HIMSS19: Three Key Takeaways


February 25, 2019

Congrats on surviving another HIMSS conference! We know the show is a bit overwhelming so we thought we'd help out by putting together a quick review on the hot topics. Whether it be a continuum of care, patient population, or interoperability, there's always one buzzword that stands above the rest. In the case of HIMSS19, we actually came across three: Patient Engagement, Data Blocking, and FHIR.  Here's the break down:

Patient Engagement

Simply put, patient engagement is the practice of communicating about and involving patients in their own healthcare.

Why is it important?

The general thought is that patient engagement leads to several benefits. Of course, there's the direct benefit of improved HCAHPS, but also the indirect benefit of reducing readmissions. Patients who are engaged in their own care are more likely to bring potential health issues to their nurse or physician's attention. This is similar to the same impact improved care team collaboration has on patient outcomes. Often times both can be facilitated through communication technologies like secure texting.QliqSOFT is the trusted provider of secure texting solution in the healthcare industry.  Not only that, during HIMSS19 we announced the launch of our new Chronic Care Management solution that will help patients report changes in their chronic conditions directly through the Qliq mobile app.

Data Blocking

What is it? The Department of Health and Human Services made public that Monday of HIMSS proposed a rule that would make patient data the property of the patients themselves. Included in the rule proposals was the outlining of hefty fines associated with the practice of blocking data. Limited exceptions to the rule where it was permissible for organizations to withhold data were spelled out as well.

Why is it important?

The proposed rule impacts healthcare organizations of every size and level of service. Should the rule pass, it would require providers, and even payers to provide means for patients to easily access their information in ways that are not readily available. This will hopefully provide more than a bandaid to the poorly implemented stopgap provided by patient portals and Meaningful Use.


What is it? FHIR or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources is a data format used to exchange data between healthcare applications and electronic health records.  

Why is it important?

FHIR is a lighter, easier to use replacement for the much bemoaned HL7 data format that has been relied upon since the late 1980s. FHIR has been around for several years as well but finally seems to be ready for prime time, both from a vendor standpoint as well as for providers. As much as interoperability gets thrown around the HIMSS exhibit hall, it may very well be FHIR that holds the key. QliqSOFT's secure texting platform includes built-in HL7-to-FHIR converter that can easily provide a bridge for the various EHRs on the market.

Where should you place your priorities?

Often it’s difficult to choose where your organization should focus its efforts. It is our opinion, as well as that of many industry leaders that patient engagement is the key to success in multiple Health IT areas. Engaged patients lead to numerous wins for both your IT department and your clinical colleagues. 2019 should be the year that it takes hold so that HIMSS20 will be an occasion where you can share your success stories with over 40,000 peers.

The Author
Ben Henson

A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.

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