Viewpoint: Be the change in global healthcare – key insights from HIMSS 2021…

Author : Eric Lind | Vice President of Commercial Operations & Business Development | Ultralife Corporation

01 January 2022

Ultralife URS-X5 at HIMSS 2021
Ultralife URS-X5 at HIMSS 2021

The global health IT & medical technology conference held by the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is a key date in the calendar of any healthcare professional. With the COVID-19 crisis & the pressures faced by healthcare organisations worldwide, 2021’s HIMSS show – the first since the start of the pandemic – was even more important in highlighting the technologies & lasting innovations that are reshaping healthcare.

This viewpoint was originally featured in the January 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Here, Eric Lind, Vice President of Commercial Operations & Business Development at medical battery manufacturer, Ultralife Corporation reviews some of the key takeaways from the 2021 conference...

Although August’s HIMSS21 conference maintained the same “be the change” theme as the planned March 2020 event, there’s no doubt that the message took on a decidedly different meaning in light of the last 18 months. The healthcare industry has been at the forefront of the pandemic response, which has meant that the sector has also experienced a surge of accelerated innovation and redefined practices.

Despite the recent pressures, Philips’ Future Health Index 2021 report indicated a positive outlook among healthcare leaders for the years ahead. This optimism was reflected in the atmosphere at HIMSS. The rapid innovation of 2020 showcased how resilient the sector can be, which has given many healthcare and MedTech businesses a renewed focus. This was succinctly summarised in an IBM Healthcare session, with company transformation leader, Kate Huey stating: “We saw things that would’ve taken us months and years that we pulled off in days and weeks.”

Hardware is at the heart of many of the healthcare sector’s rapid achievements. An interesting observation from the exhibition floor was that medical OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) were particularly active during the show. This is a natural consequence of greater healthcare digitalization, especially when it has been accelerated by as pressing an issue as a pandemic.

In recent years, much has been made of the digitalization of healthcare as far as sophisticated patient management software, enhanced diagnostic informatics and AI-powered platforms are concerned. However, it’s also important to recognise the advances in hardware that have made a difference on the frontline.

A prime example is the evolution of medical carts or workstations. These systems are becoming increasingly advanced for more effective point-of-care attention, with a range of computerised systems, powered devices and electronic documentation connected to a single cart. One workstation that was on show at HIMSS21, from Advantech, combines an all-in-one PC with a full HD digital scope and video conferencing software. This highlights the expanding role of medical carts in telehealth.

The sophistication of modern medical carts made Ultralife’s own stand at HIMSS an important and popular one for medical OEMs. HIMSS21 saw the first appearance of the new URS-X5 medical cart power system, a unique development that allows medical cart integrators to tailor the power system to the specific equipment needs used on the cart. The system was designed with the evolving needs of medical technology in mind, while balancing electrical performance with ease-of-operation for clinicians.

In addition to featuring up to two hot-swappable batteries, the X5 power system supports a hybrid configuration, in which hot-swap batteries can be paired with an embeddable U1 battery for longer runtimes. This flexibility allows the system to be suitable for numerous applications, which attracted plenty of attention from OEMs and visitors during the exhibition.

The reception of the X5 medical cart system at HIMSS21 was a firm success for Ultralife and a mark of confidence for the product. More than this, it also reinforces the importance of medical hardware in times of innovation. Making equipment and devices as effective, efficient and dependable as possible is vital to resilient healthcare, both during a pandemic and in the years to come.

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