HIMSS con­fer­ence sets records for at­ten­dance, ex­hibitors

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - —Joseph Conn

Med­i­cal group prac­tice CIO David Lind­sey said he came pre­pared and got his money’s worth last week at the an­nual Health­care In­for­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems So­ci­ety Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion in Or­lando, Fla.

Lind­sey, who heads the IT staff at the 60-physi­cian Char­lotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat As­so­ciates, was at­tend­ing only his sec­ond HIMSS trade show. He was one of 38,828 reg­is­tered at­ten­dees at the four-day show, a record, up 13% from last year. This year’s show drew more than 1,200 ex­hibitors, also a record.

Why the at­ten­dance spike? “A bad win­ter across the na­tion,” said HIMSS Pres­i­dent and CEO Stephen Lieber, who was only partly kid­ding. But an­other big draw was the chal­leng­ing and un­cer­tain reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment, he said. Two huge com­pli­ance is­sues are HHS’ man­dated Oct. 1 com­pli­ance date for the roll­out of the new ICD-10 cod­ing sys­tem and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Stage 2 mean­ing­ful-use re­quire­ments for EHRs. At­ten­dees may have wanted to hear that the dead­lines would be de­layed, but they heard the op­po­site.

For CIOs like Lind­sey, the HIMSS show af­forded mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to dive into a for­mi­da­ble tech­nol­ogy ocean. Lind­sey, who re­cently switched to health­care from the elec­tri­cal in­dus­try, said last year’s show was like “drink­ing from a fire hose.” A year later, Lind­sey has learned how to deal with ag­gres- sive ven­dors. “You have to come here with a plan,” he said in an in­ter­view af­ter the first day. “There is sen­sory over­load, and they all want your busi­ness.”

Lind­sey’s plan was to fo­cus on IT se­cu­rity “to un­der­stand best prac­tices.” He also was look­ing at stor­age sys­tems for older data. He planned to meet with ven­dors he al­ready is work­ing with, and look at mo­bile de­vices and the sys­tems that sup­port them.

“You don’t want to just throw mo­bile apps and de­vices out there with­out mak­ing sure the se­cu­rity is in place,” he said. “I don’t want our or­ga­ni­za­tion’s name on the front page of any mag­a­zine about a data breach.”

At­tend­ing nu­mer­ous ses­sions, Lind­sey said he typed pages and pages of notes on his Win­dows Sur­face tablet.

“Last con­fer­ence, I wasn’t as im­pressed with the pre­sen­ters,” he said, largely be­cause he couldn’t un­der­stand a lot of what they were talk­ing about. “Now that I have some back­ground in health­care, I was able to home in. It’s go­ing to be great to share some of this stuff with my staff.”

By the evening of the third day, Lind­sey was very pleased. “I’ve ac­com­plished more than I set out to ac­com­plish,” he said.

Ven­dors show­case their ex­hibits at the HIMSS con­fer­ence in Or­lando, Fla.

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