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HIMSS 2016 features keynote by HHS chief, new health IT

In addition to hot technologies such as cloud, predictive analytics and IoT, HIMSS 2016 will feature a big presence by government health IT regulators.

When Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, delivers the opening night keynote of HIMSS 2016, she will be the highest-ranking government healthcare official to keynote the health IT industry's biggest confab, at least in recent memory.

Burwell is expected to elaborate on the Medicare Access and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act (MACRA), the wide-ranging slate of healthcare and health IT legislation passed by Congress last year that is expected to supplement and supplant large swaths of meaningful use, as well as interoperability.

MACRA essentially provides a legal structure for the shift toward value- and merit-based reimbursement for physicians working in private practices. A similar transformation of Medicare payments to large hospital systems may follow.

Burwell's scheduled Feb. 29 address at HIMSS 2016 will be followed immediately by a speech by Dell CEO Michael Dell. Those addresses will be complemented by a media session set for March 1, the day the exhibition floor opens at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, with Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the national coordinator for health IT, and Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of CMS.

In January, Slavitt created a stir in health IT circles when he said in a speech at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that meaningful use will be replaced by "something better."

Those top health IT regulators, who come under Burwell's direction, are likely to flesh out Burwell's policy statements, SearchHealthIT news and features writer Shaun Sutner says in this HIT Squad podcast.

Also in the podcast, HIT Squad member and SearchHealthIT news writer Kristen Lee talks about some of the topics she will discuss with health system CIOs in a slate of video interviews at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Forum the day of Burwell's HIMSS 2016 keynote.

Those health IT areas include: Internet of Things, cybersecurity, EHR integration challenges, cloud, mobility management and business analytics.

Among the CIOs Lee is planning to interview are Marc Probst, vice president and CIO of Utah's Intermountain Healthcare and CHIME chairman, and Ed Ricks, CIO and vice president of information services at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina.

Next Steps

A look back at HIMSS 2015

FBI on cybersecurity at HIMSS 2015

An explanation of the evolution of meaningful use  

This was last published in February 2016

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