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With HIMSS23 now behind us, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect back on the insightful discussions we had with healthcare leaders around the evolving role of technology.

While the challenges facing healthcare systems are common, approaches vary between countries due to regulations, funding, differences in organizational culture, and technical debt. Based on these unique conversations with health systems from around the world, here are my top three key takeaways from the event:

1. Clinical staff shortages continue to impact the delivery of care. Clinical staffing shortages are impacting many countries, while back-office staff shortages are leading to poor customer experiences. While virtual care has helped organizations manage their staffing shortages, health systems now need to create standards across departments to drive efficiency and a consistent patient experience.

To address patient experience, we recommend a digital front door strategy, which is a combination of contact center automation, chatbots and virtual care.  Onsite at HIMSS, we showcased a number of technologies in support of better patient experience, including the latest Webex integrations for virtual care, virtual rounding, Webex Expert on Demand, and digital front door (Powered by Webex CPaaS Solutions, formerly imimobile).

2. Cybersecurity is top of mind everywhere and governments are in different stages of action. For example, Germany has a framework while Japan is out for public comment. In the US we recently passed new legislation on medical device manufacturers.

Securing your healthcare organization isn’t as simple as buying a single product. Health systems need to invest in a comprehensive networking and security strategy and adjust their processes to improve security posture. I recommend aligning to NIST and looking at the infrastructure and security pillars of the HIMSS Infrastructure Adoption Model (INFRAM) to create a baseline.

HIMSS INFRAM helps healthcare organizations assess and benchmark their IT infrastructure capabilities and maturity. By identifying areas of strength and weakness, the framework offers health systems a roadmap to optimize their network to better support patient care and achieve their strategic goals. To learn more, please contact our CX healthcare practice.

3. Operating margins are tight and violence against clinicians and nursing staff is on the rise. As a result, command and control platforms and staff safety solutions are gaining significant traction. While real time location services (RTLS) isn’t a new topic, there is a new resurgence, as command, control and safety platforms require real time data to be effective.

Health systems don’t want extra overlay wireless networks for RTLS, which is why there was high interest at HIMSS in Cisco’s wireless technology and partnerships with AiRISTA Flow, Kontakt.io, Securitas, and more. If you’re interested in leveraging location data to enable clinical operational efficiency, respond to staff duress and monitor asset utilization, check out Cisco’s use case for location services for clinical environments in the portfolio explorer.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the role of AI. There is much hype around AI with some success stories in healthcare (for example AI integrated into chatbots). But with the possible benefit of AI comes opportunity for bad actors and malicious intent. Health systems need to proceed with caution and choose their deployments wisely. As AI use cases mature, I believe AI will be in my top three takeaways list for next year.

Overall HIMSS23 was a great way to connect with healthcare technology leaders worldwide. I enjoyed the opportunity to showcase the breadth of Cisco’s offerings in the healthcare space and our ecosystem of partners who help bring value across the care delivery continuum.

If you missed us at HIMSS23, check out our event website where you can find content that we showcased onsite, including our brand new virtual reality tour of a connected hospital.

Leave a comment below to share your top takeaway from the event.