In early March, over 45,000 people descended on Las Vegas for HIMSS18, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s annual conference. As expected, almost everyone had something to say about interoperability, automation, security and compliance, and AI and machine learning technologies dominated a lot of the five-day-long show’s discussion.
During the conference’s opening keynote, Eric Schmidt, technical advisor and former executive chairman at Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., focused on what we can do to hasten technological breakthroughs so we can improve healthcare for millions of people all across the globe. On Friday, we were treated to a double feature: in the first, Secretary of the VA David Shulkin, MD, delivered his keynote on the medical care of veterans and the changes and innovations underway at the VA; then, Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono of the Department of the DHA spoke about the advances in military healthcare as it relates to data delivery and care coordination.
Magic Johnson closed out the event, walking us through his playing days and his later life as a businessman — and of course, his experience with the healthcare system and the importance of healthcare advocacy. In between all of that, there were five days of announcements, exhibitions, lectures, networking events and training sessions.
What we saw
Lexmark – in addition to unveiling several new solutions, the company hosted a number of interesting presentations that focused on output management, secure exam room and prescription printing, e-forms, intelligent ID security, and HIMSS Stage 7 Scanning Requirements solutions. The company also had on hand plenty of their latest MFPs and software designed to help healthcare providers communicate more effectively with patients and make data more secure and accessible, which we covered in part earlier this year.
The company unveiled four new solutions at HIMSS18. We saw the aptly named Connector for Epic, which enables healthcare providers to dovetail the Lexmark Print Management System with Epic so they can enable secure pull printing directly from Epic. Other announcements included the Lexmark Point of Care Scanning for HIMSS Stage 7 solution, which allows professionals to capture clinical data at the point of care, automate document indexing and sorting processes and more to help healthcare providers achieve HIMSS 7 compliance. We also got our first look at two prescription-related solutions: the Tamper Resistant Prescription Printing solution and the Lexmark Pharmacy Order Assistant. The former enables healthcare providers to print prescriptions securely on ordinary office paper so they don’t have to stock costly pre-printed prescription pads and locking drawers or worry about keeping those documents secure, while the latter enables healthcare providers to leverage their Lexmark MFPs to process paper-based pharmacy orders.
Another interesting solution on display — albeit not for the first time — was the Patient Access Forms solution. This software modernizes the way healthcare providers collect their patients’ information. Doctors can make medical forms accessible to patients prior to their appointment or through a tablet at the reception desk. Doctor’s offices can compile multiple forms into a single e-form, collect digital signatures and integrate patient information into other healthcare systems. The solution can also manage input from scanners and MFPs. In turn, healthcare providers can eliminate mistakes associated with hard to read copied forms or poor handwriting, reduce patient wait times and reduce costs associated with printing and storing forms.
Ricoh took advantage of the HIMSS spotlight to debut its lineup of “innovations and expertise,” which aims to improve quality of care by making data more accessible and secure. At Ricoh’s booth, attendees could meet with Ricoh’s Consulting Services team, while the company also showcased some of its technology at the Intelligent Health Pavilion, of which they were a Platinum sponsor.
During the show, I was able to meet with Ron Nielson, VP of Services Sale Strategy, John Brindley, VP of Healthcare Services Strategy, and Partner Executive Laurie Eldridge, who make up the Ricoh’s Consulting Services team leadership. The trio discussed Ricoh’s Healthcare Administrative Solutions and consulting services, and how they are helping healthcare providers save money, improve patient satisfaction and optimize quality of care.
Eldridge discussed how healthcare providers can leverage Ricoh’s technology to digitize their order and registration management (among many other things). Ricoh’s Order Management technology enables patient intake staff to review patient documentation, reject and return incomplete documents, route information to where it’s needed next, and extract index information from a single interface. Meanwhile, healthcare organizations can leverage rules-based workflow to automate their order management, scheduling, pre-registration, insurance verification and collections processes. And thanks to their registration management capabilities, healthcare organizations ensure that all patients are fully registered and that all the required documentation is in place, the proper procedures are scheduled, and insurance authorization has been completed.
“Making data secure and accessible leads to exceptional healthcare,” said Brindley. “Ricoh developed secure, streamlined collaboration tools, and provides healthcare organizations with consultation services from industry experts, to help healthcare organizations be more efficient.”
At its booth, Konica Minolta was showing off its data management, interoperability, diagnostic imaging management and AI solutions. Konica Minolta is positioning their healthcare technology as a way to help healthcare providers reduce cost and improve quality of care, optimize workflows and provide iron-clad data security.
The company had a busy week at the podium, delivering six presentations on topics including precision medicine and AI, risk management and cybersecurity, imaging and real time analytics, end-to-end solutions, and interoperability.
At Brother’s booth, I met with David Fisher, senior product manager, who was showcasing the company's RuggedJet Series of wireless mobile printers and TrustSense smart technology.
“The RuggedJet Series is optimized for clinical healthcare and labeling applications,” said Fisher. “Now, healthcare professionals can print specimen collection and patient information labels from anywhere, whenever they need it.” Brother’s lineup of thermal printers can also be useful in the healthcare environment, according to Fisher. For instance, Brother’s TD-2130NHC powered by TrustSense smart technology can be used to print patient wristbands, as well as barcoded or medical labels on demand. This device leverages TrustSense smart media — durable, tamper resistant, and easy-to-load labels and wristbands — and automatically calibrates itself and identifies media size without any user intervention. In effect, Brother’s label and wristband printing solutions enable caregivers to access and print accurate, relevant information on demand, ultimately to improve the overall quality of care.
