#HIMSS19 Buzzword of the Year – The Results Are In!

Written by: Brian Mack

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Brian Mack

Brian Mack

The 2019 HIMSS Conference

The annual HIMSS conference is the largest gathering of Health IT professionals in the world. The 2019 event is officially in the history books!

From February 11th – 15th 45,000 attendees gathered in Orlando, FL to attend more than 300 educational sessions and view the latest and greatest advancements in the industry presented by over 1,300 exhibitors. Considering the amount of planning and preparation that goes into this event, it’s hard to believe that conference week passes so quickly.

The annual HIMSS conference has an enormous impact on the collective consciousness of the Health IT industry. For the fifth consecutive year Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) has attempted to “check the pulse” of the business based on the dominant language or “buzzwords” that appear to be most prevalent among conference attendees, presenters, and vendors.

Our completely unscientific approach is simple. We create an online survey and invite the Health IT community at large to select up to three buzzwords they anticipate will be dominant. This year, we left the survey open and encouraged attendees to report what they were hearing DURING the conference as well.

Here at GLHC Mission Control, our team of data scientists (OK, just me actually) has painstakingly analyzed the statistical models (by “statistical models”, I mean my trusty pocket calculator) to bring you the results of GLHC’s #HIMSS19 Buzzword of the Year!


GLHC’s #HIMSS19 Buzzword of the Year

A total of 75 survey responses were received. (As an aside, this is a significant decline in participation over 2018, indicating that changes to next year’s survey may be merited to incentivize more robust participation.) Here are the results:

  • With a total of 19% the popular vote for HIMSS19 Buzzword of the Year goes to “Artificial Intelligence” (AI). AI was the 2nd runner up in the 2018 survey, and in this most recent iteration it unseats “Blockchain” which held the top spot in the popular vote for the previous two years.
  • Garnering 16% of support, “Social Determinants of Health” (SDOH) placed 2nd in this year’s GLHC survey.
  • “Interoperability” and “Patient Engagement” tied for 3rd place with 13% of the popular voting apiece.
  • 4th place was a three-way tie between “Analytics”, “Blockchain” (a precipitous fall from grace for the former favorite), and “Workflow”. Each managed just 8% support from survey respondents.
  • Bringing up the rear in the Top 5 vote getters was “TEFCA” with an anemic 4% of the total.


HIMSS19 Conference Website Buzzword of the Year

To provide some perspective, we take all of the terms included in the survey, and compare them to the frequency with which they appear on the HIMSS19 conference website, www.himssconference.org. Here are those results:

  • In 2019, the HIMSS community seems to be especially focused on “Analytics”, which appeared 544 times on the conference website. A total of 16% of the total.
  • Not to be ignored, and unsurprisingly, “Interoperability” maintains its perpetual presence in the HIMSS’ consciousness with a 2nd place, 15% finish for 2019, representing 489 mentions.
  • This year’s third place finisher according to HIMSS is somewhat more heartening. “Patient Experience” made a strong showing with 483 website references, or 14% of the total. Notably, this is the first time in the five years that GLHC has been conducting the Buzzword Survey that Patient Experience has even appeared in either the popular vote, or the HIMSS website analysis. This year it appeared in both!
  • In fourth place with 329 conference website appearances or 10% of the total is the word “Cloud”, as in cloud-computing or cloud-storage.
  • And rounding out the Top 5 2019 Buzzword nominees appearing on the HIMSS conference website is a 2-way tie between “Patient Engagement” with 296 mentions, and “Workflow” which appeared 314 times. As fractions of the total, each term represents 9%.


The Banished Buzzword

Each year within the survey, we like to include a bonus question: “What Health IT buzzword should be BANISHED from the industry lexicon forever?” As with the survey responses and website analysis, the responses to this question are always intriguing if not entirely illuminating:

  • 25% of those who replied listed “Interoperability” as the #1 word that should be exorcized from the industry’s vocabulary for eternity. This is at least the third time that Interoperability has appeared both in the Top 5 list of predicted Buzzwords, and in the Top 5 words to be eliminated. And yet, it persists…
  • Dealing another blow to the recent industry darling, “Blockchain” tied for 2nd with “Disruptive” and “Patient-Centered” in the Eternal Banishment category, registering 13% of responses each. By way of explanation, one respondent who chose “patient-centered” for removal explained that they believe healthcare that is NOT already patient centered is a contradiction in terms. It is also worth mentioning that while Blockchain may have fallen on hard times among survey respondents, its presence at the annual HIMSS conference continues to increase year-over-year. In 2017, there were just 9 Blockchain references on the HIMSS conference website. That number climbed to 79 mentions in 2018. But in 2019, the term appeared 102 times!
  • The remaining terms submitted for removal from our collective industry glossary all tied with 6% of the vote apiece and include “Fax”, “Data Mining”, “Insight”, “EMR”, “Sustainable”, and “Leverage”.


Brian’s Buzzword

Leaning on my experience as an attendee representing GLHC at the 2019 HIMSS conference, I would like to name a Buzzword on our behalf.

This year my pick is a term that I believe captures the overarching theme of #HIMSS19, though it is not even directly tech related … “Oversight”. Specifically, the governmental regulatory variety.

It is now common knowledge that the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their long-anticipated and massive “Proposed Rule on Interoperability and Information Blocking” just in time for the 2019 HIMSS conference. The announcement was skillfully timed to correspond with the opening keynote session of the HIMSS19 Preconference Symposium on Interoperability and Health Information Exchange.

Not surprisingly, the morning keynote was co-presented by Steven Posnack, Executive Director of the ONC Office of Technology, and Elise Sweeney Anthony, Executive Director of the ONC Office of Policy, two of the primary architects of the proposed rule. Given the timing of the release and the 750+ page length of the document, it was virtually impossible for anyone at the conference to compose an informed reaction while the entire industry was gathered in Orlando. But there is NO DOUBT, that the presence of this proposal for new Federal OVERSIGHT permeated every aspect of the conference.

Until next year! Thanks again to all those who contributed to determining the #HIMSS19 Buzzword of the Year!


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