HIMSS 22 EU is soon to begin. As some of the COVID-19 restrictions have eased, Europe’s largest IT health community is already buzzing about the opportunity to interact face-to-face in Helsinki.
The conference welcomes health providers, suppliers, senior executives, IT and customer experience in healthcare experts to share expertise and know-how on healthcare digitisation and health technology solutions. 
We’ve gathered our take on what to look for during HIMSS 22 EU. Driven by the current market environment and health IT challenges, there’s no doubt some of the most anticipated sessions will focus on digital maturity and transformation, workforce empowerment and artificial intelligence. 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Digital maturity and transformation is becoming a prime focus when planning for the foreseeable future
The 2020 pandemic prompted leaders to embrace an unseen digital transformation. About 63% of the survey participants say they’ve embraced digital transformation earlier than originally planned because of COVID-19.  This is true for the health systems across the globe, widely considering digital capabilities as a path to fundamentally transform their relationship with customers.
However, only 60% of health system tech executives rate their organisation as midway through their digital transformation journey. It is indeed a complex road, having to overcome many challenges in calculating the value of the initiatives, as well as the return on the investment in them. 
Understanding and solving these challenges is vital for the overall success of the process. Spending on digital transformation has significantly grown to surpass the 1.3 trillion USD mark and is likely to continue on a double-digit YoY growth path. 
Participants will take advantage of several sessions and workshops on digital transformation, widening the perspective on digitisation and its importance in the post-pandemic years.
Workforce empowerment will widen the digital skills in healthcare
Digital maturity is poised to transform health systems and the relationship with their customers. Although the pandemic presented a huge opportunity for such transformation to take place, it has also exposed a widening digital skill gap in the healthcare workforce.
Looking at Europe and the US, these gaps are persistent within countries, between regions and even across different professions. “Very often in many European countries digital tools are actually available, but they are not taken up to the extent we would like to see because there are large skills gaps in the health workforce.” – Matthias Wismar. 
The digital skill gap needs addressing urgently should digital transformation ever succeed. Failing to do so will undoubtedly delay the process, whilst increasing the associated investment costs. According to Dirk Van der Steen, Deputy Head of Unit at the Directorate for Health and Food Safety, the EU is actively developing policies to empower health workers’ digital skills, which is also part of the Pact for Skills (2020), aiming to promote digital learning across all sectors of the economy. 
HIMMS 22 EU participants will benefit from an array of sessions, speaking about work empowerment. We will keep a close eye on one particular session: ”Enabling Digital Champions”, where business leaders from across Europe will share their take on how to support clinicians and their teams to better understand, trust and capitalise on new technology. 
What are the barriers that keep AI from global adoption in healthcare
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is yet again a big part of the HIMSS 22 conference agenda. It powers a radical move to precision and driving actionable insights from enormous and varied data sets, whilst driving accurate service delivery, reducing clinical variations and prompting disease prevention. AI is already finding its place in today’s health systems, showing promising results in image-based diagnosis, radiology and dermatology surgery, patient monitoring and many others. 
Despite the increasing hype, AI still doesn’t have as wide adoption as needed to see a visible impact on health systems globally.  Patients’ and providers’ trust is by far one of the biggest barriers to AI adoption. Some of the other key obstacles on the road to successfully deploying AI on a global level are:
- existing skill gap in the workforce
- data integration
- patients’ comfort
- data privacy concerns.
As long as trust issues hold patients and providers back, we will continue to face high barriers that keep the full technology potential out of reach.  These adoption obstacles will be the key topics discussed during HIMSS 22 EU. The main aim of those discussions is to help provide insights that would help remove the barriers and foster an environment where AI can power the patient journey and demonstrate how healthcare can be transformed.
- HIMMS EU 2022 (HIMMS.org)
- Alice Chambers, HIMSS event to explore healthcare digitisation and technology solutions (TechnologyRecord.com, 22/04/2022)
- Digital Maturity (Performance Improvement Partners)
- Chuck Appleby, John Hendricks, Janice Wurz, Chris Shudes, Christine Chang, Maulesh Shukla, Digital Transformation in Healthcare (Deloitte, 26/10/2021)
- PeerBits Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Trends, Challenges & Their Solutions(PeerBits, 28/02/2022)
- Addressing the Workforce Digital Skills Gap in Europe (Healthcare IT News, 14/03/2022)
- HIMMS Session: Workforce Empowerment, Enabling Digital Champions (HIMSS22)
- Avi Goldfarb, Florenta Teodoridis, Why is AI Adoption in Health Care Lagging? (Brookings.edu, 09/03/2022)
- Martha Wyatt, Barriers to AI in Healthcare (GreenBook, 13/10/2021)