HIMSS 2017 Recap by Tom Clark, VP of Operations at DCA

March 2, 2017

By Tom Clark, VP of Operations

I recently attended the 2017 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando. Initially, I was excited to go to Orlando to break away from the often brutal Cleveland winter, but to my surprise, when I returned to Cleveland, it was 75 degrees and sunny!  Aside from the great weather, HIMSS had everything from extensive networking opportunities, to cybersecurity and innovation experts doubling as Shark Tank stars on ABC, to presentations by former politicians.  Here is what I took note of at this year’s conference:

Increased CMIO Presence and Involvement:

Having worked for a physician led organization in my past, I know well the value of increased involvement from medical staff at the leadership level.  In particular, as our industry continuously evolves technologically, the role of Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) is expanding and more importantly, the best among them are intimately involved.

Cybersecurity:

As expected, cybersecurity was a popular theme at HIMSS. Not only can breaches affect data, analytics, and financials, but also patient safety in the end. Hospitals and health systems use Information Systems to function, and cyber-attacks could damage more than just their reputations. With this focus on cybersecurity, HIMSS was buzzing with strategies, and solutions to protect healthcare organizations from threats.  Again, the CMIOs were their weighing-in, learning and sharing.

Process Technologies:

Another theme at the conference was process technologies. We have been talking about it for many years, but we are well past building traction.  Chuck Spurr, CIO of Shields Health Care Group spoke at the Revenue Cycle Solutions Summit and discussed using Six Sigma for organizing processes and data in the constantly changing healthcare environment.  As a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt myself, it is always encouraging to see focus on these methodologies and tools.  Again, with respect to Process Technologies, we are seeing and hearing more from CMIOs.

Presentations:

I was able to see some interesting presentations at HIMSS 2017.  For example, CareTrail, a clinical communication and collaboration application combining messaging, on-call scheduling and task management was extremely innovative in their technology.  It was created by VisionIT in collaboration with Henry Ford Health System.  Once again, it was a CMIO that was involved in the collaboration on this.  I especially enjoyed the presentation and perspective of Dr. David Allard, CMIO, Henry Ford Hospital and Health Network.  With a focus on data at the conference, it was also interesting to hear Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the Cleveland Clinic, discuss connecting data to give patients the best possible experience, during a panel discussion on Using Data to Understand the Full Value of Patients.

Random Thoughts:

Wow, this conference was massive!  It sounded from colleagues going into it like attendance would be down, but it was still huge in terms of footprint and headcount.  Party on the Moon, the band that played at HIStalkpalooza, is terrific.  Ed Marx, Author of Extraordinary Tales of a Rather Ordinary Life, whom I recently had the pleasure of introducing as a Keynote Speaker at the Northern Ohio HIMSS Winter Conference at the Global Center for Health and Innovation, told me then how he enjoyed dancing.  Fast forward to HIStalkpalooza, and it was obvious that he enjoys dancing as much or more than HIT.  If you have seen any pictures, there were a lot of conference attendees trying their hand at line dancing following the awards at the House of Blues.  One of my colleagues, who gained a new appreciation for quality dress shoes, thinks he may have earned a stress fracture in his foot.  How many attendees hit their single day peak for steps?  The veterans schedule all their meetings in close geographic proximity.  Start scouting out your plan now for HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas.

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