Each year I look at the scheduled educational sessions at the HIMSS Conference and Exhibition to see what topics are trending and how they’re shifting over time. Last year’s conference, of course, was canceled due to COVID, but the educational sessions had already been scheduled and published, so the hiatus did not result in a data gap. This year, HIMSS is back - albeit with lower-than-average predicted attendance - and the educational track has rebounded with full force.
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This year, we have 434 educational sessions in 18 categories, which is mostly on par with the 2019 figures (427 sessions in 24 categories). 2020’s scheduled events included 681 sessions, but certain other types of meetings, such as IHE Showcase tours, were included in that total, making it artificially high.
This year the category with the most educational sessions is Applications and Technologies, with 63 sessions. That’s up from 38 sessions and 9th place last year. The category Digital Health Leadership underwent a title change, but remained in 2nd place.
Population and Public Health also took a dive from 6th place to 9th, which is surprising in a year when public health is a topic on everyone’s mind. It’s worth mentioning, though, that a new category, Pandemic Response, has appeared, and if these two categories had been combined, they’d be tied with Security and Privacy for 3rd place.
Value-Based Care Models went from being fairly unpopular last year to completely gone this year, which is shocking when articles with titles like The shift to value-based care has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic are found everywhere in the press these days. The rise and fall and many category name changes of Value-based Care is tracked in orange.
A non-surprise is that Telemedicine (green trend line) moved up from 13th place to the number five spot. No doubt the pandemic triggered considerable interest in telemedicine, but at this point it feels a little late to be talking about how to start a telemedicine program. Perhaps the sessions will focus on lessons learned and results observed from rolling out these programs.
For next year, I predict that some version of value-based care will return to the agenda. And security and privacy may split into separate categories. Lumping them together made sense when the topic was new, but as a subject matures it begins to specialize, and that creates an opportunity to split into separate categories.