It’s all too familiar that Big Data comes at “Big Cost”. Big Data has the potential (and in some cases the track record) to be a catalyst behind increasingly efficient and higher-quality healthcare – let’s call it “enlightened healthcare”. The demand for enlightened healthcare exists across thousands of providers regardless of setting or size. Making these Big Data tools affordable is essential to the spread of enlightened healthcare and health systems are spending a fortune on Big Data in pursuit. In the context of a healthcare macro environment that still needs to shed at least 20% in cost, this makes no sense.
At this moment, nearly every person at iWT health is busy prepping for HIMSS 2017 where we will exhibit, visit, network, and sell our hearts out just like thousands of other healthcare IT professionals. I must admit as a healthcare professional who came from a background of hospital operations and performance improvement, I was astounded 2 year ago when I attended the HIMSS conference for the first time.
The size and scope of this conference is difficult to describe. This year, HIMSS17 is held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, which has over 2.1 million square feet of exhibition space. There are dozens of companies with slightly different pitches for every shiny new technology one can imagine. Some of the larger EHR vendors have opulent exhibits seemingly the size of a city block. I stand amazed at the millions of dollars going into this one event every year which is only a fraction of the HIT spend in our healthcare system. I marvel at the overwhelming scale and size of this part of healthcare, that the average hospital employee will never experience.
And then I feel guilty.
I feel guilty because I remember the pressure on the people delivering care that are forced to do more with less every day. I feel guilty because I know the “knot in the gut” feeling health system leadership gets as they search for the annual 10% reduction in costs.
Are we attending HIMSS sharing that pain and pressure? Have we strived to deliver our technology for 10% less every year? Have we figured out to make our solutions last longer, upgrade easier, implement faster, or flex to patient care demands? Are we quietly happy to leave the burden of adoption, workflow and affordability to our customers? How much do we own this larger challenge?
Affordable and better healthcare for all will require the effort of our entire healthcare ecosystem – especially those of us claiming to develop and deploy transformative informative technologies – to create something exponentially different. That is hard work. HIMSS 2017 reminds me that we want to be part of their solution, not the problem.
CEO, iWT health