This year, a common theme is emerging from all the Healthcare events and conferences I have attended – technology as an integral part of the changing medical landscape and its role in improving patient care and safety. Below are highlights from three key conferences from the first half of this year.
IAHSS Annual Conference
The 46th IAHSS Annual General Membership Conference, held in May 2014 in San Diego, began with Keynote Speaker, Chris Van Gorder, the President and CEO of Scripps Health providing an account of his entry into the world of healthcare. He started as a security officer, and experienced many different roles in the healthcare industry before rising to his current position at Scripps Health.
The event is always one of the best opportunities to participate in a forum dedicated to healthcare security, learn the latest trends and best practices, and share security management solutions for the healthcare industry. Several of the presentations focused on new and challenging aspects of healthcare security and safety, with presentations on “How the Affordable Care Act Has Changed Healthcare Security and How Do We Need to Change as Security Directors”, “What is the Impact of NFPA 101-2012”, “Active Shooters in the Healthcare Setting” and “Facility Design and the Security Role.”
The Facility Design presentation focused on the Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI) and their publication of the “Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities.” The FGI is comprised of approximately 120 subject matter experts, and their 2014 version of the guidelines incorporates the “IHSSF (International Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation) Design and Renovation Guidelines.” This FGI guidelines document, used exhaustively by regulators in the United States and as a resource in Canada and elsewhere, provides a seat at the table for institutional security experts to mitigate risk as part of the building / renovation environment.
The members and attendees were also provided with copies of recent and upcoming research findings from the IHSSF – the “2014 Weapons Survey,” due to be published in Septeber 2014, the “2014 Healthcare Crime Survey,” as well as the 3rd version of the “Healthcare Staffing Metrics tool.” Next year, the IAHSS Annual Conference moves to St. Louis – with more educational workshops, as well as the upcoming research and education from IHSSF on healthcare security and safety.
The 50th HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition, held this past February, in Orlando, invited guests and attendees to take part in the first “Connected Patient Learning Gallery.” This new initiative is “a hands-on, interactive area showcasing innovative health IT products and services that address various aspects of e-engaging providers and patients, as well as ways to integrate these products for patient care.”
In the HIMSS14 knowledge centers, the focus was on two key challenges to “healthcare change” – 1) clinical and business intelligence and 2) mobile health. Each of these two subjects had their own “knowledge center” on the show floor and highlighted the need and use for data analytics to better understand the patient requirements and experience to make the entire healthcare operation more efficient, productive, and patient focused.
Several themes emerged from the keynote speakers. Eric Dishman, Intel Fellow and General Manager of the Health & Life Sciences Group, stated “aided by technology and pressured by rising costs, we’re going to see a huge shift toward “care anywhere.”
Steven Linn, MD, MPH and the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Inspira Health Network shared with the audience that “this is likely going to be one of the most transformative times in healthcare in generations. We will be challenged to manage the health of a group of individuals or a community over time instead of treating patients individually and episodically as we do today.”
M. Turner Billingsley, MD, FACEP, the Chief Medical Officer at InterSystems, stated that “technology, adopted as part of an overall strategy, has the potential to be a critical lever in improving patient safety.”
Lastly, the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion provided attendees the chance to observe the latest in patient centered technology from RFID / RTLS providers, which demonstrated the latest in integration, analytics, and mobile applications to create a positive patient outcome in a safe and secure environment.
Arab Health Exhibition & Congress
The 39th Arab Health Exhibition & Congress, held in Dubai, U.A.E., gathers leaders in healthcare to explore new ideas, share experiences, and discuss the new and upcoming trends and technology in Middle East Healthcare. The conference hosted more than 3,746 exhibitors from 63 countries and 500 international and regional speakers.
This year, Sheikh Mohammed visited the exhibition and he described Arab Health as an excellent scientific medical demonstration, considering the scientific level of both participants and visitors, saying that the exhibition was a platform to exchange views, ideas, experiences and scientific studies that contribute to the development of healthcare. “Arab Health is now widely viewed as a must-attend event in the global healthcare calendar”, said Simon Page, at Informa Exhibitions, the organizers of Arab Health.
Highlighting this year’s event was the “Training Village,” which offered a unique opportunity to try out and receive hands-on training on new medical and process technologies. There were also a variety of workshops on medical practices and challenges, including the value and growth of “telehealth.”
Technology was evident throughout, as the move to more accurate, more efficient, and better connected technology continues to dominate the medical landscape. The word “integration” is very common and has been used for many years, while the word “connected” (or “connectivity”) is the new common phrase…and while they may have technically different definitions, the key is the sharing of knowledge and data to improve the delivery of healthcare for better and more efficient patient outcomes.