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February 18, 2019

What You Need to Know From HIMSS19

It’s the Super Bowl of Health IT.

No other healthcare conference quite compares to the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, hosted this year in Orlando. With more than 50,000 attendees, the massive event is the perfect opportunity to network, strategize and learn more about trends within the industry.

Among the top points of conversation this year? The need for the healthcare industry to embrace data exchange, interoperability and patient engagement as healthcare consumers and regulators expect more from providers.

Interoperability remains a challenge for the healthcare industry

Nearly 10 years after the federal government introduced its Meaningful Use program to encourage provider adoption of electronic health records and data sharing, true interoperability remains limited, as members of HIMSS’ opening keynote panel noted.

To that end, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is moving forward with newly proposed rules designed to give patients better access to their own data – and limit information blocking. At HIMSS19, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said healthcare systems need to have data sharing and notification capabilities to enable better care coordination, and these new rules will be enforced as a condition of Medicare participation.

These moves show that healthcare vendors and providers need to get serious about interoperability, though the vision of true interoperability – where patient records easily follow patients wherever they receive care – may still be years off.   

Healthcare consumerism is changing patient expectations

If conversations on the show floor are any indication, the industry is starting to realize that most providers are really small to mid-sized businesses, and to stay competitive and retain patients, they need to adopt business techniques that match changing patient expectations. Particularly for millennials, who now measure as the largest generation in U.S. history.

Millennials grew up with phones in their hands. These consumers expect the same level of on-the-go service from their doctors that they receive from their banks or favorite retailers. Especially as they are expected to pay for a larger share of their healthcare costs in the form of higher deductibles and rising premiums.

With their dollars and feet, these consumers are demanding the convenience to fill out information from their phones, schedule their appointments online, securely text their providers questions about their care and more. Using technology, providers have an opportunity to better engage these patients for an enhanced customer experience while generating patient loyalty.

Telehealth’s growing role in patient engagement

At HIMSS19, the Department of Veterans Affairs – which runs the nation’s largest telemedicine program – announced it conducted a record 1 million video telehealth encounters in 2018. The VA has expanded its telemedicine program in recent years to meet the growing needs of its patients, who often suffer chronic conditions or live in rural areas without convenient facilities nearby.

In fact, the VA’s announcement joined a wave of sessions and product announcements tied to out-of-hospital telehealth solutions as the industry works to adopt live video into care plans – and figure out how to get reimbursed for it.  

To meet consumer and provider demand for live engagement and telehealth solutions, Updox was proud to offer HIMSS19 attendees a first glimpse of Updox Video Chat, nation’s first HIPAA-compliant video telehealth solution built specifically for outpatient providers.

As payers continue to transition to a value-based care model, Video Chat is a convenient way to offer telehealth services for patients in between visits, improving patient experience and reducing the cost of care. The potential applications of Video Chat are numerous, including care coordination consultations, patient adherence checks, chronic care management activities and more.

Updox Video Chat is now included in the Updox Engagement suite that meets patients where they are – on their phones. Updox Video Chat extends the capability of Secure Text so that healthcare provides can talk directly with patients while remaining HIPAA

To learn more about Video Chat, or to review real-life examples of how it can be used in practice, request a demo with our team.

Topics: Pharmacy, Physicians, Blog, communication, supply-chain, productivity, health-systems, post-acute-care, engagement