CEO's Corner

Healthcare Messaging Trends to Watch at HIMSS 2017

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

Across the healthcare sector, clinicians and administrators have abandoned pagers and other outdated technologies in favor of secure messaging platforms that allow employees to instantly share information and files with coworkers.

At Infinite Convergence, our NetSfere service is part of the next generation of messaging technologies promising even bigger benefits for patients, clinicians and organizations — benefits that feature prominently in the most important healthcare messaging trends in 2017.

Healthcare Messaging at HIMSS 2017

In many ways, HIMSS is the epicenter of the healthcare technology universe. Each year, health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world gather to discuss the trends that are shaping the future of technology in healthcare.

Secure messaging technology fits squarely in the list of topics that are discussed at every HIMSS. This year, at HIMSS 2017, there are three primary healthcare messaging trends that I expect will be hot topics of conversation.

#1 Security is more important than ever.

Cybersecurity will be a persistent theme at HIMMS 2017 (Robert Herjavec of the Herjavec Group is a keynote speaker). Not coincidentally, it’s also a highly relevant topic in messaging because healthcare enterprises are taking a much closer look at the security implications of sharing messages and files.

As crazy as it sounds, many healthcare employees are still using non-secure, consumer-grade messaging apps to share PHI and other sensitive information, creating serious security vulnerabilities for their organizations and their patients.

As more and more healthcare organizations mandate the use of secure messaging platforms, expect to hear more about what constitutes robust security in messaging and how large healthcare enterprises are addressing security concerns.

#2 HIPAA risks are accelerating.

Messaging has the potential to introduce a slate of HIPAA-based risks to the organization. Although HIPAA compliance has always mattered, it’s even more important now, since there is evidence that HHS is accelerating enforcement and ramping up fines for violations.

In August, federal regulators reported a record $5.55 million settlement with a large healthcare system for data security violations — a development that CNBC noted as a sign that regulators are more willing to penalize HIPAA violations than in the past.

Going forward, healthcare organizations will prioritize the implementation of secure enterprise messaging technology to mitigate compliance-based risk, but expect to hear much more about HIPAA risks at HIMSS 2017.

#3 Interoperability is becoming an issue in messaging.

So far, many healthcare organizations have limited the use of messaging to internal communication. That’s about to change as forward-thinking healthcare professionals begin to use messaging to collaborate with partners, patients and other external stakeholders.

The key to external messaging is interoperability — organizations can’t responsibly use messaging externally unless they can guarantee the same level of security, control and compliance they enjoy in internal messaging. Although most messaging technology providers haven’t started to address interoperability, industry leaders have.

For example, at Infinite Convergence, we’ve developed an innovative guest access feature for our NetSfere service that simultaneously solves interoperability issues and addresses the security and compliance concerns that plague today’s healthcare organizations.

Connecting at HIMSS

One of the great thing about HIMSS is that it provides an opportunity to get the information you need to make smarter decisions about messaging in your healthcare organization.

As always, Infinite Convergence and representatives from our NetSfere service will be on hand to talk about the latest trends in healthcare messaging and to answer any questions you have about implementing secure enterprise messaging in your organization.

If you’re attending HIMMS 2017, I would encourage you to stop by our booth and say hi. We’re located at Booth #5595, and you can book a HIMSS meeting in advance via our website. See you in Orlando!