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Islands and clouds were top of mind for Neil Jordan at HIMSS15 this yearPrior to attending HIMSS15, I was honeymooning in the Maldives. What do the two have in common? Islands.

There were a number of great announcements, demonstrations, and educational tracks during HIMSS that showed the move toward more openness and interoperability in health IT, such as those fromAllscripts, GE, and Sláinte Healthcare. And I saw broader acceptance of FHIR, which is an emerging standard for exchanging electronic health information from Health Level Seven International (HL7).

But still, I felt a sense of déjà vu. As on my honeymoon, I saw a number of islands. The Maldives are made up of 1190 islands, and the reality is each one in itself is wonderful, but each is under threat because the islands aren’t connected well enough to each other. Sometimes health IT feels that way to me.

We’re getting there, but we still have a way to go when it comes to connecting technologies. I’d also like to see some of the smaller islands get more attention. Each year at HIMSS there’s an aisle for new exhibitors. These are typically smaller booths toward the back of the exhibition hall. And they are also where you’ll find some of the best ideas at the show.

We need more bridges and fewer islands. I’d like to see the big islands, like the incumbent EMR vendors, and the little islands all working together better. And ultimately, I’d like it to not be about the islands at all.

In other words, what if HIMSS-and more importantly our industry-were oriented around the core constituents that need to be served in health: patients, doctors, payers? And what if in each constituent area there were a number of technology vendors-some of whom were previously sworn enemies-that had found a way to be at ease with each other and enable their technologies to interoperate seamlessly?

Or, what would it look like if Microsoft and Amazon Web Services and Google were all standing side-by-side talking about the importance of trustworthiness and hyper scale in the cloud?

Speaking of the cloud, I was thrilled to see how far we’ve come in the past two years-it has gone from foe to friend in the health industry. The cloud is now a core part of many health organizations’ IT strategy. Case in point: check out this interactive map that shows the 25,000 US health organizations that are taking advantage of the speed, scale, and flexibility of the Microsoft cloud.

Those are some of my post-HIMSS thoughts. What are yours? As a reflection of the health IT industry, what would an ideal, empowering HIMSS exhibition look like to you in the next one to five years? Let us know via email, Facebook, or Twitter.