We are committed to helping organizations everywhere stay connected and productive. Read more

Focus on: Microsoft in Health Digital Transformation

What a difference a year makes. Once it seemed like healthcare and our digital society were diverging, with healthcare missing out on some of the most promising technologies like artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and the new capabilities afforded by cloud computing. I’m pleased to say, looking back at 2017, I saw firsthand extraordinary progress in each of these fields by leading health innovators around the world. This isn’t an isolated phenomenon, or a charge led by any one country. It’s truly a distributed global movement of innovation, and the breadth and diversity of scenarios illustrate that this is more than a passing fad, we really are in a new era of digital health. What’s most encouraging to me is that these scenarios aren’t just in research, 2017 has shown innovation going mainstream, making a real difference in how we engage patients, empower care providers, and broker new models of care.

That’s why I’m more excited than ever to see the universe of possibilities laid out again at the world’s biggest healthcare IT conference, HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas in March. With 45,000 attendees, the event barely needs an introduction. For those first timers however, my advice is to turn up with a game plan. The array of concurrent activities can be overwhelming. At the highest altitude, HIMSS is a way to take the pulse of the whole digital health industry. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the emphasis shift from on-premises systems of record (like EHRs) to complementary solutions that unlock value from this digital asset. I think it reflects our increasing digital maturity. Last year I noticed a lot of emphasis on systems of intelligence generally, from data-aggregation and data-warehousing solutions all the way through to predictive analytics and the debut of artificial intelligence. Population health management specifically was prominent as the US health system ramped readiness for value based care.

I think it’s a telling sign of the times that HIMSS has merged this year with Health 2.0. If HIMSS is the event that is grounded firmly in the state of digital health today, Health 2.0 has always pushed the innovation envelope to help us envision what health will look like in the future. I think the merger illustrates that these two horizons are no longer distinct concepts, and that leading health organizations and technology providers alike need to be thinking about both together. In no particular order then, my predictions for HIMSS 2018 this year include:

  • Artificial intelligence will move beyond hype, and we will see practical examples of reputable organizations using AI to drive significant health outcomes. Look for not just chatbot scenarios, but also machine vision and video analytics examples.
  • Traditional EHR providers will continue to diversity beyond the saturated clinical record space, into health analytics, population health, patient records and even precision medicine offerings.
  • The ongoing interoperability discussion will consolidate around FHIR as a standard, and we will see meaningful and scale collaborations across systems using this standard.
  • Mixed reality will be prominent, and the scenarios we discuss this year will be clinically rather than technically led.
  • We’ll continue to see the lines blur between providers, payors, pharmaceutical and even research organizations as everyone gets closer to and more focused on the patient. A market trend I’m just starting to see emerge of fusion between health organizations and traditional retailers is likely a bit too early to feature prominently this year.

Microsoft will of course have a significant booth presence, as we showcase our own first-party efforts as well as those of our strategic partners. Do make an effort to stop by and meet the team. I’ll be coordinating the Innovation Theatre again this year and would encourage any Microsoft partner with a great story of digital transformation in health to please submit an abstract for consideration. As a content team, we’ll be reviewing all submissions at the end of January to ensure that once again this popular forum brings you the very best examples of transformation in an engaging and digestible format. See you at HIMSS 2018!