It might not be the deal monster JPMorgan has become, but one could argue HIMSS is as important, and as noisy, as any other event in healthcare. Our intrepid colleagues Martin Entwistle, president and CEO of Ares Health Systems and Andrew Stevenson, executive director for GCMI braved HIMSS 2019. Their focus: demonstrating the market attractiveness of Ares’ MPower care coordination platform, supported by GCMI’s ability to accelerate the speed and capital efficiency with which digital medtech innovations are brought to market.

“HIMSS is always interesting because it’s a bellwether for what’s hot in people’s minds at that very moment,” Martin said. “Last year the major presentations surrounded AI and IBM Watson Health. This year it was very much government driven. CMS and ONC were clear in their directives, particularly on interoperability, using the HL7 FHIR standards and the removal of information blocking so patients can access and share all their health data at no cost to them.

“If you’re thinking of dismissing the shift in CMS’ leadership on the subject of interoperability and patient access to their data, you would probably be wrong. The best opportunity for tech to support the provision of care will lie in opportunities for coordination of care to drive efficiency.”

In anticipation of these changes, Ares partnered with Newwave, an IT vendor supporting a range of CMS programs, to integrate MPower with their MyCare AI personal data management app, designed to meet CMS directives to place patients in control of the access and sharing of their data. The joint solution demonstrated how collection, consent and clinical impact of patient data is achievable today.

While AI and blockchain were not fully absent from the discussion, the volume around those topics was certainly lower than the 2018 edition of HIMSS.

“That doesn’t mean those technologies are not important,” Martin says, “but this year we saw more focus on the solution for data analytics and data security to help the end user rather than the technologies themselves. Data interpretation through AI means you can do a lot of data mining of widespread data-sets without being an analyst. AI and blockchain solutions for healthcare that are value-focused entering the care continuum in the next 12 months represents a remarkable, valuable shift.”

Is what CMS wants what hospital systems, providers and patients need? Epic, Google, IBM, Facebook and others may own the cloud, but do they know what’s best for patients and their caregivers including providers?

“Start with users’ needs, define specifications, design, build and market the solution,” Andrew summarized. “It seems there are too many ‘products’ that aren’t adequately addressing the end users’ problems. CMS’ position on interoperability, patient data and care coordination, may indicate the opportunities for Ares’ MPower platform are bigger than previously thought.”

Ares Health Systems is the first digital health company to enter GCMI’s A1 Accelerator.

“There is no shortage of apps and data sources of potential value to patient care, but most remain disconnected from clinical management workflows,” Entwistle says. “MPower bridges that gap. There is a big difference in outcomes, quality scores and potentially reimbursement, when a clinician is alerted early that a patient is struggling with their care in the days and weeks following their doctor visit rather than being unaware there are issues until the next appointment possibly months later.

“We try to be very clear about solving providers’ problems today. How will you collect, organize and act upon data coming from patients? You know you need to do more, but providers are wisely reticent to deploy additional tools if they cannot organize large volumes of patient data. MPower provides interpreted information, the intelligence, not the background problem. You think you might be able to accomplish this in your existing EHR platform, but you know you can’t. MPower delivers by makes use of open APIs to integrate its capabilities with the clinical information systems already in use, which is exactly the approach CMS and the ONC a driving the healthcare sector to adopt.

“Of greatest value, our pilot partners tell us, is end-to-end to engagement that improves outcomes in the context of particular problems or diseases for which you get paid if you do it right. In the past 12 months, including interactions with providers and health systems executives at HIMSS 2019, we believe we now have solid market validation of our clinical and business model.”

Interested in the latest on AI and blockchain in healthcare? You will definitely want to check out the 2019 SEMDA Medtech Conference, which includes a keynote from Florence Hudson. You can find the program and registration information here.