Having just returned from my second Himss conference, the massive HIT conference held this year in Las Vegas, I have a few thoughts on what I learned and felt. The weather was wonderful and the Sand’s conference center was a brisk 15 minute walk every morning from my hotel. With 45000+ individuals amassed in one space, walking helped to prepare for the day. Since it was outside the “strip” with few people having the same idea, it was a quiet experience. Walking into the conference center was time to brace for the onslaught of humanity where the #Himssanity hashtag makes all kinds of sense.
My personal theme for this year’s conference was Relationships. Since following healthcare thought leaders in the e-patient and HIT space is my main purpose for Twitter, it is wonderful to go to the Himss and see IRL (in real life) so many thoughtful individuals who are working to make healthcare safer and more efficient for patients and physicians. It began with a reunion with Jan Oldenburg @janoldenburg the night before the conference where we talked about her new book, a followup to ENGAGE!, that will come out sometime later in the spring. Here’s a scattering of thoughts regarding other people I spoke to: Charles Webster (@wareFLO) was all about workflow. Having been through three GoLives in rapid succession right before the conference, improved workflows sure hits close to home. After years of seeing Mandi Bishop @MandiBPro on line, she proved to be incredibly energizing with a vibrant personality that infused anyone near her with a “can do” sort of feeling. Zubin Damania, better known as @zdoggmd performed his EHR State of Mind at the AthenaHealth Cloud party Wednesday night. That was fun but I’m still a little confused about night clubs with full-size pools and little “mini-pools” around the periphery. Water, darkness and alcohol seem like a dangerous combination.
Himss has developed a strong social media presence and the official Social Media Ambassadors, as well as unofficial ones, kept attendees in the loop by live tweeting educational sessions and having social media tweet chats that kept conversations going outside the conference in the twitter sphere.
Pink socks were everywhere and Nick Adkins (@nickreeldx) seemed amazed by how they’ve caught on since he began handing them out at last year’s Himss. We chatted about how people need a symbol to push the need for healthcare innovation forward and his socks are providing that. Another personality driving patient engagement and innovative care could be found in the Xerox booth where Regina Holliday painted daily. Her jackets were seen sprinkled throughout the conference. It was a thrill to be stopped by someone who wanted an explanation for the artwork on my back.
It’s reassuring to see so many talented individuals being heard at Himss regarding patient empowerment. Just in the two years I’ve attended Himss the voices are becoming a force to be reckoned with—the vendors are listening.by