An Alternative to the Hype of the HIMSS16 Show Floor

Dave Garets,

Healthcare IT industry analyst

I know what you’re thinking: “Garets is mouthing off again. Thank goodness he doesn’t do it more than once a year.” Last year about this time I blogged about what you’d see at HIMSS15. Now I’m going to suggest something you ought to check out at HIMSS16 beyond the blather about BI/analytics/big data, population health, patient engagement and next generation revenue.Dave Garets Biog

The industry has been taking a breather after slamming in all the EHRs, and trying to buy some time for the BI/analytics and population health solutions to mature and those markets to shake out. That shake-out most likely hasn’t brought the cream to the top to most CIOs’ satisfaction, and it’s still a risky, hype-imbued proposition to make vendor decisions in those application categories even today. Trust me: You’ll see a gazillion booths at HIMSS16, just like HIMSS15, emblazoned with Donald Trump-like assertions of superiority in these spaces. Be careful!

So when you get tired of hearing about analytics, pop health, patient engagement and rev cycle (i.e., within 15 minutes of going on the floor the first time), what else is worth a look?

Well, another concept is getting its share of hype, and that’s “precision medicine.” You may be tempted to say that it’s too early to really address precision medicine on a broad scale, but I’d argue not if you focus on pragmatic solutions to today’s biggest healthcare problems.

One of the things I’ve been doing in my failed retirement efforts is to sit on the board of Genelex Corporation, a Seattle-based pharmacogenomics firm. They’re not just one of the leading pharmacogenomics testing labs in the country, but what differentiates them from anyone else in the industry is some powerful software that has been under development since 1997. What it does is go beyond today’s leaders in the drug-drug interaction decision support space by adding drug-gene interactions, and more importantly, adding the cumulative impact of multi-drug/gene interactions. These cumulative interactions make up 37% of the most severe drug interactions and are completely missed by other interaction programs. What that means is that the software can inform the physician or pharmacist that the patient is at significant risk for an expensive or deadly adverse drug event (ADE) caused by interactions that the big boys miss completely. If you were running an ACO and were at risk for care quality, cost and patient satisfaction, would you be interested in technology that did that?

Oh, one of the other things it does is ride on top of population health management applications to analyze an entire population of covered lives to predict which patients are at the highest risk for an ADE and predict how much money you’d save by genetically testing them to avoid the ADE altogether. In November of last year, the results of a clinical trial run by the University of Utah was published in the Journal of Medical Economics that said that the tested cohort in the trial experienced declines of 39% of hospital admissions and 71% of ED visits compared to a matched control.

And one more thing – one of Cerner’s largest clients is running a pilot with the Genelex technology, and the company just announced integration into Epic’s workflow for its clients.

This is a real, practical application of precision medicine that saves lives by helping solve the ADE problem. And one that more than pays its way. Check it out at booth 12147. See you there!