HIMSS new CEO Hal Wolf acknowledges ‘silver tsunami’ healthcare effects, changes

HIMSS has a new CEO at the helm–Hal Wolf, succeeding Steve Lieber, who stepped down after 17 years as announced in December 2016. In this interview with Healthcare IT News (owned by HIMSS), Mr. Wolf finally acknowledges that HIMSS and healthcare IT leaders will have to adjust their approaches to HIT to support the world’s aging population and keep their organizations going financially. Using the term ‘silver tsunami’ (a tired term long since retired by writers), he posits that “We must recognize that healthcare systems are going to be financially strapped. We have a lot of people living longer and there are going to be fewer people producing GDP.” The odd order–first–of this financially-oriented statement in the article sets the stage for the rest, which is at once reassuring (he’s a big supporter of ‘patient-at-home’, connected devices, and predictive modeling with genomic data) and disconcerting (supply chain automation and purchasing). Perhaps his fiscal emphasis is based on his consulting, WHO, and Kaiser Permanente experience. At the end, the comments roll back to HIMSS education, networking, and their role in public policy including blockchain and FDA. Not addressed: whether this new CEO is as acquisition-minded as his predecessor, with Health 2.0 perhaps the cap to Mr. Lieber’s long reign. 

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