The Edaptive team spent the majority of last week in Las Vegas, NV. We swear it was a business trip, not a vacation (although we did visit the Hoover Dam).
Why was the team in Sin City? Well, it had little to do with “sin” and much more to do with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) annual conference and exhibition.
Every year, this event highlights the IT solutions and technologies that are revolutionizing the way the healthcare industry operates and the way care is delivered to patients. And this year was no exception.
The truth is, healthcare technologies are evolving just as fast, if not faster, than technologies in any other market. And all of the hottest technologies that are finding a place in enterprises and government agencies across the country are being adapted and integrated into healthcare applications to make the healthcare system more effective and efficient.
In fact, the two solutions receiving the most buzz at HIMSS 2012 were healthcare implementations of familiar technologies that you may have heard of in the past: video teleconferencing (VTC) and cloud solutions. Both of these solutions are taking advantage of today’s advanced broadband networks to make healthcare better.
The healthcare implementations of VTC solutions, which are often referred to as telehealth or telemedicine solutions, are truly revolutionary. Currently, doctors and specialists are handcuffed by geographic and logistical constraints. Patients need to come to offices for check-ups, and only so many appointments can occur in one day due to limitations, such as number of examination rooms and the time needed to see every patient.
Telemedicine solutions eliminate those restrictions and limitations. By visiting doctors via VTC, patients that may be too far from doctors or specialists, such as those in rural areas, can have access to care. Also, doctors can see more patients from an expanded geographic area.
One particular telemedicine solution really caught our eye at HIMSS. This particular technology was a “pod” that patients could enter and receive a video examination from a doctor. Instruments within the “pod” could be used to provide data and information for the doctor, such as temperature, which could be used in the diagnosis.
Overall, these solutions are taking the traditional experience of visiting the doctor and moving it online. This is helping to provide access to doctors and specialists to everyone, regardless of where they are. However, it’s not the only big technology getting a lot of hype at HIMSS.
Cloud solutions, or more specifically, electronic health records, were another major trend that we heard about extensively at HIMSS. Ultimately, cloud services are simply those that are stored off of the network and available online. By moving health records away from paper files and towards electronic files that are stored centrally, patient records and histories become much more complete and accessible.
In the past, patients that switched doctors or healthcare services would have to request their paper health records and patient histories be sent to their new provider. By making these records digital and hosting them centrally, all doctors can access a complete patient history and records for a patient from anywhere.
This ensures that important information, such as past medical incidents, allergies and other important information about a patient is available at any time and in any place. Should a patient suffer an accident and need to be rushed to a hospital while out of state, a full history and information such as allergies to medications can be discovered quickly and efficiently.
HIMSS was a great conference in that it truly showed us what technology is and can be doing for the healthcare industry both today and into the future. By moving traditional healthcare practices and procedures online, we’re making for a better, more effective and efficient healthcare system while providing access to care to more Americans.