I recently attended the HIMSS17 conference on behalf of a client that operates a network of hospitals in California. The conference featured sessions and events to discuss key topics in the industry, such as policy, interoperability, precision medicine, medical device security, EHR strategy and value-based care.

As we departed from this Healthcare IT conference in Orlando, I was reminded why I am passionate about being a Healthcare IT professional. The following is a summary of what I took away from the event.

When it comes to technology, it’s all about patient outcomes

While thousands of vendors and expert technologists were discussing and showcasing their latest technology advances, I began to understand the value in renewing my focus not only on the advancements in technology but also in the improvement of point-of-care environments. While there are hundreds of available solutions on the market for clinicians, we must not lose touch of our central purpose in healthcare IT: patient care.

People receiving care can be experiencing the most trying or joyous moments of their life. How can we enhance this experience? Interactive patient technologies are flooding the marketplace and filled the HIMSS17 exhibit halls. All these vendors promise an increase in patient engagement and satisfaction, but as technology specialists in healthcare, we must recognize more technology isn’t always better. Walking booth to booth was like navigating the IT jungle we experience day in and day out. With so many options, we must determine the best combination of technology to not only improve the experience but lead to better outcomes.

We are not in this mission alone, we can work together to identify industry best practices. The more IT teams interact with the various stakeholders within the continuum of care, the more we can work toward the same goals. The IT department operating within a silo is a concept of the past. Healthcare IT professionals should proactively engage in understanding clinical and patient workflows and how the software and infrastructure impact lives. We must work closely with clinical, business and other operational teams to help make the health system works better for everyone. Only with a global organizational mindset, we can tackle critical aspects of care, such as patient flow within a hospital and patient transitions within the care continuum.

Connecting to the bigger cause

After hearing the various keynote speakers and engaging with multiple vendors, I was energized by the next wave of technology showcased. The innovations are exciting! However, before your organization considers purchasing the next shiny gadget to improve care delivery (i.e. patient and family kiosks, mobile wayfinding apps and integrated digital room signage), sometimes going back to the core is necessary to understand best next steps. What solutions improve care coordination between team members, simplify existing workflows to free up clinicians, and enable teams to focus more directly on patient care?

There are a multitude of resources available to efficiently enhance clinician workflows, which in turn, lead to positive patient experiences and more successful patient outcomes. When we make these technology decisions, it is important that we understand the interconnectivity of every discussion. And the reality of implementing the solutions can be a daunting task. It’s essential to have open organizational communication and identify specific pain points. A culture of open communication and awareness allows us to partner together with the appropriate technology and traverse through any perceived roadblocks.

The real joy and value in our work ultimately comes from positively impacting lives. This purpose is a strong driving force for my team. With aligned goals and connection to the bigger cause, it allows us to be productive, personally engaged and transparent to our clients. Beyond subject matter expertise and effective project management, we know that producing efficient technology solutions with positive attitudes can help reduce the noise of significant organizational change, which is inevitable in the ever-changing technology industry. Through a calm and upbeat demeanor, we can help bridge the communication gap and integrate the various contributors to care.

Starting from a place of inquisitive openness

When working with clients, like the Verity Health team I am pictured here with, my team at T2 Tech Group provides consulting expertise that connects technology to enhance patient care. We encourage healthcare providers to learn and understand the functionality and limitations of technology vendors. HIMSS17 was a great opportunity to not only see what is possible, but to question the status-quo and to practically analyze what is aligned to the ultimate mission of patient care. Challenges may appear daunting in the heat of the flame, but as all teams work together, technology can enhance both the clinician and patient’s healthcare experience.

With the closure of the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, we learned and collaborated with the many attendees and accessed perspective from various areas of expertise. It can be beneficial to enlist the help of experts or implement the newest technology, but we must remember the value of all teams collaborating transparently with a patient-centric purpose. This conference provided a reminder that technologists and those they serve must come together to adapt to new realities, make timely and informed decisions, and turn the massive amount of new developments into clear-cut solutions.