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HIMSS22 keynote: Fundamental challenge is to merge traditional medicine with technology


The HIMSS22 Global Health Conference opened with a call to action for the health care industry.


The HIMSS22 Global Health Conference kicked off its general programming Tuesday in Orlando with a modest goal: To motivate thousands of physicians, tech CEOs, cybersecurity experts and others to “realize the full health potential of every human, everywhere.”

Those were the words of HIMSS president and CEO Hal Wolf, delivered at a challenging time for the global healthcare system. There’s a pandemic, of course. There’s increasing awareness of how inequal health outcomes are across the globe. There’s tension between an inefficient encounter-based health system on one side, and a digital health ecosystem that sometimes is too impersonal.

The problems, Wolf said, remain well known.

“Too many patients, not enough resources, not enough information, still” Wolf said. “The medical model is at a breaking point. You know, because you are living it every day.”

Wolf said the great challenge facing health care leaders today is to merge the two models, the in-person physician visit with population health, predictive modeling, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“There will always be the need for what we do every day in our clinics, our hospitals, our facilities,” Wolf said. “But it’s not enough. Our fundamental challenge is to weave these models together and realize the best of both worlds.”

The bottom line is that patients are approaching their health care as consumers, and they want digital care. They want their health app data to be part of their care plan, they want telehealth.

“We must embrace disrupters, because patients will,” Wolf said.

We will have ongoing HIMSS22 coverage this week on Medical Economics. Check out our conference coverage page for more.

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