HIMSS16: CMIOs share what brought them to Vegas

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 - HIMSS12
Source: Oscar Einzig Photography for HIMSS

The annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition attracts tens of thousands of attendees with educational sessions, networking events, a bustling exhibit hall and more. CMIO.net asked HIT leaders to share their their thoughts on highlights from the conference.

What are you most looking forward to seeing, learning or doing at HIMSS16?

Kevin W. McEnery, MD, director of innovation in imaging informatics, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston: For physicians, traditionally HIMSS has been a meeting to interact with colleagues as well as learn about new vendor offerings to fill areas of local problems. It will be interesting to observe whether “the vibe” of HIMSS for physicians maintains for those who have chosen to become IT board-certified and need to earn maintenance CME credit.

What do you think will be the major themes this year and why?

John Lee, MD, CMIO of Edward Hospital, Naperville, Ill.: Population health, interoperability, analytics and telehealth. Specifically, how mature are the actual offerings? In the past, these have been full of promise but short on delivery. My impression is that population health is well on its way to making an impact, interoperability is moving along, but analytics and telehealth are both still in relative infancy. The problem is that, in my opinion, the infrastructure and the vision of the latter two are still far removed from reality and I get the impression that the developers of these offerings are still thinking Apple Newtons when the goal is an iPhone.

I also am looking forward to seeing more mature technology that will take unstructured data (aka: text) and make it usable to HIT professionals who can consume and mold it into usable tools for clinical end-users. I feel that vendors like Nuance, M*Modal, 3M and Qpid are inching closer to closing this loop.

McEnery: It will be interesting to observe the themes that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continues or broadens in the “post-MU era.” 

I anticipate that system interoperability will continue to be an ever-growing focus as it also feeds population management, predictive analytics and machine-driven (deep learning, etc.) decision support.

Finally, as systems have spent millions (in some cases billions) of resources installing EMR systems, I expect there will be an increasing focus on optimization, value and decreasing overall cost of health delivery infrastructure. The best place to get a pulse of what’s next would be to visit the areas of the show where start-ups are housed.

What do you think is the most valuable part of HIMSS and why?

Lee: While I do avail myself of the education sessions and interacting with vendors on the floor, I find that it has been increasingly difficult to find the signal in all the noise (both figuratively and literally). I find that the most valuable activities during the week are having the informal conversations with presenters, vendors and other peers. These often occur by happenstance because there is a high concentration of like-minded individuals in a small geographic area. However, I also suffer from vendor fatigue. I have stopped answering my office phone unless it is a number on the caller ID that I recognize.

One added bonus this year is that I will be accruing MOC credit for clinical informatics. While this isn't the primary reason to attend HIMSS, MOC credit has been difficult to come by and it is a bonus to earn these credits while attending this year.

McEnery: The ability to get the most up-to-date information on any aspect of healthcare IT–between the established vendors and the start-up companies, every aspect of healthcare IT has a presence at HIMSS.