CHICAGO — On Day 1 of the inaugural event for HX360, the newly formed enterprise developed by HIMSS and AVIA, health IT leaders convened to share insight on how to improve care delivery through next-generation technologies. Collocated with the HIMSS15 Annual Conference, the event focused specifically on health tools meant to advance initiatives, such as provider efficiencies and clinical workflow, patient experience, care coordination and more.

Speakers’ presentations were wide-ranging, from how their organizations transitioned from outdated IT systems to modern ones, to their experiences with incorporating Shark Tank-like idea incubators in-house to the possibilities and challenges of interpreting and sharing big data analytics. However, certain sentiments held true throughout, such as the urgency of establishing an industrywide culture of cooperation.

For example, wide-scale, big data adoption is stalled more by the failure of health leaders and politicians to sufficiently prioritize it than by technical limitations, said panelist Gurjeet Singh, CEO of Ayasdi, during the data-related panel discussion called Amazing Analytics.

Though the potential gains of integrating data into care are impressive — especially when it comes to managing population health — pooling data requires secure methodologies that enable sharing of information from one organization to another without compromising privacy, an effort that can be intimidating.

Singh said that the issue is far from insurmountable.

“Technology is an issue, but it’s a solvable issue,” he explained. “[The real issue] is whether people have the will to make it happen or not.”

Similarly, Chad Eckes, vice president and CIO of Wake Forest Baptist Medical, imagined an IT environment devoid of silos of capacity. Wake Forest has been focusing on rebooting its IT infrastructure, focusing on building tools that “hover around the EHR, but allow us to bridge in the social aspects of patient care,” Eckes says — namely, personalizing care to a patient’s lifestyle via analytics.

Both Eckes and Amazing Analytics panelist Aenor Sawyer, M.D., director of strategic relations at UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation, homed in on the importance of carving out space in an organization’s financial plan for innovation.

“Put a line item in your budget for innovation,” Sawyer urged attendees. “It costs money and it’s just as important as everything else.”