HIC 2015 – Australia’s leading eHealth and digital event

Deborah Steele, Health IT Product Manager, wrote:

SmallStandPhotoSysmex Australia participated for the first time at the annual Health Informatics Conference in Brisbane – the ideal forum to introduce our health IT portfolio to a range of healthcare and informatics practitioners.

For Australia, eHealth initiatives underpin the transformational change to the delivery of healthcare for the country and Sysmex are excited to be a part of this. I attended HIC2015 along with Marie Czarnecki, our Health IT Business Development Manager and Ben Langridge, National Sales and Marketing Manager.

The three-day event attracted a record number of delegates and exhibitors from across Australasia and the plenary sessions included captivating speakers from across the globe, sharing their expert knowledge and experience.

Keynote presenter Dr Helen Bevan, spoke of her experience in the UK NHS effecting transformational change in healthcare and inspired the HIC audience to embrace change. She shared the building blocks for change, listing eleven of them which are certainly valuable not only in the healthcare sector.

Inspiring and supportive leadership A call to action
Collaborative working Fostering an open culture
Flexibility and adaptability Nurturing our people
Smart use of resources Long term thinking
Autonomy and trust Thought diversity
Challenging the status quo

It was interesting to hear the pragmatic perspective of Dr Doug Fridsma from the American Medical Informatics Association (amia.org). Like Dr Bevan’s session, the twitter hashtag #hic15 also peaked during Dr Fridsma’s presentation. He shared health IT lessons from the US experiences which included a number of take away messages. Interoperability is a term used constantly and a bar to achieve in eHealth. He described interoperability as only making sense in the context of what you want to do. When two or more systems exchange information, those systems must be able to use the information that has been exchanged. He also described the concept of creating a learning healthcare system, and that we need informatics to be engaged across four levels: 1. consumer; 2. practice/clinic/hospital; 3. population; 4. public. All underpinned by standards, testing, business drivers and governance. Looking to the future, standards and technology are constantly changing and Dr Fridsma proposed that EHRs are not going to be the most important health IT of the future. Non-health data will become bigger than health data with patients driving the future of eHealth.

Australian Minister for Health, Dr Sussan Ley, spoke on the controversial topic of PCEHR/My Health Record. She assured the industry that considerable effort is being applied to ensure it provides the right outcomes for healthcare. As NeHTA undertakes its transition to the Australian Commission for eHealth, the three key health informatics organisations in Australia (HISA, HIMAA, ACHI) which ultimately have common goals, plan to take a cohesive approach to their involvement and engagement with the new organisation.

Highly relevant to the Sysmex product portfolio was the concurrent session on eDiagnostics. The topics in this session emphasised the importance of pathology results as a contributor to a majority of patient treatments, and therefore the need for quality data as the main foundation of any electronic medical record solution. Making this pathology data available in shared repositories and utilising electronic ordering also minimises unnecessary test demand and over-utilisation. The importance of eReporting via HL7 messaging standards to national registries for notifiable diseases, cancer cases etc. was also highlighted. The introduction of FHIR messaging standards holds potential for pathology labs to improve communication and create greater interoperability options. eDiagnostics also sees the rapid advancement of digital pathology and radiology imaging technologies, making it easier to share information and manage multidisciplinary care.

The Sysmex exhibit booth featured our clinical (Eclair) and pathology product portfolio (Delphic LIS suite). It was great to speak to attendees who had an interest in learning more about the Eclair clinical information system and where it fits in the ‘EHR vendor‘ world. Many visitors to the stand were interested to learn about Eclair’s strengths in managing clinical workflow. In particular, how it handled the wide range and number of diagnostic requests and reports (radiology, lab, cardiology, observations etc.) clinicians are responsible for each day.

We also showcased Eclair’s diversity:

  • Interoperating and integrating with other systems as part of a total EHR solution
  • Working as a stand-alone clinical information system
  • Providing a value-add to pathology, radiology and other clinical services as a repository for result and report access and signoff plus electronic request and referral management
  • Enabling clinicians to work remotely or from mobile devices accessing and managing patient records via Eclair Touch

We were pleased to meet a number of pathology informatics specialists amongst the conference attendees. Participating in events like HIC is an excellent way to emphasise the part that pathology plays in the world of health informatics. Pathology data underpins any electronic patient record system, and it is paramount that pathology labs and the valuable data they create does not exist in a silo, but that the data is standardised, centralised and accessible. As a global provider of diagnostic instruments and information systems, Sysmex is passionate about the value of pathology and ensuring our systems contribute to and comply with eHealth initiatives.

Running alongside the main conference programme was ‘Hacking Health’ – a movement that is sweeping across the world – holding a series of workshops that bring together passionate, innovative and agile teams to tackle problems in healthcare.

As well as the excellent learning and networking opportunities at the HIC conference, the gala dinner was a great social event and opportunity to recognise the country’s key contributors through the awards ceremony. The Brisbane City Hall was a stunning venue for the occasion.

HIC_smallMuch appreciated by all delegates during the exhibit was HISA’s booth which spoiled all and kept us going with speed massages, espresso coffee and chocolates throughout the event. Thanks HISA!

If you are interested in learning more about the HIC Conference, the Health Informatics Australia (HISA) website, hisa.org.au, is a valuable source of information. In addition the Pulse IT Team did a great job of covering the event, and I recommend checking out their website for relevant and regular updates on all things eHealth, pulseitmagazine.com.au.

Sysmex is looking forward to HIC 2016 in Melbourne 25 – 27 July 2016.