With another HIMSS Conference behind us, it is a great time to reflect on how the healthcare industry, and healthcare IT in particular, has evolved over the years. In my experience in this industry – approximately 18 years in the healthcare IT business – things have changed dramatically. My earliest memory of the HIMSS Conference from late nineties was its focus on HIPAA. And with the passage of the legislation in 1996, administrative simplification, and implementing the ability to electronically submit claims for payment in a standardized HIPAA-compliant format, was the key messaging at the event. Today, most of us think of security when hearing the word HIPAA, but in the early stages of the legislation it was really more about improving the process of claim submission and payment, and moving away from paper claims.
This was before Meaningful Use, and there were far fewer companies promoting an electronic health record (EHR) system. Managed Care was still hanging on as a payment methodology, and the need to support the complexity of payments corresponding with capitation, reporting and other key components were of importance at that time.
Fast forward to 2010 – 2014 and HIMSS was all about EHR, and Konica Minolta begun to participate in the event. By this time, with all of the focus on Meaningful Use and the incentives to adopt healthcare IT, the number of companies promoting an EHR at HIMSS had exploded, and the field became quite crowded. Virtually all messaging at the event at that time revolved around EHR and achieving MU attestation.
But in 2015, and the most recent conference in March of 2016, the complexion of the conference was quite different. EHR has become a commodity, and the focus has turned to how to best exchange and use the data collected in the EHR. Healthcare has also changed considerably, with the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act and changing reimbursement. With the need to reduce the cost of care and improve the quality of care to support new outcome-based payment, topics such as chronic care management, population health, patient engagement, interoperability, data analytics and Accountable Care dominated the discussions, exhibits and sessions. Additionally, cloud technology and security also have emerged as key topics of discussion with the many data breaches and increased enforcement of the privacy and security rules of HIPAA.
As healthcare continues to change, technology and the way companies engage with healthcare provider organizations must also evolve. As Konica Minolta grows as a healthcare technology sales organization, it is important to bear in mind how rapidly the industry has changed over the past two decades. Being flexible and nimble, and able to adjust to the new methods of care delivery, payment models and changing expectations of our customers and their patients will be key to our ability to add value, and be a trusted business partner. Contributing toward their objectives of reducing the cost of care, while improving their ability to deliver quality care and enhancing the patient experience will be essential to our long-term industry outlook.
Konica Minolta has made significant investments in the healthcare sector through our “One Konica Minolta” initiatives with our Medical Imaging business, and its acquisition of Vistek; our commitment to ECM, interoperability and HIPAA compliance; our business innovation Center efforts; and an evolving global healthcare focus that will drive our business development in the healthcare space for many years to come. It is exciting to be part of an organization that is so focused on an industry with such enormous growth potential, but also innovating products, services and solutions to assist our healthcare customers’ in improving the lives of their patients.
HIMSS 2017 will most certainly highlight advances made in technology to support the initiatives outlined in this discussion, and will further the conversation around the Internet of Things and connected health, analytics, cloud, telemedicine, consumerism and engagement. It will be invigorating to introduce the results of our “One Konica Minolta” efforts to the industry, and demonstrate how we will play in this new dynamic industry.