As the largest healthcare technology event of the year, the annual HIMSS Conference is an opportunity for healthcare CIOs and IT professionals to share what’s really on their minds when it comes to their technology infrastructures, pain points, and opportunities.

At this year’s conference in Orlando, the number one topic of conversation that I heard from attendees was about digital transformation. Why? Because a top trend at the event was engaging the patient using data.

This is important for healthcare CIOs to think about because it’s time for healthcare technology to start delivering on the promise of improving patient care, and that means engaging the patient in their own health and providing a personalized experience. Personalized medicine is about treating the patient as an individual, rather than one of many, and the way to get there is through managed data analytics. Only after data is obtained, secured and aggregated can engagement take place.

In fact, you could say that the overarching theme of the conference was centered on data analytics. In my view, the primary question that healthcare CIOs should be asking themselves is, “how can the healthcare industry embrace data analytics to improve patient outcomes and reduce cost?”

Here are three key takeaways from HIMSS 2017 that help answer this very important question:

  1. Focus on Interoperability: After years of investing in disparate technology, healthcare CIOs now realize they need solutions for tying them all together. This is the beginning step toward improving outcomes because if you can’t manage the process and get a one true view of the patient, the process breaks down. Interoperability, when designed correctly, enables data aggregates throughout the health delivery network, puts that data at the fingertips of the clinicians at the right time to impact care, and keeps patients out of the emergency room.
  1. Surround Yourself with Security: There’s only one way to earn patient trust when it comes to their data: keep it safe and secure. Any security breach of this role will greatly hamper the ability of a healthcare organization to truly engage patients.  Like in the banking industry, a healthcare data breach inflicts years of pain on patients and erodes trust.
  1. Keep an Eye on Cost: Better patient care at lower cost is viable. It takes coordination and good partners to get there, but it is possible. The best chance for success lies with connecting with solution providers that can tie the services together efficiently and affordably. As a multi-faceted organization, the value that CenturyLink brings to the table is the ability to be an overarching foundation partner that can oversee the integration, aggregation and management of data, keep the data secure and effectively service the entire ecosystem.

At the end of the day, digital transformation is happening in healthcare. By focusing on interoperability, security and cost reduction, healthcare CIOs can leapfrog into the future and set up their organizations for success, and ultimately provide better patient outcomes.

What topic areas did you learn about at HIMSS?

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