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Simpler Point of View

HIMSS17: Day One

February 22, 2017

By Adam Ward


I've arrived in beautiful Orlando, Florida for the largest healthcare IT conference, HIMSS17. As an innovator, technology enthusiast and veteran of healthcare tradeshows, I was excited to finally get the opportunity to see and hear first-hand from some of the best and brightest thought leaders and innovators in our industry on how technology will impact healthcare in the year to come.

As eager as I was to meet some of the 40,000+ health IT professionals, executives and vendors exhibiting at the show, I was particularly excited to attend the inaugural keynote session.

This year's opening keynote address was delivered by Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO of Simpler's parent company, IBM. Rometty kicked off the conference by delivering a well-received speech on healthcare and the cognitive era. She discussed how cognitive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, are poised to profoundly impact medicine and value-based care, emphasizing that the healthcare industry needs to embrace and guide new technologies into the world in an ethical and enduring way.

Rometty also shared her concern over the fact that many healthcare organizations and leaders struggle to imagine the future. This point hit close to home as I've found that many of my clients aren't putting enough thought into the future. Rometty's remarks support my firm belief that healthcare delivery firms need to get serious about internal innovation to further support and bolster the outcome of patient care. They also must produce new and improved models of care for both patients and the healthcare system employees in preparation of the future, and that it is done in a strategic manner.

After a brilliant keynote session, it was time to hit the exhibition hall floor. I was assigned to work the corporate booth for the bulk of the day to share Simpler's vast array of offerings and discuss how Simpler, Truven, and Phytel & Explorys are contributing to the IBM Watson brand. It was great to meet so many fascinating people with interesting problems in their healthcare system.

As day one of the conference wound down, I found myself reflecting on the day's events. Here are my takeaways:

  • We have to address innovations that reduce physician administrative burden, not increase it. Simpler Senior Advisor, Dr. Paul DeChant, gave a talk on his new book, “Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine, A Handbook for Physicians and Health Care Leaders," which specifically addresses this topic. DeChant shared how new innovations, processes and fixes should reduce the barriers and frustrations care givers encounter every day.
  • With so much uncertainty, healthcare organizations need to be even more flexible. To be effective for any period of time, healthcare organizations need to create adaptable environments that value continuous improvement, and don't flinch at the notion of change. The Lean management model hardwires that adaptability. The ability to rapidly adapt to a changing environment is a critically important strategic advantage in this era of rapid and unpredictable change.

I'm looking forward to digging a little deeper tomorrow.


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