians want greater usability and to spend less time with the EHR and more with their patients, often referred to as “less pajama time” or “getting home for dinner”. What happens in Vegas doesn’t need to stay in Vegas. Let’s continue the conversation and talk about how Avaap can help your healthcare organization increase physician efficiency, streamline processes, and optimize the EHR to reflect your physicians’ approach.

Michele Behme, RN, is vice president of EHR healthcare at Avaap. She works with nurses, physician groups, and executive leaders to bring EHR expertise, strategy, and program development to improve physician experience, patient engagement, and clinical and business outcomes.

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