Nothing New at HIMSS?

Another year, another HIMSS. What’s new, what’s changed? First, what is not new: Meaningful Use. I didn’t hear that much about it. Sure, there were lectures, sessions and a couple vendors expounding their virtues as the first ones through the testing process, but MU is clearly table stakes now. Vendors have gotta have it; hospitals have to, too, not much to debate there. Get it done, everyone.

And what’s new? If you compare one year’s HIMSS to the one right before it, you almost always say “not much.” You must take a longer view to see what has changed. For one, I am hearing people talk about records not transactions: We need to talk through the details now, and build momentum to better, easier of ways communicating between providers. The old way of sharing using HL7 v2 transactions is not effective. HL7 just wasn’t designed for sharing across coopetitors. It was primarily for communicating between departmental systems and a facility’s HIS within a provider’s four walls. Come to think of it, who talks about a thing called an “HIS” anymore? EHRs, EHRs, EHRs.

Now we are talking about sharing content between EHRs using structured documents. That’s a big change. Take note of it. I’m excited to see where the conversation is going now, and think we’re making a great step forward toward improving care delivery.