As international borders continue to open, health system leaders from around the world converged in Orlando, Florida for the 2022 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Global Health Conference and Exhibition (HIMSS) to discuss improving healthcare quality, safety, sustainability and access through the best use of information technology and information management systems. As global co-leads for KPMG’s digital health transformation methods and solutions we had the pleasure of attending the conference.
In the last two years as the health sector responded to COVID-19 it has undergone a great deal of transformation as a result. Healthcare organizations and technology companies showcased their abilities to adapt care models and deploy digital solutions to meet the quickly evolving needs of communities. These circumstances heavily influenced the offering at HIMSS and will likely influence the future of healthcare. Below are some observations taken away from the event.
1. Public health gets invited to the party
The pandemic has exposed health inequality and access issues in jurisdictions around the world, shining a spotlight on the burden of disease associated with the social determinants of health. It also highlighted information gaps in public health and its lack of integration with broader health systems. The past two years have demonstrated the critical role of data in enabling the rapid decisions necessary to support effective public health responses. The large contingent of public health leaders attending the conference reflected these sentiments.
2. AI and analytics are embedded in everything
Almost every solution presented at the exhibition showed embedded artificial intelligence and speed-to-insight from native analytical tools and dashboards. While this progress is laudable, a solution to the challenge of generating insights that rely on data from multiple systems in use across large and complex health systems remains elusive. Investments in decisive analytics and automation strategies to build durable cross-platform capabilities are expected to be critical to helping ensure that native dashboard insights are decision-relevant for multidisciplinary front-line teams.
3. The battle of the platforms: Tough decisions
The burgeoning low/no code functionality available across engagement and workflow platforms (think Microsoft, Salesforce, and ServiceNow, to name a few) provides flexibility to healthcare organizations in modernizing outdated, manual processes. At the same time, the proliferation of use cases that overlap with well-established systems of record place greater emphasis on the strategic nature of platform investments and the importance of clear objectives to guide architectural and procurement decisions. Even if providers have resolved their HCM, ERP, CRM, and LMS (or any other system described by a three-letter acronym) they cannot optimize without a platform that automates and streamlines workflows between core transactional systems. These decisions are particularly critical where organizations have lower levels of digital maturity and are considering the role of platforms as a cost-effective alternative to ‘system of record’ functionality.
4. Integrated care is still elusive
At HIMSS, the number of digital solutions that aim to solve the integrated care challenge have increased, but there remains ambiguity about the best way to address interoperability, collaboration, and communications across diverse care settings. A critical challenge in this space revolves around larger providers often bearing costs, but with expected benefits accruing to consumers and community, and with payers, and primary and secondary care providers. It’s hard to see how technology can solve this integration problem without meaningful reform of reimbursement and payment systems.