Blog HIMSS 2021 Takeaways: Healthcare, Cybersecurity and Interoperability

HIMSS 2021 Takeaways: Healthcare, Cybersecurity and Interoperability

HIMSS 2021 Takeaways: Healthcare, Cybersecurity and Interoperability

Close up stethoscope and doctor talking the patient at clinic while using the tablet explaining the patient condition and the treatment result.

Team DataMotion recently attended the 2021 HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 9th-13th. While we did not host a booth this year, some of our team represented our company as attendees, and we wanted to hear about their experience. We sat down with Doug Rubino, Business Development Director, Healthcare to discuss the overall event, Doug’s takeaways, and what is in store for the industry.

Q: Doug, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Could you give us a sense of some of the overall discussion topics at the conference?

Doug Rubino: I had the opportunity to speak with quite a few attendees and in general, there were some interesting conversations. One of the more-discussed topics was the weather—it was HOT in Vegas! Other points of general discussion were, as you can imagine, COVID-19, the delta variant, and the impact on this year’s event. But industry-wise, some of the more common discussion themes throughout the week focused on telehealth, remote patient monitoring, population health and care management in areas pertaining to at-risk communities, and public health. There was also much discussion around the use of artificial intelligence within healthcare.

Q: Could you tell us a little about some of the challenges that organizations are facing?

DR: One challenge is the enablement of public health organizations and other community-based organizations to securely exchange PHI and other sensitive clinical information amongst stakeholders within the healthcare ecosystem. These stakeholders include health systems, health plans, and other ancillary provider organizations, among others. Community-based organizations, which exist to support those most at risk in our society, often do not have the technology in place to support interoperability.  Finally, from a business standpoint, there is a real lack of business-related processes and internal workflows to support initiatives such as closed-loop referrals.

Q: Were there any challenges cited that were specific to cybersecurity?

DR: Yes, indeed. Based on my conversations and from what I heard at the sessions, many (if not all) healthcare organizations seem to be operating at an increased level of awareness regarding cybersecurity threats to their infrastructure. This concern also extends to ransomware attacks, especially in light of some of the recent news stories.

Another security-related challenge that came up at HIMSS 2021 was the common issue around legacy systems. In addition to the outdated hardware and software, many organizations have a marked lack of internal expertise and knowledge of internal network schematics and topology. This, essentially, boils down to a general failure to understand where system vulnerabilities exist, which ultimately leads to the inability to anticipate and identify cybersecurity threats, and to prevent an attack.

To mitigate the risks of cybersecurity threats across a healthcare organization, it’s essential to fortify vulnerable endpoints. Here at DataMotion, our library of APIs is intended to do just that, ensuring a seamless flow of sensitive data into and out of an organization to ensure its privacy and confidentiality. We operate through verifiable compliance, multi-cloud design and low-code technology, making it easy to integrate into a workflow while adding an extra layer of security.

Q: From challenge springs innovation. What kind of new ideas are making their way into the space?

DR: There are some exciting new concepts and developments in this area! To name a few, the use of artificial intelligence for patient flow and medical coding, ambient clinical intelligence, the automation of clinical documentation, and some of the advances being made with respect to prior authorizations.

Q: We saw your event agenda, and it was packed with some interesting-sounding sessions! Could you tell us a little about one of the sessions, and some of your key takeaways?

DR: During “Keynote: Healthcare Cybersecurity Resilience in the Face of Adversity” the speaker had a great point when discussing cybersecurity. He stated that too many organizations do not have a complete picture of how their information systems are connected. In order to effectively secure an environment, an organization must have a complete picture of its network schematic across the entire enterprise to properly secure all endpoints. This really spoke to what we do at DataMotion, making these connections to keep data and documents secure, and how increasingly important services like ours are to the healthcare ecosystem.

Q: What were some of the other, overall topics and what developments do you see coming in those areas?

DR: In general, there was a lot of discussion around social determinants of health and incorporating public health into the general healthcare ecosystem. I anticipate there will be an increased focus on enabling the interoperability of organizations operating in and servicing the public health space. For example, linking community-based organizations to the greater healthcare ecosystem.

Q: Doug, thanks for your time and sharing your takeaways from HIMSS 2021. It sounds like this was a productive event!

DR: It really was! HIMSS is an outstanding, informative conference, and it always gives a great sense of what is coming down the road for the industry. I’m looking forward to HIMSS ‘22!

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