From the Front Lines of HIMSS17

Mar 09, 2017 admin

Now that we have had time to decompress from what is arguably the most influential health IT conferences of the year, InkHouse’s healthcare practice wants to share key insights on the show’s top trends and how to best capitalize on key takeaways from a media standpoint. Prior to the conference, we shared conversations with HIMSS executives and reporters from Healthcare Informatics and Xtelligent Media. In addition, I was on the show floor, facilitating interviews with reporters, attending clients’ presentations and hearing the biggest announcements capturing attendees’ attention. Here are some of the top takeaways:

Consumerization of healthcare. From patient portals and health coaches to automated messaging and video conferences, patients today are more engaged in their healthcare than ever before. Empowering patients to be active participants in their own health has shown to drive better health outcomes and cost savings, and we can expect to see more vendors, providers and payers getting on board.

PR takeaway: While this topic is top of mind for reporters today, please keep in mind that they just don’t want to just hear how your technology is going to revolutionize (and never use that word btw!) healthcare - they want to see it in action. Provide customer anecdotes and connect reporters to third-party references whenever possible. No customer? No problem. Brief videos or graphics can easily illustrate how the technology works and the benefits, and are great for social sharing. In addition, think about implementing a survey that shows how patients have benefited from being more engaged outside their doctor’s offices walls or the reservations that still exist for consumers to truly embrace telehealth. You can even jump on published studies, like research recently reported in the American Journal of Managed Care that showed enrollment in an individualized health coaching program can help patients better manage their own healthcare and improve outcomes. Arrange for your spokesperson to discuss the findings with a reporter and comment on what this means for the industry.

What’s next for electronic health records (EHRs)? While there are always grumblings about the shortcomings of EHRs and how they under-deliver on their initial promise, once again, the HIMSS exhibit hall was knee deep with companies showcasing the latest innovations. From the promise of improving quality of care through aggregating data and the ability to share records across platforms, the focus is clearly on the future.

PR takeaway: Today, nearly 96 percent of hospitals today use EHRs so, to stand out in the competitive market landscape, it’s time to move the conversation from deployment to vision and innovation. Work to develop a thought leadership campaign by developing a strong point of view on the future of EHRs across the entire healthcare landscape. Don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial or go against the grain of what others are talking about - it will most likely help your pitch stand out and grab a reporter’s attention. 

AI and Big Data. While IBM’s Watson caught everyone’s attention a few years ago for its success on Jeopardy!, the promise of artificial intelligence in the healthcare field is tremendous. From predicting whcih patient populations could be at risk for certain diseases to providing virtual assistance to patients to reducing drug discovery times, AI has the potential to truly change healthcare today.

PR takeaway: The number of startups entering the AI space is growing every year and reporters are becoming more and more interested in hearing how AI, cognitive learning and machine learning algorithms are impacting healthcare. Now is the time to focus on how AI can potentially impact your industry. If you are in the radiology space, for instance, talk about the impact of AI on processing medical images. As my colleague Tiffany Darmetko said in her roundup of the RSA security conference, be sure to strike that balance between talking about what’s happening now, as well as offering new points of view on how AI will shape and disrupt the future of healthcare.

Once again, it was a great HIMSS conference and we look forward to sharing their thoughts and visions with the media on how these future trends impact healthcare. Thanks for following along on our five part HIMSS series!
Topics: Healthcare, Public Relations

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