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Our Biggest Takeaways from HIMSS 2018


Certain trendy technologies dominated the conversation, but good-old analytics still have the power to impress.

After a long and exciting week at HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Healthcare Analytics News™ team looked back on the dominant themes they observed at the meeting.

And remember—just because the meeting’s over doesn’t mean it’s over. Stay tuned in the days to come for more stories and videos about the very best of HIMSS18.

What was your biggest takeaway from HIMSS 2018?

Ryan Black: I interviewed about 30 people on camera—startups heads, venture capitalists, academics, and doctors. I think that the big takeaway was that there actually is very little consensus about the role that new technologies can play in healthcare.

There's a pretty wide chasm between those who think things like AI, blockchain, and machine learning are going to have a fundamental change in the industry, and those who think they're pure hype and just buzzwords. It was kind of interesting to try and document that that dichotomy there.

The people who really see huge potential think that the time will come 5, 10 years from now where we’re going to be saying “What would we do in healthcare without this tech?” and the others say, “Show me the proof.”

Tom Castles: Like Ryan said, I'm hearing quite a bit about blockchain, and then in the same vein a lot of people are worried about use cases that prove its worth. There seems to be a very high ceiling for promises but a pretty low bar for actual delivery.

I attended a session today that was a very well-attended, and everyone was interested to hear more about good use cases for it. The session didn't really deliver on that, but people are still excited they're looking forward to the future and trying to figure out how they might implement this.

Jack Murtha: I was really struck by some of these advanced analytics partnerships I saw, plenty of jaw-dropping results in mass. It wasn't just one company here there it was happening all over the place so that really got me thinking you know are we seeing some even greater evolution in analytics?

I was talking to SAP Health and what they've done with their AI, helping Mercy Health System in St. Louis improve their nursing schedules. They've managed to save $4.3 million dollars. It's impressive.

Sum up this meeting in 4 or 5 words:

Tom Castles: Block, chain, block, chain…or blockchain, blockchain, blockchain, let's say.

Ryan Black: Hectic, noisy, interesting, informative…and tired.

Jack Murtha: I'll go with AI, NLP, machine learning, and I’ll throw in some DL there too. The whole AI family.

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