View from the Bridge

Prepare to visit HIMSS2019 – Health IT’s Magic Kingdom

The annual HIMSS Conference is upon us.  The big question is how to prepare.  First step is to visit the HIMSS19 website to review the schedule.  Next get comfortable shoes.  Then make sure your personal fitness tracker will measure your steps and minutes of exercise for the purposes of explaining to family and friends just how hard you worked at the conference.

HIMSS19 is an ORE – Opportunity Rich Environment. Time management is a real challenge.  There are so many parallel activities that you must plan your time carefully and be prepared to change your plans at the last minute based on who and what you see, both expected and unexpected.  I have found it useful to work with colleagues to split up meetings and tasks to ensure that the team gets maximum exposure.  Plan now for a post-event knowledge sharing activity.

At no other time will so many of your vendors be in one place at the same time.  Make appointments now with your key vendors and create an agenda to make sure you manage time and get to the desired outcomes quickly.  Many of your vendors’ key decision-makers will be on site.

Meet with StarBridge Advisors.  We would be thrilled to meet with you to discuss the potential to help you and your organization.  Briefly, we focus on interim management, advisory services, and mentoring/coaching.  Our seasoned advisors, all of whom have spent the bulk of their careers in the healthcare provider space as CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, CMIOs, and CNIOs, can give you additional “leadership bandwidth” to move your initiatives forward.

Get to the HIMSS spectacular must-see opening session early.  There are great keynotes, all worth attending.  Choose carefully. You’ll want to hear Hal Wolf who will moderate the opening keynote, “Will Consumer-Directed Exchange Disrupt the Healthcare Marketplace?” on Tuesday, February 12, 8:30-10:00 am with a great group of panelists.

With more than 45,000 attendees, you’ll want to visit the Events link to see how you can take advantage of the networking events.  Connecting with old friends and making new friends are some of the best reasons to attend HIMSS19.

Professional development is a hallmark of the event.  Opportunities for education abound.  If you need continuing education (CE), do as suggested on the CE link: “Earn CE credits and keep your certification up-to-date.

There are dozens of tracks  on the HIMSS conference website organized by themes and audiences.  There is something there for every attendee including those lucky first timers who are in for an experience like none other.  You should visit the HIMSS19 tracks link to help you organize and focus your efforts, whether you’re doing so by interest or by role.

If you have time, I will be presenting “Opportunities in the Rapidly Changing HIT Environment” at Session #4 on February 11 from 1:00 to 2:00 and hosting a mentor roundtable on “Future of the Industry” at 3:15 as part of the Career Development track. Another StarBridge Advisors principal, Sue Schade, will be presenting at the Health Technology Alliance (HTA) session on February 13 from 9:00 to 9:45 on the importance of IT having a strong relationship with their Health Technology Management (HTM) department. Sue will also be one of the facilitators at the Mentor Meetup on February 14 from 10:00 to 11:00 hosted by Women in Health Information and Technology Roundtable.  The topic is “Breaking the Glass Ceiling to Enter the C-Suite.”

Don’t overdo – reserve some personal time on your schedule during the event for contemplation to ensure you’re digesting what you’ve seen and heard. Do some homework – prepare questions for both presentations, demonstrations, and meetings.  The people you visit will appreciate your genuine interest.

Steady yourself and walk around the vendor floor.  It may take multiple visits.  See existing and new vendors.  So many new products and services are announced.  You will learn, see progressions and upgrades you could not have predicted, and get great ideas to take back home.  Be honest with your booth host about your interest in their products or services or lack thereof.  It will save both of you time in the future.

Before you leave a booth or as you’re walking by others, be sure to thank the people working the booths.  It’s not easy and often the efforts of the booth staff are underappreciated.

Find the policy makers who will be in attendance and go to their sessions.  They are interested in the impact of existing policy and new policies under consideration.  Help them understand the impact of their proposals and ideas on your operations, both positive and negative.  They are simultaneously privileged and burdened to be the arbiters between many different constituencies, often a daunting balancing act.  Your input is critical.  Remember they are focused on the greater good.

Finally, make sure you smile often and enjoy the fact that we’re fortunate to be Health Information and Management System professionals.

HIMSS has updated their social media guide and list of hashtags. Before, during and after the conference these hashtags are helpful as you focus on what you want to learn about and follow. The HIMSS social media ambassadors are already busy posting on Twitter and LinkedIn as are many others. They can help you prepare, keep up while there, and stay connected afterwards. Below are some of the threads that we will be following:

Sue’s picks:
#WomenInHIT – Women in Health IT – empowering women in health IT through recognition, resources, and access
#HITventure – Health IT Startups & New Ventures – nurturing new opportunities in health tech innovation
#Engage4Health – Patient Engagement

David’s picks:
#HITsecurity – Cybersecurity – progressing the conversation around health IT security to strengthen training, preparation and response techniques
#GovHIT – Government Health IT – bringing the public policy conversation to the forefront and showcasing legislative interests
#EmpowerHIT – Interoperability – discussing opportunities in achieving healthcare interoperability to advance effective delivery of care

Russ’s picks:
#Aim2Innovate Health IT Innovation – inspire innovation for better health IT solutions, care, and quality
#HITworks – Health IT Value – establishing a structure and vocabulary to discover and communicate the value of health IT – for all stakeholders
#HealthyMargins – Healthcare Finance Strategy – creating a patient-centered revenue cycle to increase payments, reduce collections, and boost customer loyalty

See you in Orlando! Pack your comfy walking shoes, pace yourself and stay hydrated.

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