In this episode, Ely Labovitz, Senior Software Architect at BESLER Consulting, discusses highlights from HIMSS 2016 and how what’s new in healthcare IT affects everyone involved in hospital finance.
Michael Passanante: Welcome back. This is Mike Passanante. Glad to have you aboard for another episode of the Hospital Finance Podcast.
Today, I’m joined by Ely Labovitz. Ely is a senior software architect here at Besler Consulting. He’s going to talk to us about his recent experience at the HIMSS meeting in Las Vegas. Welcome back, Ely.
Ely Labovitz: Mike, thank you. Thank you for having me.
Mike: So Ely, for those who may not be familiar with HIMSS or haven’t been there before, can you give us a little bit of background on that event and tell us what it’s all about?
Ely: Sure! HIMSS is a nation-wide organization which attempts to improve healthcare through the use of information technologies. The HIMSS annual conference brings together healthcare IT professionals from around the country for four days where you can be exposed to top-notch keynote speakers, a huge exhibit floor and a ton of educational sessions.
Mike: So, we want to know why you went to HIMSS. Can you just explain a little bit about your background here at Besler and why someone with your background would want to go to HIMSS.
Ely: Sure! I’m currently the senior software architect of BESLER Transfer and IME product lines. Those are web-based solution that allow hospitals to recover Medicare underpayments. And I’ve always felt that using IT to solve people’s problems is the way to go.
Mike: So, you’re fresh off the plane back from HIMSS 2016. It’s a huge meeting, a monster meeting. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience there?
Ely: Sure, Mike. This is actually my 13th HIMSS show. HIMSS is really a great opportunity to network with people who are transforming healthcare with information technology. I always believe that technology plays a significant role in how we overcome challenges and healthcare is really no exception. The HIMSS annual conference lets me both hear and see the latest and greatest technology in my area.
Mike: So, who are the kinds of people that go to HIMSS within the healthcare space?
Ely: It’s really a fascinating and informative event. And anyone who is committed to healthcare IT should really attend this event. This year, there were 42,000 attendees which is just a huge number of people to house in one place. There are over a hundred peer reviewed education sessions and more than 1200 exhibitors.
I was there for three days and it’s a huge amount to take in three days. But as I’ve said, anyone who’s committed to transforming healthcare through IT should really attend this event.
Mike: Ely, this is a very fast-moving space and there’s so much that goes on in an event like this. Can you just break down for us some of the trends and findings that you came away with from HIMSS 2016?
Ely: Sure, Mike. I’d be happy to. A big topic of conversation this year was IT security and specifically mitigating risk against cybercrime. The organizers dedicated a separate exhibit hall just for IT security which made it really convenient to see first-hand the latest trends in security.
Another topic which was very interesting to me was a lot of buzz around patient data.
At previous HIMSS shows, there was a lot of focus on interoperability which allows different information technology systems and software applications to communicate and exchange data. Although this is still important, this year, the buzz really concerned the use of patient data to provide insight into patient care. There were a lot of well-attended sessions on this topic and the exhibit hall was loaded with vendors who are unlocking the keys of patient data to help predict outcomes, prevent illness, and ultimately, reduce healthcare cost.
This topic is really important to healthcare IT professionals, but also to hospital finance personnel, and really, anyone concerned with the overall cost of healthcare.
Lastly, Mike, there was a lot of discussion around patient engagement and how technology can be used to conduct and empower patients outside of the traditional medical settings. Vendors were demonstrating the use of the cloud and social media to provide patients with new tools so they can better manage their own wellness.
Mike: So, for an event this massive, what advice would you give to the first-time attendees so that they can prepare and maximize their experience at an event like this?
Ely: Well, Mike, that’s a great question. When I first started attending HIMSS, I used to love wandering the exhibit floor just to get new ideas. But because of the sheer size of the exhibit floor these days, it’s really no longer feasible and it rarely proves to be satisfying at this point.
I would recommend to start by creating a highly targeted list of the vendors and the topics that you must see.
For the past few years, the exhibit floors had been set up in a way that allows you to focus on specific areas of healthcare IT. IT security is in one place; interoperability in another. This really allows you to have a much more meaningful experience.
Of course, you’ve got to leave some time to wander because you never know what you’re going to find at HIMSS.
Mike: So speaking of the exhibit floor, what was your favorite area this year?
Ely: As I’ve said, it’s almost impossible to see everything. This year, I spent a lot of time at the new vendor showcase which is an area set up just for the new vendors. It’s away from the main exhibit floor. You have huge vendors with huge booths. The smaller vendors get lost in a venue like that.
I give a lot of credit to the HIMSS organizers because they set this up in a way where you can really, really focus on the new vendors without being in the shadow of the larger ones.
Mike: Ely, thanks for taking some time with us today to talk about your recent experience at HIMSS. It was enlightening. I’m sure there’s much more to come at HIMSS 2017.
Ely: Thanks, Mike. Appreciate the time today.