HIMSS16 organizers share exhibit hall highlights, educational opportunities and ways to optimize your time

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 - Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, 22nd Secretary of Health & Human Services
Source: HHS.gov

The annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition has always aimed to address the latest concerns and challenges facing health IT and this year is no different, featuring presentations and keynotes from some of the major players in healthcare (and a guest appearance by one of the most famous players in the NFL).

This year’s opening keynote address will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell is “someone we knew was really important for our audience to hear from,” said JoAnn Klinedinst, HIMSS vice president of professional development, who talked with Clinical Innovation + Technology to preview the conference.

Burwell’s talk will be followed by a fireside chat with Dell President and CEO Michael Dell, who in 1992 was the youngest CEO to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500. Dell’s range of IT services and solutions includes tablets, PCs, software and infrastructure making the company “a major player in the healthcare IT space,” said Klinedinst.

Also providing keynote addresses are recently crowned Superbowl champ Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Jonah Berger, PhD, marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the recent New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Berger will help attendees learn how to “go back and pitch the value of health IT,” said Klinedinst. “Sometimes it’s not easy to do because it’s very costly and very resource-heavy. We’re looking forward to having him.”

Ten preconference symposia will be held on Monday, Feb. 29, offering attendees the chance to do a deep dive into a particular topic area such as cybersecurity, innovation and new payment models. Attendees also can attend one of two workshops on Thursday, March 3: Cybersecurity Hygiene and EMRAM—The Journey to Stage 7. In the past, workshops were held at the same time as the preconference symposia so Malone said they hope that moving them will allow more people to attend.

Attendees can choose from 308 general education sessions during 17 time slots. Views from the Top topics include clinical informatics, precision medicine, data sharing and applying cognitive computing to population health, said Karen Malone, HIMSS vice president of meeting services.

Klinedinst named several of her favorite sessions, including Leveraging the HIMSS Value Suite in Your Strategic Planning. This is critical because the industry has never had a way to equate value to the millions and millions being spent to implement and maintain health IT.

Session 149, 7 Essentials in Clinical Informatics Adoption, features a case study by CHRISTUS Health on how they identified and described the seven most critical strategic and operational contributors to successful systematic implementation.

Another session, CMIO and CIO: Partners in Optimization and Transformation, brings together the CMIOS and CIOs of Cleveland Clinic and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Session 231, International Exchange and Crisis Support, will cover new roles for HIEs. Speakers from southeastern Pennsylvania will discuss two events that led to better support when disasters and crises occur. An Amtrak crash happened outside of Philadelphia which led to chaos because little was in place to handle patients and inquiries. Nine months later, the pope was scheduled to visit the city. A nonprofit organization was formed to put in place a program that helps everyone prepare medically and physically for similar situations.

National coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, and acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt also will present the latest regarding health IT at 5:30 p.m. on March 1. There will be two encores of this session to provide attendees with a choice. “So much goes on during the week that folks literally can’t get to all of it,” said Klinedinst.

Attendees can expect to see the synergy of several topics across the three pillars of the HIMSS conference—education, exhibition and networking, said Klinedinst. Numerous sessions across the 17 different categories will touch on interoperability, for example. People want to do a combination of all the offerings, from preconference symposia to educational sessions to opportunities on the exhibit hall floor, and the organizers have worked hard to make that happen.

Attendees also have the option this year of earning continuing education credits for the clinical informatics credential from the American Board of Preventive Medicine. “Up until now, they’ve really had few places where they could get clinical informatics training. We’re offering 170 sessions to choose from which will be available on demand after the conference. We’re very excited to be able to offer this,” said Malone.

The exhibit hall has plenty to offer attendees including the Interoperability Showcase and the Federal Health IT Pavilion. New this year are population health and revenue cycle management knowledge centers.

Visitors of the HX360 Innovation Pavilion can learn more about leading health tech startup companies and view firsthand demos of cutting-edge products addressing the patient as consumer, chronic care and behavioral health, long-term and post-acute care and operations. This area for the first time will feature 3D Printing Row where visitors can join industry leaders as they demonstrate their technologies around bioprinting of living cells, medical device design and preoperative planning. 

With privacy and security top of mind, the HIMSS Cybersecurity Command Center will offer several challenges, companies that can help organizations strengthen their security programs and 28 educational sessions.

This and much more is available for HIMSS16 attendees, so rest up and be sure to bring some comfortable shoes.