HIMSS 2012: Interoperability, Mobility, and New Innovations in Healthcare IT

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Feb 27, 2012

HIMSS 2012, one of the largest health information technology conferences in the United States, was held in Las Vegas last week where vendors showcased a variety of new hardware and software relating to the healthcare market. One of the biggest announcements during the conference was the new CDA standard approved by HL7, which addresses universal requirements for the conversion of unstructured, paper documents into files that can be distributed into EHR systems.

This was great news for vendors like Nuance, Canon, and Fujitsu, who demoed their solutions, MFPs, and scanners as being CDA compatible with the ability to seamlessly integrate documents into an organization’s EMR. Nuance’s eCopy ShareScan streamlines the scanning of paper documents to electronic documents using existing hardware. (Nuance also plans on incorporating clinical language understanding (CLU) into their capture software later this year). Canon MFPs were used to demonstrate the eCopy solution at their booth and at the Interoperability Showcase, where attendees could watch several live use case scenarios simulating healthcare environments and witness how standards-based transactions streamline clinical workflows regardless of device brand or software or service provider. Fujitsu and Inofile also showcased their new document imaging solution running on the ScanSnap device. The Inofile software is designed to help healthcare organizations reach Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements.

Mobile was a big theme at HIMSS this year. Lexmark previewed their new mobile workflows app, which allows users to customize mobile workflow solutions to help simplify business processes within the healthcare market and other industries. Users can create multiple workflows and run them all in one app, regardless of device or operating system, and share them other users who have the Lexmark app installed. Similar to the Interoperability Showcase, there was also a Mobile Health section. Numerous mobile service and solution providers demonstrated their mobile apps and/or software for organizations to create customizable, scalable apps and to enhance healthcare workflows. A few vendors included Kony, Bottomline Technologies, and iTriage.

Samsung announced a new partnership with Voalté, which played nicely into the mobile aspect of the exhibition. Voalté is a communication solution that combines VoIP, configurable alarm management, and secure text messaging for nurses, doctors and staff meant to improve response time for patients all through the use of a Samsung smartphone device.

Some additional innovative technologies for the healthcare market included Microsoft’s use of their Kinect device for a patient’s rehabilitative period, where exercises are performed using the Kinect motion sensor and a patient’s progress is recorded and sent back to the doctor to monitor and review. Microsoft is working with InterKnowlogy to provide this type of remote patient-doctor care. Panasonic showcased their medical grade full HD monitors, which allows for simultaneous viewing of multiple images and vital stats during surgical operations, and videos can be shared across hospitals. Many vendors also displayed electronic whiteboards, tablets, and HD visual projectors, like HP, Microsoft, and Panasonic.

HIMSS 2012 showed a lot of promise within the healthcare market for organizations to achieve Meaningful Use status and go from paper to electronic at a much faster rate. In such a paper-intensive industry, the ability to scan unstructured documents into an organization’s EMR system is crucial, and vendors who are able to streamline this process without completely changing an organization’s existing infrastructure will be most successful. Mobile continues to be an exciting and evolving area for all industries, and integrating mobility into the healthcare market offers faster patient care, easier access to data, and streamlined management of information. We already see some vendors partnering with new, smaller ISVs or expanding on existing relationships to provide mobile capabilities and offer a broader mobile experience within healthcare organizations. As this trend continues to grow and develop, vendors should stay on top of how mobility and new technologies are improving workflows, contributing to Meaningful Use status, and optimizing the patient-doctor experience within this market.

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