HIMSS16: Healthcare innovation a hot topic at conference sessions, exhibits and events

Given that the healthcare industry is so often criticized for lagging behind when it comes to embracing new technologies and adopting new ideas, there are an awful lot of stories about innovation on the FierceHealthIT site. From multi-million dollar investments in healthcare innovation companies to increasingly loud calls for CIOs to shift their focus to innovation, it's clearly a trending buzzword in the business.

But what does "innovation" really mean?

A bevy of sessions at this year's HIMSS convention in Las Vegas offer a glimpse into how the healthcare industry defines innovation and what health IT leaders are doing to foster it--with a heavy emphasis on words like "evolve" and "emerging" and phrases like "next-generation" and "disruptive technology."

A sampling of sessions in the innovation track:

Innovation Success: Identify the Impacts and Manage Results will explore the importance of planning for transformation and managing innovative changes. It will cover how data and business intelligence affect clinical change and the impact of innovation on current and future work processes. It takes place Tuesday, March 1, at 10 a.m.

Innovative Quality Improvement for Vulnerable Populations will take a case study approach to explore the foundational elements required to drive improved outcomes for vulnerable populations. It takes place Tuesday, March 1, at 1 p.m.

Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation Technology Process and Examples is a poster session that will offer concise, easy-to-implement methods to health health IT leaders jump-start employees' creative potential, involve them in the collaborative process and pave the way to the future of sustainable innovation. Presented by Paul Nordlund, senior project manager at the center, it takes place March 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Finally, what's a track on innovation without mention of Super Mario Bros. and Tetris? Gamification: The Synergies in Health and Games promises to cover "approaches and applications for leveraging game elements to increase engagement and build interdisciplinary, targeted health interventions with meaningful outcomes for different populations." Check it out on Thursday, March 3, at 2:30 p.m.

Special innovation exhibits and events

In a section of the show's massive exhibit hall, an "innovation pavilion" will feature more than 75 start-up companies, accelerator hubs focused on organizations that are "incubating new technologies" and a contemporary provider showcase. Key themes include patient consumers, chronic care and post-acute and long-term care.

Visit the second annual HX360 Innovation Pavilion in booths 1-99, level 3.

An Intelligent Health Pavilion, meanwhile, will offer demonstrations of products and presentations and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including the Internet of things, connected health, digital health and mHealth. You can find the Pavilion at booth 11655 in exhibit Hall G; events are scheduled Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Another special exhibit will focus on 3-D printing technology, billed as "the next great innovative leap forward in health technology." Check it out in the Veronese meeting room.

There's also a three-day "Innovation Leaders Program" for providers, clinicians, technologists, investors and entrepreneurs that promises to offer attendees a deeper understanding of how providers are addressing contemporary challenges in healthcare, including how they're investing in technologies to improve clinical care and operations, partnering with technology vendors and evolving their business models to sustain innovation. It kicks off on Feb. 29 at 9 a.m.

That's not to be confused with the Innovation Forum on Tuesday, March 1. Three sessions in the forum will focus on EMR optimization, the impact of innovation success and "A VHA Disruptive Innovation for Pragmatic Interoperability." The latter will show how health IT leaders can combine semantic interoperability with point of care usability to drive efficiency and how next-generation health IT tools can provide seamless and flexible interfaces across system boundaries. The forum runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.