Could HIMSS19 Signal a Shift in Focus to Patient Experience (finally)?

With HIMSS19 on the horizon, the team of data scientists and industry experts at W2O once again went deep on HIMSS-specific data and insights related to emerging topics of interest, leading voices and predictions for the big event. These insights can help your team better prepare smart, actionable and measurable communications and marketing strategies leading into-, at- and post-HIMSS19.

Predictions for HIMSS19

As far as predictions for HIMSS19, experts have an array of opinions regarding what the trending issues of discussion at the conference will be. Jennifer Bresnick with Xtelligent Healthcare Media mentioned that much of the focus has been and will continue to be on patient experience and meeting the expectations of consumers, but that she also expects artificial intelligence (AI) to be a critical conversation. At HIMSS, Jennifer said she’ll be “interested to see how the big, established companies will stand their ground against a new onslaught of AI-native startups.”

John Lynn, founder of, thinks cloud-related issues will be top of mind this year at HIMSS. According to John, “there’s a massive land grab happening with big IT companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and DellEMC to just name a few that will be leading the discussion around the cloud – public vs private clouds, managing multi-clouds, and hybrid clouds.” David Chou of Constellation Research also mentioned specific interest in big tech at HIMSS19: “I would like to see a major tech company buy a hospital or a large ambulatory practice to transform the operation. It is very tough to become a digital enterprise when you approach it with a traditional healthcare mentality.”  In addition, Jessica DaMassa of WTF.Health had thoughts to add regarding big tech expectations at HIMSS: “I predict everyone will be talking about who’s NOT talking. Where is Atul Gawande? Do they really have anything? It will be interesting to see if Verily, Apple, and others of the ‘consumer tech club’ pounce on this opportunity to fill this silence from the Buffett, Bezos and Dimon venture.”

Other experts added predictions on more consumer-focused trends at HIMSS. Dr. Nick van Terheyden of Incremental Healthcare thinks sleep as a health issue will be prevalent: “The emerging issue of health that has long failed to be addressed is that of sleep. Sleep is not just one of the pillars of health but rather the foundation of health. Expect to see companies surface that are focused on diagnosing sleep problems and offering new and innovative ways to manage and treat sleep disorders.” Finally, Nick Dougherty of Mass Challenge Health Tech  believes the intersection of the consumer and their data will be notable and provide new, impactful opportunities to drive care and cost improvements: “With the convergence of driving more care to the home and consumer tech companies getting into health, there is a massive data opportunity. How do we take data generated at home (through traditional consumer channels) and apply it effectively to improve care (through traditional healthcare channels)?”

Data-driven Insights for HIMSS19

Building on our findings from 2018, our team took a look at the key topics and top voices that are most prevalent leading into the conference.

What topics are being talked about leading up to HIMSS19?

  • Patient experience as a topic increased 191% from HIMSS18. All signs point to this being a transformative and top line theme and topic of discussion in media and in social at HIMSS and in 2019 at large.
  • Big data and analytics mentions increased over 200% in comparison to HIMSS18. Not shocking considering the massive opportunities big data and analytics can provide, ranging from cost savings to the actual saving of lives – as well as strong presence of major tech vendors (Google Cloud amongst others) that are looking to spark data-driven change that benefits consumers and industry alike.
  • Interoperability and related challenges remain a major focus. Clearly, massive obstacles remain as data sharing and access continue to be a pain point from patient to provider to payer and beyond. All signs point to big news around this topic from CMS, ONC and vendors alike.
  • Privacy and security are areas of focus as healthcare players grapple with how best to safely balance the need for more collaboration and access. In fact, the #security and #privacy hashtags are being used more leading into HIMSS19 vs. HIMSS18.
  • Artificial intelligence was a major topic leading up to HIMSS19, and “machine learning” was among the top five most common two-word terms. #ML, #artificialintelligence, and #machinelearning also saw substantial increases from HIMSS18.
  • Top 5 trending hashtags leading into HIMSS19: #healthcare, #healthIT, #hcldr, #ai and #healthtech.

What leaders are driving conversation leading into HIMSS19?

  • Many of the top-mentioned accounts leading up to HIMSS19 are veterans from the 2017-2018 HIMSS conversation. Former stars @RasuShrestha, @healthitnews, @WareFLO, and @innonurse continue to be conversation-drivers.
  • Several of the most often-mentioned accounts are newcomers to the top 10 list, including healthcare industry influencers @evankirstel and @irmaraste.
  • Health industry stakeholders (vendors, analysts, consultants, etc.) dominated the conversation, accounting for 60% of posts, while healthcare providers (both MDs and non-MDs, based in the US or elsewhere) are greatly overshadowed, constituting only 25% of total posts.
  • Top media voices as follows:

As you prepare last minute details for HIMSS19, it’s important to consider the topics, trends and people that are driving critical conversations related to the conference. We look forward to seeing #healthtech friendly faces in Orlando – and stay tuned for our post-HIMSS analysis where we expect patient experience in healthcare to be a macro theme.

Research and contributions for this post were provided by Lauren Walter, Research Manager at W2O.

For more HIMSS19 insights from leaders at the intersection of healthcare and technology, check out our What2Know podcasts with Steve Wretling, HIMSS CTIO and Dan Trigub, Uber Health Head of Business Development.

Katie McGraw
Katie McGraw

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