CHICAGO — That’s a wrap!
It’s been a long week here in Chicago, starting Sunday with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' spring forum and then four days of nonstop educational sessions and meetings at the mammoth HIMSS15 Annual Conference and Exhibition. According to my Fitbit, I racked up more than 55,000 steps, covering 25 miles. Phew!
And it has been an eventful week. IBM unveiled Watson Health Cloud and announced new partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Interoperability was on everyone’s mind, including federal officials who declared that it is time pick up the pace and cautioned vendors and providers against blocking progress on that front.
Looking beyond some of those headline-grabbing issues, a couple of other things caught my attention this year:
Phishing, anyone? The rash of data breaches in all sectors of the economy has elevated cybersecurity to a priority issue. A top concern: elaborate spear phishing schemes. Speaking at CHIME’s meeting, Patricia Skarulis, senior vice president of information systems and CIO at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said that her team has developed a comprehensive program to test if employees are opening bogus emails and thus putting the network at risk. Those who do are given extra training.
“Remember the good old days when you were just worried about that email from Nigeria,” she said.
The University of West Virginia United Health System has adopted a role-based system for access to the network, Assistant Vice President and Assistant CIO Mark Combs told me. That means staff are given access to just enough of the IT system to do their jobs.
“We give information within the workflow,” he says.
The health system also adopted an audit program that tracks access to various applications and churns out real-time reports so an IT security team can flag any questionable behavior.
Actionable data: There was a lot of chatter at this year’s show about data and data analytics. But what I found most interesting were the cases where people could show direct improvements in patient care. Joan Rimar, R.N., of Yale New Haven Health System, showed me in detail how they are using a tool to improve the process of identifying patients with deteriorating conditions and to prioritize workflow.
Developed by PeraHealth, the Rothman Index pulls data from the electronic health record and provides clinicians with a composite score of how patients are faring. Nurse SWAT teams use the data to determine their workflow, ensuring that they get to the most needy patients first. One nursing unit reduced mortality by nearly 50 percent by using the tool, Rimar says.
That’s certainly not all we picked up at HIMSS15. For our complete coverage, click here. And we’ll have more in the weeks and months ahead as we comb through out notebooks.
Before you head off for the weekend though, my colleagues Marty Stempniak and Paul Barr took time to gather some of the sights and sounds of the exhibit floor. Enjoy: