By Christine Kern, contributing writer
This year’s conference focuses on the patient, through healthcare analytics and collaboration.
HIMSS is calling 2017 the year of Precision Health, making it a major focus of this year’s HIMSS Annual Conference in Orlando, Feb. 19-22. This year’s sessions will focus on the patient through the use of healthcare analytics and collaboration, highlighting the customization of actions now possible through innovative technology.
For example, patients are now able to track their own discharge goals via technology, clinicians utilize touch-enabled devices to access patient information in real time, and predictive analytics are helping providers determine the likelihood of patients’ acquiring infections during hospital stays. These tools are enabling better care and reducing the chances of readmission.
In fact, many researchers are making precision health a priority this year. The Regenstrief Institute, a nonprofit associated with Indiana University, is investing heavily precision medicine in an effort to find a pathway to better care. Incoming CEO Peter Embi told Healthcare Informatics the group wants to help bring “impactful information to the right person at the right place at the right time based on molecular and personal information and their phenotype.”
Researchers at Dana Farber and the Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center are also working on precision medicine, releasing a study on the use of genetic testing to improve diagnosis and treatment options. The study discovered genetic markers in more than 200 tumors could help indicate the best drugs or therapies for treatment.
“Targeted therapies are likely to be most effective when they’re matched to specific abnormalities within tumor cells,” explains study co-author Susan Chi, M.D. “Our findings show precision medicine for pediatric brain tumors can now be a reality.”
A HIMSS blog notes, “By utilizing analytics and collaboration, leading healthcare systems are building IT infrastructures that approach treatment based on the uniqueness of the individual, improving patient engagement and satisfaction scores by putting the patient at the center of care, and collecting data outside of the hospital setting to give physicians access to real time information. This focus can lead to real change and ultimately better outcomes at lower costs.”
HIMSS 2017 includes sessions on health analytics, clinical genomics, and collaborative care, among other topics. In Meeting the Challenges of Precision Medicine, Enhancing Innovation and Mitigating Risks, scheduled for February 21 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. for example, a multi-disciplinary panel of medical, privacy and security, and legal experts will explore “the unique challenges of implementing innovative precision medicine initiatives.” The panelists will highlight innovations, identify risks and potential liabilities, describe the current state of regulatory enforcement, and help identify a blueprint for addressing issues of implementation. One particular challenge that will be addressed is how to promote patient engagement and trust by guaranteeing the privacy and security of patient data collected from multiple sources.