HIMSS12: Sessions and Connections

HIMSS12HIMSS12 is a big event, an understatement in so many ways. It is a time when a community comes together:  vendors, health IT teams, and many others who participate in and influence the healthcare industry. From a vendor perspective, there is a lot of work that goes into the show, ensuring everything goes as flawlessly as possible and setting the opportunity to interact with customers and prospects. From a participant perspective, there is an opportunity to learn a great deal and network with colleagues. It all comes together for one week at HIMSS.

For me, it is a balance between exhibit time and attending some sessions. Although it would be great to just focus on the educational sessions, it is a unique opportunity to see both sides of the conference.

Here are the workshops and topics I am looking forward to:

  • ACO Symposium: Health IT – Connecting Systems, Connecting People, Changing Care. With the “new” direction with Accountable Care Organizations, gaining further insights into how it may all come together, especially from an infrastructure standpoint, will be interesting. An underlying foundation of people, processes, and technology will need to be firmly in place as a patient moves through a continuum of care.
  • General Sessions. Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter, and Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will be on the top of my list. I believe Twitter is an engaging communication channel for health IT, and it has served healthcare well in fostering discussions, sharing information, and raising awareness. From patients to IT professionals, it is a powerful enabler. Similarly, Dr. Mostashari is driving health IT changes through Meaningful Use incentive programs and Federal grants. Hearing the latest will be very relevant to all in healthcare.
  • Educational Sessions. There are so many to choose from, but some of the ones at the top of my list include:  Achieving Meaningful Use by Linking Disparate Systems, Connecting EHRs to HIEs, How Digitizing Humans Reboots the Future of Medicine, and Improving Long-Term Care Transitions with HIE. The summary reason on why these three sessions – healthcare is about change and connections, and we need to be ready to embrace and exchange.

Here are two special sessions I wish I could attend:

  • Connecting Consumers with their Healthcare. From personal standpoint, I want to see patients more involved in their healthcare. I want to see physicians working with patients as partners in their care. This special session sits squarely with things I am personally passionate about and have written about.
  • eCollaboration Forum. Healthcare is about collaboration, and we need to support this through technology and mindset shifts. This is one of the dynamic areas of our market, and it is one that I will have to follow through their Twitter hashtag – #eCollab12.

It is about balancing the experience and responsibility. Consequently, I will just need to absorb the missed sessions through other means, like social media. This leads us to my final pre-HIMSS12 thought – Connections.

Health IT social media is about connections and community. One aspect I am most enthused about is the opportunity to connect with the many members of the #HITsm community. We have been doing #HITsm Twitter chats for over a year now and, during HIMSS, I will be able to meet a few more participants in person. The social media connections are invaluable in the exchange of information, ideas, and insights, yet it is the real, in-person connection that makes it all a little more tangible and personal.

HIMSS started the Social Media Center last year, and they did a great job in the panels and the discussions. As we enter into the HIMSS Social Media Center 2012, my excitement is greater, largely because the community has grown and become a very active voice in various healthcare conversations. The HIMSS12 team has put together an excellent schedule centered on social media so please join me in attending many of the panel discussions here.

HIMSS12 is an energizing and exhausting time, yet it is an important occasion to come together to enjoy the time, learn from people doing the work, and engage in meaningful conversations to make our healthcare system better… patients like all of us depend on IT!

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Jon Mertz serves as the editor at HL7Standards.com and vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Jon is an advocate for strong patient engagement in their health and understands the key roles health literacy, patient data, and healthcare interoperability play in developing a better health care model. Follow Jon on Twitter.