Two popular high-level health tech conferences–HIMSS and ViVE–bookended April 2023 and left us energized for what’s to come. ViVE’s second annual conference, in Nashville, attracted more than 7,500 attendees (a 50% increase from its inaugural event). HIMSS23 took place in Chicago. With 35,000 conference-goers, attendance ballooned over the previous two years, approaching pre-pandemic levels. Healthcare leaders were eager to meet in person, share knowledge, and together tackle the puzzle of what healthcare means today. Throughout both conferences, it was clear that quality data is needed as a foundation for many of the transformations taking place in healthcare.
Both conferences had a lot to say about AI in healthcare, from cautiously optimistic to skeptically curious. The role of data in healthcare continues to loom large. “Interoperability” remained a major focus, but with it came the question of how to manage so much and so many kinds of data and how to make the best use of that data by applying advanced analytics.
Speakers and presenters at the events more fully acknowledged the importance of actionability in the data equation, looking beyond interoperability to the quality of the data being shared. As my colleague, Verinovum Chief PMO Director Sherry Troutman reported, “I was energized by the constant theme of the need for quality data. The industry has made huge strides in meeting their interoperability goal. Now they realize the need to improve the quality of the fragmented and siloed data. The good news is the market has moved past questioning WHY data quality is needed and is now digging in on HOW and WHEN. Full steam ahead!”
ViVE’s 2023 theme was “The fresh, new way to think about the business of healthcare.” One way they delivered on the theme was by exploring “techquity”: the relationship between the latest tech and the challenge of health equity. Techquity recognizes the need to integrate equity into the use and development of health technologies and into the data that fuel these tools and create analytics. The National Health IT Collaborative (NHIT) sponsored a Health Equity Series at ViVE that included the panel discussion “NHIT: Advancing Health Equity Together.” The two-part discussion convened speakers from the government and private sector, to explore how public-private partnerships could achieve better equity. We attended a NHIT-sponsored leadership breakfast, where speakers noted how siloed data, inaccessible EHR data, and lack of experience among staff data analysts prevented useful data from being actionable. A struggle we hear all too often from payers.
Speakers at ViVE also explored how data can power reforms in measurements and patient outcomes. National Quality Forum’s president and CEO Dana Gelb Safran spoke about the much-needed new generation of performance measures to inform new payment models and care delivery. Other speakers focused on how modern data strategies and data analysis can enhance insights and improve patient outcomes. Even as those performance measures evolve, we recommend that clinical data quality be considered as the measures will only be as strong as the data used to calculate them.
Other presentations addressed how to keep pace with digital transformation. One panel, aptly named “Building the Digital Transformation Plane while Flying,” acknowledged the constantly evolving, unpredictable–and potentially unstable–state of digital transformation. Speakers recommended that health executives look to past successes and lessons learned and keep an agile mindset to embrace digital healthcare’s potential.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) 2023 global conference centered on the theme “Health that Connects + Tech that Cares.” To truly deliver on connecting and caring, the components of healthcare transformations need to be rooted in high-quality data, and the data must be accessible.
The primacy of actionable data in health tech’s evolution was (finally) acknowledged in several sessions. “Data is becoming more important than oil,” presenter Kristen Leone, Director of Consulting at CGI said in the talk the Promise of Whole-Person Health Requires Equitable Data Access. And, like oil, data needs to reach a level of quality before it’s useful. Actionable insights require actionable data; data analysts need cleaned and curated data for accurate results. This is true whether writing health apps, measuring risk, running a public health analysis, identifying members for care management, or implementing an AI/machine-learning solution.
As interoperability standards and requirements continue to evolve, there is no shortage of discussion on the topic. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR®) came up regularly, especially with CMS proposing a required FHIR API for prior authorization beginning in 2026. In addition, providers and payers can now use a bulk FHIR API to access large datasets. Attendees also discussed the significance of TEFCA, health information exchanges, and qualified health information networks in the more efficient exchange of data.
Payer and provider collaboration
Several sessions discussed ways to improve payer-provide collaboration. For interoperability standards and value-based care propositions to realize their full benefit, payers and providers need to collaborate. Both want great outcomes for the people in their care and reduced costs, but the nature of the relationships, especially with regards to administration, can cause friction. Vendors, like our team at Verinovum, can act as a bridge between the two and can help mediate that friction. Some HIMSS sessions were devoted to the payer-provider relationship, covering topics like:
- How the HL7 Da Vinci Project can address provider issues with scalability and reporting standards
- How AI and NLP can reduce administrative burden and lessen provider burnout
- How to structure partnerships and follow best practices
- How solutions that accelerate data acquisition and curation benefit both providers and payers
Chat GPT/generative AI
Last but certainly not least, the topic of generative AI was on nearly everyone’s lips at HIMSS23. More than a dozen sessions were devoted to the subject, including the opening conference keynote: Responsible AI: Prioritizing Patient Safety, Privacy, and Ethical Considerations. AI has the potential to reduce burnout, streamline care processes, empower patients, improve health equity, optimize clinical trials, and more. It also has its limits, can fail, and cause more harm than good in well-meaning applications. The full scope of these technologies to help or hinder healthcare is still unknown, but they will undoubtedly touch every aspect, from the patient to the lab tech to the insurer. Companies should be actively evaluating their AI deployment to understand its impact. One of the few things we can be sure of about AI is that it requires high-quality data to be successful.
Conferences like ViVE and HIMSS are aspirational, looking forward to how technology can create a safe and solid healthcare infrastructure. This year, a lot of attendees took a good look at the building materials and acknowledged that if data are the building blocks needed to construct better healthcare, they need to be strong and reliable. Verinovum can help ensure that the data your organizations rely on are sturdy and structurally sound. Our Data Curation as a Service (DCaaS℠) solution improves clinical data quality within a matter of weeks. Learn more about your clinical data quality with our no-risk proof-of-concept.