At Canon’s booth, I watched some product demos and caught up with Paul Albano, senior manager of integrated marketing, vertical market, and market intelligence, and Eric Kempton, manager of integrated solutions at Canon Solutions America. Canon displayed how their MFPs can dovetail with their own uniFLOW Scan solution, as well as with partner solutions like eCopy ShareScan, to help healthcare providers digitize, secure, and automate their manual, slow and error-prone paper-based processes.
Albano noted that on top of digitizing paper-based processes, Canon’s healthcare tech also focuses on providing healthcare professionals with secure access to print, while tracking print activity, reducing print and IT costs, and providing managers and IT professionals with increased visibility into data analysis.
Sony was a part of the Intelligent Health Pavilion, showing the applications for their 2D, 3D, 4K, and three-dimensional 4K video cameras, displays, recorders and printers. Notably, the company presented their UPA-WU10 wireless printing solution, which enables surgeons, ultrasound technicians, and other medical professionals that use specialized medical-imaging equipment, to print images without being bound by wires.
Typically, if healthcare professionals want to print images captured from specialized medical imaging devices, then those devices must be connected to a printer via USB cable. By removing wires from the equation and replacing them with a small device no larger than a USB drive, operating medical imaging devices is far less cumbersome. Sony officials also noted that without wires, medical professionals can move their printer to a location outside of the OR or examination room, which not only frees up space, but also cuts down on mechanical noise from other devices and reduces the risk of accidental contamination.
Sony also hosted a wonderful private dinner at the fabulous Canaletto Restaurant at the Venetian that BPO Media attended. There we were able to meet their top executives in the healthcare division and learn more about their go-to-market plans in the U.S.
Austin, Texas-based CynergisTek is a cybersecurity and privacy consulting firm that helps healthcare providers adapt to new and emerging threats and provides them with solutions to manage security, privacy and compliance for electronic and printed information. CynergisTek executives, including CEO and former Chair of HIMSS Security workgroup Mac McMillan, were joined by customers who discussed recent industry breaches, lawsuits, and other emerging issues, like HIPAA audits, threats, risk mitigation, vendor management, and print security.
The company led two presentations during HIMSS18: the first, “Attacking Your Own Network: A Lesson on Penetration Testing,” featured CynergisTek’s Vice President of Cybersecurity John Nye and Duke Health CIO Chuck Kesler; the second, “Research and the EHR: Process Improvement Through Integration,” featured UCLA Chief Medical Research Officer Arash Naeim, MD, PhD. In the former, Nye and Kessler spoke about the current cybersecurity threats that are threatening the healthcare industry, shared examples of when healthcare providers benefited from sound security processes, displayed the benefits of best practice and offensive security assessments, and explained why some healthcare organizations avoid penetration testing.
In the second presentation, Dr. Naeim outlined how to develop and implement a system to optimize workflows and the efficiency of clinical trial submission and management processes. Attendees heard about privacy and security considerations for integration with the IRB submissions system with CTMS and EHR platforms, plus how to strike the perfect balance of data accessibility and security.
Imprivata, a healthcare IT security company, showed off their innovative multifactor authentication solution, Confirm ID, and patient ID platform PatientSecure.
I got an up-close look at Confirm ID, which enables healthcare providers to centralize identification and multifactor authentication across all their workflows, medical devices, and medical platforms. The solution also enables healthcare organizations to limit which users can and cannot transact specific patient information and keeps track of who accessed what patient record, plus when and how. The solution can help customers achieve secure, remote access to sensitive data, so healthcare providers can be more productive without having to worry about breaches. Using two-factor authentication tools, sensitive data is protected, since an attacker would need to acquire both valid credentials plus a randomly generated code to access a system.
Another interesting solution on display was Imprivata’s PatientSecure software. The solution leverages biometric identification technology to create a 1:1 match between individual patients. The solution can recognize patients using palm-vein or iris biometric identification. So instead of relying on documents that can be faked or are easy to misinterpret, doctors can make sure patients are who they say they are and avoid cases of mistaken identity by using extremely unique, hard-to-duplicate data.
While visiting their booth, I also spoke with Dr. Sean Kelly, CMO at Imprivata and an ER doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, to talk about how e-prescribing can help fight the opioid crisis. Rather than relying on paper-prescriptions, which can easily be stolen or forged, doctors can securely prescribe commonly abused medications without the risk of fraud. In a time where Americans are battling one of the worst drug epidemics it has ever faced, controlling access to these substances has never been more important.
Imprivata wrapped up the event in style, inviting customers and special guests to the Omnia nightclub. Food, drink and music were on offer on the party deck overlooking the Las Vegas strip, which gave everyone the best view in the city. It was a great ending to a great conference.
The healthcare industry is evolving at the speed of technology, which is a very good thing for the human race (considering how fast technology is growing).
Each technological breakthrough will help healthcare providers deliver better care faster, at a lower cost, and more effectively. Whether it’s a way to make sure that healthcare providers can seamlessly pass information back and forth between different systems, or a way to protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands--when healthcare technology improves, we all win.
And when you consider that we’ve only just begun to figure out AI and machine learning — and how much that tech does for us already — it does beg the question: if this is what we can do today, what will we be doing tomorrow?