HIMSS 22: Healthcare inspiration and insights

  • Posted on March 23, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes

Last week I had the opportunity to attend HIMSS 22, one of the most influential annual gatherings of those involved in or interested in the business of healthcare. The HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition brings together 40,000+ health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world, and this year’s event in Orlando didn’t disappoint.

The conference was refreshing, exciting, informative and inspirational. It was great to see so many in-person attendees and be a part of so many face-to-face conversations with clients, prospects and partners. HIMSS 22 had a buzz and energy that to me, signified the health industry’s emergence from a paralyzing pandemic into a "Reimagine and Rethink Health" for the future mindset.

Based on my conversations, the topics that are top of mind for our healthcare clients include:

  • Worker shortages: How to increase productivity and reduce burnout of our health workers
  • Patient and clinician experience: How to improve experiences in health across the board
  • Managing change: The emergence of home health, telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, etc.
  • Data interoperability: How to leverage data and AI for better operational & clinical insights

Healthcare’s staffing shortages are occurring while populations are aging and labor pools are shrinking. This means demand for healthcare will rise while the number of qualified workers shrinks, so this health worker shortage cannot be solved by more workers. Health organizations can only meet rising demand by fundamentally changing how and where work gets done.

Healthcare needs organizational change, to go all in on home-based care, virtual care and data-driven task management to maximize the care output current staffing levels. Avanade's Care 24/7 solution is created for healthcare organizations to leverage the Microsoft platform for data-driven care anywhere and collaboration everywhere.

Digital transformation one step at a time
Several clients I spoke with marveled at the realization of how far healthcare has to go to truly adapt and change. After our “Future of Work in Health” discussion, one client summed it up well by saying, “We have a lot of work to do and a long journey to understand and change how work gets done” for the better future of health. He went on to say “it’s a multi-year journey” and he is leaving it to his successor, because he “doesn’t have the personal energy and multi-year time horizon to see it through.”

I understand where he is coming from. These are long efforts and clients want assistance to determine the full vision and what the steps are, what to expect along the way and how to best get started. Avanade’s “Care 24/7” and “Health on Azure” map out a vision, expectation and steps to take.

I’m reminded of the old adage, “a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.” My colleagues and I stressed to everyone we spoke with that they are not alone. Avanade is here to help clients take those steps.

A walk through HIMSS by this interested participant

Other observations at HIMSS 22:

  • Acquisition in the Healthcare IT space is active and will remain so. Most notable is the recent acquisition of Cerner by Oracle. We are quickly transitioning from a “platform versus product” market to a “platform plus product” environment.

    Look also at Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance. The health industry was long ruled by electronic health record systems, and then platforms and ISVs swarmed around them to be relevant. With the emergence of cloud, the major cloud platform players (like Microsoft and others) have aggressively entered the health space and have quickly built ecosystems with functionality that overlap and rival the EHR space. Integration between platforms and products became essential, and now that is on display and accelerating in the acquisitions we see happening.

  • Another aspect of care that is accelerating is home health or “hospital at home,” thought to have multiple benefits for providers and health plans. Home health care done right increases capacity, reduces the cost per patient and can even lead to better care outcomes. Remote patient monitoring and connected care with proper health team collaboration is key to realizing effective home health.

    On Day 1 of HIMSS, I was honored to be joined in our booth by Amy Berk, Microsoft's Director for Population Health and Avanade's Christiana Voelker to discuss how home health is changing and becoming a larger piece of the care continuum, and how Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is a terrific foundation for Avanade to build and deliver robust and well-integrated home health solutions.

  • On Day 2 of HIMSS, the highlight for me was being an active audience participant in Accenture’s presentation on the power of data and AI for precision medicine. Dr. Cecil Lynch, of Accenture, explained how we teamed up with clinicians to study patient types and their susceptibility to COVID-19 morbidity due to blood clotting. The data and analysis is done on Azure and is replicable with our Health on Azure offering. It was a breathtaking display of the power of data analysis and AI to reach conclusions that really matter.

  • Day 3, the last day of HIMSS, was anchored by Avanade’s own event, which featured our client, Dr. Zafar Chaudry of Seattle Children’s. Dr. Chaudry really helped us close HIMSS 22 on a strong note. He spoke about Avanade’s unique capabilities in advisory and organizational change management, as well as technology experts, that can help healthcare organizations achieve successful digital transformations. Dr. Chaudry highlighted Avanade’s capacity to support continuous change, meet people where they are on the journey and bring the human element to the process and outcome.

While HIMSS is in the books for another year, our entire team came away inspired to get to work. Ahead will be many follow-up and follow-through discussions to help our clients build on the inspiration of HIMSS.

See how healthcare organizations are improving the patient and clinician experience, enhancing care team collaboration and realizing health data interoperability.

Greg Smith

Great insights. As you point out, it feels like it is a long, complex journey. The good thing, the pandemic not only highlighted and created stresses (e.g., the workforce shortage that has existed for years but is now more crucial), but it also highlighted and invigorated the journey to a better way of offering, delivering, and receiving care.

March 28, 2022

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