Decoding my HIMSS14 experience

March 19, 2014
According to a conference spokesperson, there were 38,828 attendees and 1,233 exhibitors at HIMSS14 in Orlando. Such a wide spectrum of seemingly disjointed voices and lines of thought can be overwhelming. However, the inherent beauty of such chaos is that if it is engaged with an open mind, it presents opportunities to develop new perspectives; in this case, new ways of seeing our personal roles and goals within the healthcare community. 

The first insight I gained was that interdisciplinary approaches are beginning to dominate the healthcare field. Vendors and end users are starting to poke their heads out of their foxholes seeking assistance from other sectors. Ideas and processes from the financial, retail and academic sectors are taking hold within healthcare, and some very interesting – and useful – results are springing forth.

With this emerging trend in mind, I plan to highlight more perspectives from outside healthcare. For example, in the coming months I will share some of the points discussed at the Oracle Industry Connects Conference held in March in Boston. This event brought together senior executives from a host of industries such as communications, financial services, health sciences, retail, utilities and engineering. The experiences, view points and best practices shared at the conference were not only inspiring but also a bit perplexing as well. How can so many well-found ideas be sequestered inside individual areas of business? Of course, that’s a rhetorical question, but it is one that will greatly affect how I examine future topics oultined in HMT.

Even more impactful for me as a member of the press at HIMSS14 was my realization that the stories and projects being created in healthcare must be covered in different ways. My features need to change in both their form and function. The classical case study, the editorial model employed by most every exhibitor and press officer at the conference, is, at best, a limited record. It’s a flat, fossilized document of a dead event. To truly convey the depth and breadth of a new initiative, living case studies ought to be constructed whenever possible. More often than not, stories need to be traced as they occur and evolve, not summarized upon their conclusion. 

I will create a number of these living case studies as the year progresses. These features will be introduced in our printed magazine, and then milestone reports will be posted within the Online Only Features section of the HMT website. My hope is to interact with, and to gather input from, as many people as possible who work with and are impacted by the healthcare management products and services being employed today. Many companies have already committed to participate in the creation of these case studies, so I invite you to observe what should be a very enlightening process over the next several months. 

To find lessons in the pandemonium of HIMSS14, one just needs to keep an open mind and reflect upon the core goals of our roles in healthcare. Through this process, our current operating practices will either solidify, transform into a new set of operations or completely erode all together. Regardless of the outcome, this sort of introspection is vital whenever we experience a Big Data event like HIMSS14. Otherwise, it might be misinterpreted as just sound and fury.
Signifying nothing. 

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