HIMSS 2023 Debrief

Anil Markose Chief Strategy Officer
By: Anil Markose
Cyber Defense

Date: April 17-23

Location: Chicago, IL

Abacode Cybersecurity & Compliance wrapped up a successful week of meetings, learning, and networking at HIMSS 2023 last week! So, what did we see as we navigated the sea of nearly 40,000 attendees, and over 1,000 vendors (other than wild Starbucks lines)??

Top themes that popped out:

  • Healthcare Tech is on fire! Unlike many big tech conferences (Consumer Electronics Conference (100K+ attendees), RSA Security Conference (50K+ attendees), etc.) this is only focused on one sector. The number of attendees and vendors was impressive.
  • The healthcare sector is undergoing an accelerated digital transformation, focused heavily on the patient experience, and interoperability. We saw the following trends with vendors:

1. Data interoperability (mostly patient data records moving from system to system as a patient moves from provider to provider). This creates a need for cloud fabric to support many specialized applications, orchestration of repeated tasks like patient onboarding, and a focus on the patients’ digital experience.

2. Managing gig workers needs better resource management capabilities as well as better ways to measure productivity for remote specialists, like radiologists. Remote work is just the tip of the iceberg. Healthcare has a shortage of healthcare talent. As a result, specialists are freelancing across multiple provider systems, requiring an application layer to solve this gig economy challenge.

3. Connected medical devices continue to grow. We saw lots of AI-enabled devices, from geriatric care safety products to cancer treatment products. Everything had AI and was connected.

  • A noticeable amount of government/private partnership initiatives and focus. This is clearly a complicated sector with payer/provider interactions and how we make all this innovation affordable, so the government involvement at the conference was positive.


What did we not see clearly addressed:

  • Security appears to still be federated and in pockets. There are very large companies like GE, Siemens, Phillips, etc., but there are a lot smaller tech companies applying AI and disruptive tech to complex health issues. The movement of Personal Health Information (PHI) across a sea of disproportional security capabilities could create lots of opportunities for attackers with an interest in PHI. (Abacode presented on Third Party Risk, and this session was well attended, and a hot topic).
  • If we thought explaining security in the language of the business was complicated in financial services or retail, let me tell you, healthcare takes the cake! I sat in a few presentations given by medical doctors talking about how some tech applications work, and the “business” was another language. We will need more doctors, nurses, and health professionals to move into security and tech to help bridge that business acumen.
  • As a follow-up to my last point, this sector felt like it had a large talent gap in the “business” of healthcare, but also in people that could also speak security or tech. This sector will need to look at creative ways to address this issue as cost pressure and competition for talent continues.

Abacode is already excited about HIMSS 2024 in our home state of Florida! Off to the next conference!