HIMSS 2018 returned to the bustling city of Las Vegas for the first time since 2016 determined to keep their promise of being “where the world connects for health”.  Drawing in guests from around the world, HIMSS is the premiere conference for those working in the healthcare technology space. With a focus on innovation, interoperability, and top tier education, HIMSS is the perfect networking opportunity for those focused on disrupting the market and shifting the paradigm of healthcare across the globe.

As an organization, HIMSS has a strong membership of 70,000 individual members, 630 corporate members, and 450 non-profit organizations. HIMSS operates all-year round and publishes a monthly newsletter. The conference itself hosts over 40,000 guests – which means it can sometimes be overwhelming to first timers, and even seasoned attendees. Luckily, Managing Director Jeanmarie Loria has mastered the art of walking the gargantuan Expo Hall while still making time for the various education sessions HIMSS18 offers.

The nature of HIMSS is to release innovations, announce upcoming initiatives, and to demo new technologies that are being released. This means that many attendees come with newsworthy announcements, regulatory changes, and cutting-edge tools – and there are many of them. We’ve collected a few soundbites from our favorite presentations, announcements, and education sessions to make sure you’re staying current on your healthcare technology news. This is helpful to all those working in the healthcare industry, from software developers to physicians. Here we’ll cover everything from medical necessity to blockchain.

Here are just a few of many significant HIMSS18 soundbites.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced on Tuesday that CMS would be unveiling new initiatives for interoperability. These initiatives require certain revisions to current regulations. Verma announced that a complete overhaul of meaningful use is in the future, an announcement that elicited booming applause from HIMSS attendees.

Telemedicine will be used to care for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Dr. Shannan Moynihan, deputy chief of space and occupational medicine at the NASA Johnson Space Center, reported that this was the only viable solution, and would be used to supplement the medical supplies and devices already on board.

EHRs will begin to be leveraged more in the nation’s growing opioid crisis, as headed by Allscripts VP of Policy and Government Affairs, Leigh Burchell. EHRA (Electronic Health Record Association) has recently launched a task force that will invest time in determining how Health IT can be used to detect and combat opioid abuse.

Blockchain earned its very own education session at HIMSS18.On Wednesday, Brian Behlendorf (HyperLedger) and Corey Todaro (Hashed Health) provided attendees with a high-level overview of blockchain, its uses, and its shortcomings. This session emphasized the difference between blockchains and cryptocurrencies, two concepts that are often grouped together.

Population Health, virtual care, and telemedicine will continue to ascend the priority lists of CIOs across the globe as the benefits and risks of each continue to present themselves, according to one presentation put together by Becker’s Hospital Review and Optum.

For more HIMSS updates and insights, follow the Advize Health Twitter account.