What attendees want from vendors at AHIMA 17

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An expanded vendor hall is one of the draws for repeat attendees at this year’s American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) conference, being held in Los Angeles from Oct. 7-11. Attendees are expecting to find “anything that makes their job easier,” according to group’s vice president of health information management (HIM) practice excellence, Lou Ann Wiedemann, MS.

The more than 4,000 professionals expected to be in attendance at AHIMA can expect sessions to be focused on more advanced topics, not “foundational stuff,” Wiedemann said. The same can be said for the vendor halls, with attendees expecting to find products beyond another version of an electronic health record or patient portal. Examples may include products to make use of data collected by consumer-level wearables, like a Fitbit, or computer-assisted coding.

“I’ve got to go to my CFO with something that is a quick win or a ‘drop-the-mic’ type win. It’s got to be a no-brainer,” Weidemann told Clinical Innovation & Technology. “Don’t just show the same old transcription system and you can upload to your EHR.”

Attendees will want to know there’s a proven return on investment with new products. Vendors should be prepared to say how many physicians or hospitals are actually using the product, the rejection rate and how easily new software or hardware can be integrated into existing processes.

That’s not to say attendees aren’t interested in newer, more speculative products. Like it was at the HIMSS conference this year, artificial intelligence (AI) will be drawing a lot of interest—even if the technology isn’t really there yet.

“For healthcare, it is in its infancy,” Weidemann said. “I think it has great possibilities. There are still a lot of different moving parts that still have to be incorporated, but it will be interesting to see exactly where the latest and greatest are using (AI) and making it meaningful.”

Away from the show floor, keynote speakers at AHIMA will include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Don Rucker, MD, the chief of the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).