healthcare maze



The HIMSS14 conference in Orlando had many themes and trends, most having to do with the evolution of electronic health records, analytics, mobile and other technologies being buoyed by Meaningful Use incentives or other financial considerations. But Patient Engagement has emerged as a strong current rushing through the educational sessions and exhibit floor. The first Consumer and Patient Engagement Pre-Conference Symposiumkicked things off with plenty of thought-provoking presentations including the voice of the patient, a caregiver panel, provider viewpoint, discussion of culture and behavior change and how to design systems and processes which are truly patient-centered.

On the first day of the conference, the keynote by Aetna CEO  Mark Bertolini, talked about the maze healthcare has created for patients and what needs to change including:

  • Enable customers to take control of their healthcare through connected, digital tools,
  • Patients need to see healthcare service as an investment in their health and financial security,
  • investment in wellness and better management of chronic disease.

The Office of the National Coordinator, represented by Karen DeSalvo, MD  referred to patient engagement as a major aspect of Meaningful Use and although she discussed some flexibility for providers, is making patient engagement as a key theme going forward. Also, the announcement of the Blue Button Connector was significant in helping patients find and download their data.


Several education sessions focused on patient engagement including:

On the exhibit floor, many industry displays were talking about patient engagement including EHR vendors, mobile developers and analytics products focused on population health. The Interoperability Showcase also demonstrated patient engagement, especially through the Health Story Project.


A new presence on the exhibit floor was the Connected Patient Learning Gallery which included interactive kiosks on:

  • Health Management ― featuring patient portal technologies
  • Wellness Social & Behavioral ― featuring fitness, weight management, social communities technologies
  • Financial Health ― featuring health banking and healthcare payments technologies
  • Home Health ― featuring at-home and telemedicine solutions technologies.

The Gallery also included a 30-seat theater which presented 20 half-hour sessions on topics ranging from Blue Button, Patient Generated Health Data, Social Media in partnership with the Society of Participatory Medicine and vendor sponsors. At the Gallery we also featured a reception hosted by the Connected Patient Community and sponsored by PwC. The first HIMSS Wellness Challenge and the book Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement which was the 2014 HIMSS Book of the Year was featured throughout the learning gallery. A new book was revealed at HIMSS14: Applying Social Media Technologies in Healthcare.

Where were the patients at HIMSS14? – everywhere. They presented in the pre-conference symposium, the Connected Patient Learning Gallery, the Interoperability Showcase and at several vendor exhibits. At the Gallery, a presentation by Regina Holliday ended with a photo op of members of The Walking Gallery for Healthcare.


So while Patient Engagement was not the title of a keynote, it is clear that everyone was talking about it at HIMSS14. Going forward, providing tools and resources, webinars and meetings focused on patient engagement will continue to be a major focus of the Connected Patient Committee and theme for HIMSS throughout 2014.


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