HIMSS and HERS – On The Cusp Of Something Big

HIMSS 2014 just wrapped up in Orlando. My 4th HIMSS in 6 years, I found the usual: crowded, vendor centric, sterile massive location. Food was costly and not healthy. My feet hurt. Typical, right?

But there were also diamonds, too – real signs of great things emerging. Namely, more women, more patient & consumer focus, and maturing capabilities where new models of care will blossom. Here’s some thoughts..


1. Women are in the Health IT House!
We’re hearing from, and following more women in #Health IT – and it’ll keep going. Artist, Patient Advocate & worldwide speaker Regina Holliday set up her easel at the Connected Patients and Families Center and said, “Why HIMSS? What about HERS?” Reggie always reminds us of who we are and where we need to go. Her painting is comical while it cuts to the chase!

Former Secretary and Senator Hillary Clinton gave a rousing plenary to a packed crowd, talking about her healthcare journey and boosting attendees’ confidence that the health IT field will help improve health care while making it easier for patients and families to have a better experience. I’m optimistic but worry about HIT adding costs, something she didn’t mention. I suspect most of us were surprised when she gave us insightful fireside comments on geopolitical events. She ended by reminding us that women have come along way, but work is far from done. She recently launched No Ceilings, a project to support full participation of women and girls in the 21st century.
HIMSS clinton
Many other women champions and thought leaders were at HIMSS14, too many to list. A few in the public sector include the VA’s Theresa Cullen, ONC’s Judy Murphy and Lygeia Ricciardi, and of course new National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo. In the private sector, women leaders such as Humetrix CEO Bettina Experton are fierce and visionary but way too scarce.

More to Go: We need more women leading HIT companies, on Boards and advisory teams. Men: Hilary Clinton said that everyone plays a role and that everyone benefits!

2. Patients and Caregivers pounded the HIMSS Runway.
The Connected Patients and Families Learning Gallery was incredible. In the vendor area was significant square footage, carpet, lounge chairs, a big screen and continuous presentations. Consumer Voice is still modest compared to Big Software, Big Hardware and Big Data…but it is getting watered! With HIMSS also announcing the Connected Patient Committee – participatory design is set to grow. HIMSS Senior Director Mary Grizkowitz has been a passionate leader driving Patient Voice and participatory medicine at HIMSS. Other champions include Kate Berry, Leslie Kelly-Hall, Kate Christensen, Laura Adams and so many others. 
HIMSS Connected Patient view

More to Go: Connected Patients & Families gets a central location inside the Vendor area, co-located with patient-facing tools. 

3. Data exchange is finally trickling down to the consumer. I spend time learning what people want from health care and thinking about solutions to meet these needs. Consumers, patients and families don’t necessarily say ‘I need a list of my meds and allergies’ but do say, ‘help me take care of myself, and don’t make it hard for me to get information.’ A big part of that is health record access – shared records. ePatient Dave DeBronkart gave a talk Let My Data Go! in the Interoperability tent == a very high visibility area at HIMSS. He adeptly advocated for Blue Button and OpenNotes. Way to go, Dave!

More to Go:
all I can say is, Move Over Moses – Let our data go (and be entered!)

There was so much information and chats at HIMSS (and HERS!) that it’ll take time to digest, review and follow-up. At least my feet are OK now, and I just had a salad for dinner. 🙂

Regina Holiday’s slides can be found here.

Danny van Leeuwen and MaryAnne Sterling’s slides focused on Caregiver Contributions can be found here.

2 thoughts on “HIMSS and HERS – On The Cusp Of Something Big

  1. epatientdave

    I can’t believe that with all the favorable tweets about this great post, nobody’s say “Woohoo!” or something more erudite! 🙂

    I’ll start: YES!

    Even better, let’s create a wall chart somewhere that graphs the number of patient voices who’ve spoken at HIMSS! 10 points for speaking in the big hall, 1 point for a breakout room, and a half point for an extra-cost symposium that people have to pay extra to attend.

    Then let’s requisition a budget tally of how much they’re spending, in expenses and also in speaker fees, to support those patient voices in being there!

    And then let’s have a separate tally for how many patient voices are there with vendor support. (I got some support, for a private lunch session Monday, from Orion Health, who was one of my happier speaking clients last fall.)

    My goal is to bring sunlight to the question of whether they’re involving patient voices “Because we have to” or whether they actually patient voices as a strategically important part of the future.

    The conference itself sent me two separate invitation letters to speak at Sunday pre-events, one of which offered no fee but reimbursement for a one way plane ticket. Obviously I’m not impressed yet, but I do applaud the signs of movement in the right direction. Now that we’re in the red zone, let’s score!

  2. Sue Post author

    Thanks, Dave! I agree about your scoring – with pre-conference sessions coming in much lower. I think having travel budgets and square footage in the vendor area are measures of true support. It’s hard to cover all the exhibits to determine which do/don’t face the consumer – but we can divide and conquer, and map out how we rise out of the “less than 1%” on the carpet…

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