HiMSS16: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

by Dirk Stanley, MD MPH

Very happy to report that I’m back from HIMSS16 in Las Vegas this year, renewed and re-energized with new information!

Dirk Stanley MD MPH HiMSS13
Dirk Stanley MD MPH HiMSS 2013

What a great learning experience HIMSS always is – And not just at the conference! This year, I even learned a lot about what HIMSS really means when a non-healthcare, non-technology person sitting next to me in the plane asked me, curiously: “What is your conference all about? What can 40 thousand people possibly have to talk about for five days?”

For many healthcare technology and Informatics professionals, HIMSS is not only a great showcase of what’s going on in the industry, but it’s a great opportunity to connect with other people who are facing the same challenge : How to make technology work to successfully help improve patient careHIMSS16_home

In general terms, some technologies focus on improving clinical operations for the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other ancillary staff providing care on the front-line. Other technologies focus on harnessing quality data and analytics to streamline care and reduce costs, or connecting patients with their care and caregivers. And finally, some vendors are looking to improve all of these areas, together.

But when budgets are tight, and the clinical stakes are high, it can be very challenging to predict the success of a investment in a new technology or human capital. How exactly does one best do this? What factors should a health technology professional look for to know if the investment will be both helpful and cost-effective?

And so I’m very happy to report that in addition to the new technology and talent showcases, HIMSS also attracts a priceless group of real-world healthcare IT, Informatics, and patient care advocates and professionals who are faced with the same challenges, and asking the same questions.  Many of them can be found on Twitter following the #HealthIT and #HITsm hashtags.

So when I was trying to explain my purpose for attending HIMSS to this curious person sitting next to me on the plane to Vegas, it dawned upon me that one of my major reasons for going was not only to better understand the answers, but also to better understand the questions.

So now after returning from HIMSS16, I’m glad to say that I learned a tremendous amount from the vendor showcases, education sessions, and the after-hours conversations with these other HealthIT, Informatics, and patient engagement advocates. Together, they help me develop clarity through better questions about investments in technology and/or human capital. It’s that clarity and deeper understanding that helps to effectively separate the wheat from the chaff. After all, if at the end of the day, it doesn’t help improve patient care, provider satisfaction, or efficiency – or all three – why make the investment?

T1 : What factors do you consider in a technology to know if the investment will be helpful?

T2 : What factors do you consider in a vendor to know if the investment will be helpful?

T3 : What factors do you consider in human capital to know if the investment will be helpful?

T4 : What factors help you determine whether an organization will see a good return on investment from their investments in technology or human capital?

T5: What are your sources of research when exploring & vetting products, services & solutions? Why?

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Dirk Stanley, MD, MPH  is a board-certified hospitalist, informaticist, workflow designer, and former CMIO who lives in Northampton, MA. For more information, click here.

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.

 HIMSS16_home

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?

 

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Rasu Shrestha MD MBAChief Innovation Officer

UPMC & EVP UPMC Enterprises

#HiMSS16: The CMIO Then and Now

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

I love this quote:

Leadership has always been a complex calculus and is specific to the domain/environment/population being led. – William F. Bria, MD, FCCP ‘The CMIO Survival Guide

So are we willing to be led? And by whom?

As we all know perhaps all too well, ‘healthcare is local‘, in fact hyper-local as the case often is, and not immune from indigenous geo-political and market structural considerations. Whether from a market dominance or top of mind share perspective, healthcare infrastructure carries a considerable amount of political currency – if not outright ideology driving the organization, governance and equity (business model) considerations of local operators. For instance, the State of Texas and it’s commitment to the preservation of independent physician practice is a stark contrast to the practice of Medicine (risk tolerance) in the State of Florida (no Corporate practice of medicine doctrine) or even California for that matter.

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Yet in the still emerging space of ‘applied medical informatics‘ whether informed purely by market or even organic forces, before factoring in the material incentives presented legislatively via ARRA/HITECH and it’s aftermath, the space has been in a constant state of dis-equilibrium if not sector chaos as we look for and settle on some market or industry homeostasis if you will.

This narrative has been developing for some time. In 2006 JAMA published: The CMIO—A New Leader for Health Systems wherein it posited physician:

leadership is a critical success factor for health information technology initiatives, but best practices for structuring the role and skills required for such leadership remain undefined

IT and teh Executive Team (CMIO)
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While a tad dated, this perspective was further informed last year when HiMSS released its Annual Leadership Survey (see: ‘About‘ post for results). What this author found of interest then and perhaps still so today with the degree to which the CMIO role penetrated the C-suite culture particularly given the importance of the role as acknowledged by both references above. In 2015 the CMIO was considered part of the ‘executive team’ in only 39% of the sample.

While this is a static picture and therefore not instructive on the relative growth rate of this participation (and standing) in the health system enterprise, it none-the-less follows on the heels of the rise of the CIO as a full fledged member of the C-suite team. Here the evolution from DP Manager or Director (often seen as staff position with an overhead label) to the CIO of a materially staffed operation tasked (or co-tasked) with revenue, market share and business intelligence objectives may offer some insight.

In 2016 the CIO role is well established. Yet, can the same be said of the CMIO? For an excellent post by one of our founding colleagues Nick van Terheyden, MD (@DrNic1), see: ‘Process matters as much as technology, especially when treading new ground‘.

And ‘treading new ground’ is arguably a constant for our colleagues and the vendors who hope to engineer their enterprise success!

Follow the action from HiMSS 2016 via the hashtag #HiMSS16. The digital dashboard is here.