A HiMSS16 Primer

by Rasu Shresthra, MD, MBA 


rasu_headshot_cmiochatThe annual HIMSS conference is seen as the “Superbowl” of the Health IT industry. The conference brings together over 40,000 health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world, hungry to learn from one another, with an appetite to connect, collaborate and learn. The conference is seen as an annual pilgrimage for many – a “must attend” event due primarily to the high value that can be attained in a condensed period of time. Whether this is your first HIMSS conference or whether you are a regular, the one hallmark of a successful conference is planning.


So let’s chat about what you may expect from #HIMSS16. And let’s together plan to make this a particularly meaningful one.


HIMSS promises to offer a showcase of cutting-edge health IT products and services, remarkable networking opportunities and world class educational content with an inspiring line up of sessions, talks, keynotes and workshops.


And then, there are the announcements and press releases, each trying to one up the other. The news of the demise of Meaningful Use may have been premature. This was sparked by a comment last month at the JP Morgan Conference made by a top CMS official (Andy Slavitt) when he said that “the meaningful use program as it has existed will now effectively be replaced by something better.” Will HIMSS16 attendees be able to get more clarity around what this “something better” really means for them? Or will we come back with an alphabet soup of questions on how MU will be integrated with PQRS (Physician Quality Reporting System) and MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act), which in turn will be based on the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs)?


Will we see large strides in vendors and providers scaling the interoperability mountain? What about patient engagement? Is cloud, analytics or information security going to be top of mind for most? Will there be interesting innovations around wearables, sensors, big data and the IoT?


Keynotes are always a big draw at HIMSS. The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell, are both set to deliver keynote speeches at the HIMSS 2016 conference. Super Bowl Winning Quarterback & Five-Time NFL MVP Payton Manning will be coming in fresh off of a real SuperBowl 50 win and will be providing the closing keynote. I wonder if this will be a touchdown of a keynote!


Also featured, amongst many other things will be the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, and the HX360 Innovation Pavilion. The Intelligent Health Pavilion is also always a big draw.


With all this and more, HIMSS16 promises to be busy. So let’s fire up your favorite Twitter application (TweetDeck, Tweetchat, Tweetchat.io) and let’s get chatting! Here are the topics:


T1:  Why are you attending #HIMSS16? What are your priorities for the conference?

T2:  What ONE thing are you most excited about for #HIMSS16?

T3:  Do you fear that we will be blinded by buzzwords? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff?

T4:  Population Health means many things to many people. What does this mean to you?

T5:  What tips do you have for fellow HIMSS attendees?



Rasu Shrestha MD MBAChief Innovation Officer

UPMC & EVP UPMC Enterprises

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