Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

A week of inspiration, excitement, and engagement at HIMSS24

An eager, experienced, and energized contingent of Rhapsody employees just wrapped up HIMSS24. After four days of engagement with providers, health tech companies, public health agencies, and many others, it’s clear that healthcare’s digital transformation is well underway. 

Several key themes emerged throughout conversations in our booth as well as in education sessions, keynotes, and chatter in the exhibit hall. Artificial intelligence was top of the list, with numerous companies discussing practical applications of this technology – both in the traditional sense and with generative AI.  

Overall, it’s clear to see that AI has moved from theory to real usage in clinical and operational settings. It’s also being used to make care safer, more efficient, and fairer. Organizations are deploying algorithms to prevent falls and pressure ulcers, reduce inpatient length of stay, alleviate clinician burnout, improve data accuracy, speed up documentation, and more.  

Other key themes that emerged were: 

  • Cybersecurity and data privacy  
  • Innovations need to be embedded within the workflow and present data in near real-time 
  • Organizations are looking for the value of data for analytics – like AI, just having the data doesn’t matter if it isn’t leading to positive outcomes  
  • Do one thing – start with the basics, take a first step before scaling or focus on a single piece of the healthcare ecosystem 

Cybersecurity and data privacy 

The Cybersecurity Command Center stage and section of the exhibit hall were right next to the Rhapsody booth. We saw firsthand how important this topic was to attendees and recognized how many people were wanting to learn more strategies for keeping data safe and secure. As one speaker outlined, for 13 consecutive years, healthcare has had the highest number of ransomware breaches, and a data breach in healthcare is double the cost of a breach in any other sensitive data sector. Those aren’t stats for healthcare to hang its hat on.  

One session discussed the new cybersecurity strategy released by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Specifics are under discussion, yet they will likely release “essential” and “advanced” performance goals that providers and technology vendors will need to meet. Essentials are fairly basic and address the most common vulnerabilities whereas advanced will take more time, expertise, and resources (which HHS will provide) to accomplish. Ultimately, the goal of this strategy is for everyone – from a single doctor up to multi-hospital systems – to demonstrate adherence to these elements enforced with penalties and incentives. The intent is to move healthcare into a position where we’re better able to defend against bad actors.  

In another session, the speaker talked about putting AI to use to enhance your security team’s skills. He discussed using AI for training, investigating, and leveraging data. Training could include writing emails, creating playbooks, and culling information from sources to identify the most relevant details. When talking about investigating, he shared that using AI reduced the time it took an analyst to write a custom rule from 4-6 hours down to minutes. The algorithm can get the custom rule 90% of the way in 30 seconds, and it takes a few minutes for the analyst to refine it. More impressive, for training, the speaker scraped a website that included 17,000 blog posts detailing every attack from the last few years. His team trained on actual attacks instead of hypothetical scenarios. They’re using AI to empower their analysts to spend most of their time on innovative, high-value tasks.  

Real-time data within workflows 

Minnesota Department of Health (DOH) and Washington State Department of Health both presented as part of the Interoperability Showcase, Infectious Disease scenario. Having access to accurate, real-time data within the user’s workflow was key to these organizations understanding and improving the health of their populations.  

eBook for Providers: Gain real-time data access for more informed, holistic quality care

In a scenario where a person tests positive for a contagious infectious disease – like hepatitis A or COVID-19 – the Minnesota DOH needs to alert those who may have had contact with that person as quickly as possible. Through electronic case reporting (eCR), when a provider inputs a positive test result, the chart will alert – within the workflow – that the test data may be something to report to state or national agencies. After doing so, this data is available in a central repository for multiple jurisdictions to access to inform family members, coworkers, or others who may have contacted the infected person. Minnesota DOH uses Rhapsody Integration Engine to extract data from the report to generate a readable format, in near real-time, for the department to take appropriate action.

Minnesota DOH
Minnesota DOH

Similarly, Washington State DOH focuses on being transformational, not just transactional. In a presentation about their WA Notify text system, they talked about enabling Bluetooth technology for contact tracing – the strength of the signal indicated how near phones were (and, consequently, those people). This information automatically triggered a text, an anonymous notification, that they had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The system generated over 2.5 million exposure notifications, and 45% of these were within three days of exposure and 82% within six days.

Dr. Bryant Karras
Dr. Bryant Karras

In describing the project, Dr. Bryant Karras shared that he was feeling emotional because it was such a team effort and there were so many people in the room and around the state who contributed to the project’s success. While they did not use Rhapsody products in their WA Notify system, Washington State DOH does use Rhapsody solutions for many other projects. We are proud to call them a customer, knowing their efforts with this initiative and others are leading the way in advancing health equity (WA notify texts were available in 46 different languages), improving healthcare supply chain (partnership with Amazon to deliver at-home testing kits in 1-2 days’ time), and innovating for precision public health. 

“Interoperability – it’s hard to say and hard to do,”

Hal Wolf, III, president and CEO of HIMSS

“Interoperability – it’s hard to say and hard to do,” stated Hal Wolf, III, president and CEO of HIMSS, during a conversation with one of the HIMSS 2024 Changemaker Award winners (Policy Influencer Award), Abigail Norville, Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, Netherlands. While she may have stumbled in pronouncing interoperability, her efforts to expand collaboration, data sharing, and best practices among nations are inspiring.

Abigail Norville, Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, Netherlands
Abigail Norville, Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, Netherlands

Do one thing…then scale 

We often have conversations with prospects, existing customers, and even our own teams about whether to buy or build. Walking the floor and attending sessions, we discovered more organizations focused on doing one thing well than doing everything. Many people mentioned doing something – taking one step, doing the basics, making marginal improvements.  

eBook for Health Tech Leaders: Learn why a digital health enablement platform is crucial to scaling and growing your business.

One thing can make a significant difference. Zipline, an AI-powered, autonomous drone delivery company, embodies this idea. Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, the Thursday keynote speaker, shared his grand vision for completely disrupting the healthcare supply chain. In his words, doctors went to medical school to save lives, and logistics shouldn’t get in the way of that happening. Yet, in rural communities and underdeveloped nations, this is what’s happening. In his first meeting with officials in Rwanda, they told him to just do blood – just get us blood for transfusions in minutes or hours, not days.  

He and his team took a step back and decided to focus on blood – in a few hospitals. Then they expanded, scaled, and grew in Rwanda, Africa, and the world. To date, their aircraft have flown 70 million commercial autonomous miles with zero human incidents. They crossed one million deliveries, 60,000 of which were life-saving emergency deliveries. Zipline has enabled Rwanda in reducing maternal mortality by 51%. Zipline has enabled Ghana to reduce “zero-dose” children by 21% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Keller Rinaudo Cliffton
Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, CEO, Zipline

The details of Zipline’s aircraft, set-up, and distribution centers are fascinating. Keller shared, though, that people don’t care about the technology. They care about impact. What an impact Zipline has had by starting small then scaling. And, by its founder asking himself – and us – what are the most important problems for humanity to solve?

What are the most important problems for humanity to solve?

Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, CEO, Zipline

We left HIMSS24 with feelings of excitement and inspiration. Plus, a sense of the challenges health tech, provider, and public health teams are facing. If any of the above resonates with you, contact our team today! Rhapsody customers are leading the way in innovation, and we are proud to support them – and you – to enable the adoption of digital health and health innovation.

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