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Has Healthcare Found Its Innovation Gameplan?

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   March 22, 2024

With HLTH, ViVE, and HIMSS, the industry seems to have settled on a schedule for fostering new ideas and technologies

As the busy exhibit hall at this year’s HIMSS24 conference in Orlando can attest, healthcare’s biggest technology event is back. But that success is tied to a change in how the industry’s decision-makers view HIMSS and its main competitors, ViVE and HLTH.

Simply put, HIMSS is becoming the place to talk collaboration and make technology deals that power a lot of the industry’s innovation efforts. But unless they’re appearing in a session or accepting an award, the C-Suite is staying away and delegating that authority to others—namely, executives who are actually using the technology.

“We need to understand what clinicians really want,” said David Sides, president and CEO of NextGen Healthcare. “And the value is in the details.”

And the ROI has to be immediate.

“Everyone is focused on doing more with less,” added Brendan Watkins, chief analytics officer at Stanford Children’s Health. “So when you look at something, you look at how it delivers the right insights to improve decision-making.”

[Also read: From ViVE to HIMSS, It’s All About the Data.]

At HLTH and especially ViVE, the C-Suite was notably present. And CIOs, CEOs, CTOs, CNOs and CFOs weren’t coming for the free food, drinks, and entertainment (though that may have helped). They were making the trip to get together with their peers and discuss strategy, and to see some of the newer ideas and technologies that aim to push healthcare out of its doldrums and advance value-based care.

HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf said as much during his press get-together as HIMSS24 opened this year. He’s not looking to attract the top-level executives, but targeting those within the health systems and hospitals who benefit the most from the technology. They’re the ones who can really define the ROI for a new platform or tool and tell their bosses whether it’s working or just costing valuable time and money.

[Also read: Disruptors Find Delivering Healthcare Alone Isn’t So Easy.]

That deals were being made at HIMSS this year is proof that the industry is focused on using technology to address its biggest pain points. AI and security were the top topics, and while health systems and hospital leaders were looking for solutions and partners to address those needs, vendors were talking to each other as well about collaborations that would create enterprise-wide, multi-point products instead of niche solutions.

“There’s quality, and then there’s paper cuts,” said David Linz, MD, chief medical informatics officer at Florida’s NCH Healthcare. “You want something that makes a difference.” 

And many of these conversations were fueled by discussions that had started at HLTH and carried over to ViVE (or were even begun at CES). At those events, executives bounced ideas off each other and talked about how the industry as a whole could embrace the technology it needs. The panels and discussions were more high-level, reflecting an industry intent on collaboration.

With that in mind, the healthcare industry seems to be settling into a rhythm that will define the innovation landscape. The ideas and debates will percolate up through HLTH and ViVE, then find footing at HIMSS through deals and collaborations.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


Health systems and hospitals are eager to embrace new strategies and technologies to address key issues, including workforce shortages, stress and burnout, high costs and poor clinical outcomes.

HLTH and ViVE are attracting the C-Suite, who are collaborating with their peers and engaging in high-level discussions about innovation strategy.

HIMSS, meanwhile, is targeting the executives within the industry who see how these new ideas and technologies are working and are making the deals to launch new programs.

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