Viewpoint

Health Insurers in the House at HIMSS ’16 Meet

Jan Greene

Among the nearly 42,000 people thronging the halls of the HIMSS meeting in Las Vegas this week are relative handfuls of folks from the nation’s health insurance industry. Presumably drawn by the increasing role of health IT in payers managing their members’ health and health costs, several companies were particularly prominent on the registration roster.

Kaiser Permanente has more than 300 people on the ground in Vegas, and has a booth set up in the exhibit hall showing off its Virtual Visits telehealth project featuring a faux doctor beamed in from New York.

The second biggest health plan contingent appears to be from Cigna, with 27 attendees, ranging from the company’s chief medical information officer to someone describing himself simply as “healthcare techie”.

Humana has a modest presence with a team of 18 technologists, strategists and executives.

There’s less than 10 people from industry giant, UnitedHealthcare, and a dozen or so from Aetna. An Aetna spokesperson said the crew was there because the health plan wants to use health IT to give providers greater insight into their patients.

The health IT extravaganza wraps up on tomorrow, much to the relief of the local broadband network, which was stretched beyond its limits on the second day of the conference, leaving the tens of thousands of healthcare’s IT elites distressingly untethered from a wi-fi lifeline.

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