Last week, forty thousand health IT professionals arrived in Orlando for the HIMSS (Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society) annual meeting, the biggest health informatics event of the year.
Photo by Philips
As first-time exhibitors, we arrived with three goals:
1. Present Agathos to our de facto universe for the first time
2. Meet with customers and partners
3. Learn as much as possible about our market, its leaders, and the needs and goals of the customers we collectively serve
The sheer scale of HIMSS was palpable. Upon entering the convention center, I felt like Mr. Smith in Washington. The further I walked the halls, the larger and more elaborate the displays became. It was inspiring, humbling, and even intimidating to see so many companies—many familiar, many that I had never heard of—selling their solutions to help increase the quality and efficiency of healthcare.
It was particularly rewarding to meet professionals in provider analytics and hospital performance. Health Catalyst data scientists introduced open source tools to democratize machine learning and predictive analytics. Stanson Health shared its focus on more cost-effective and personalized clinical decision support. Premier released a new suite of provider-facing tools for MACRA monitoring and population health. Too many others to count.
There were also encouraging industry trends on display. EHR giants actively courted startups and stand-alone applications to integrate into their platforms and marketplaces. Deep analytics continue to be a growing focus. Far from protectionism, industry leaders welcomed new solutions such as Agathos. And the definitive opportunity by which Agathos was founded—that quality and costs can be aligned, and that transparency can get us there—was conclusively validated.
Amidst an ocean of solutions, the gaps were obvious as well. In particular, we could not find solutions focused on proactive physician engagement. For the most part, health analytics engaged physicians as powerful pawns, not as authors and partners in the shift toward value.
There is an opportunity here. The HIT industry has built products for administrators, and for understandable reasons. Proactive physician engagement is challenging. Many physicians do not trust quality and value metrics. Many believe that analytics add minimal value to their workflow, and that top-down performance measures invariably miss critical nuances of their care. And in many respects, these physicians are correct.
Physicians are in best position to contribute to the future of value-based care, which begins with building useful and trustworthy products for physician engagement. This will not be easy—evidenced by the market gaps—but it is vitally important.