Each year, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) brings together health IT professionals, executives, and vendors from all over the world to discuss best practices, share new innovations, customer challenges, and insights into the world of health IT. This year, the show is expected to reach an all-time high in attendance as it brings 45,000 people together, featuring over 300 education sessions and 1,200 exhibitors, with a focus on everything from patient care coordination to interoperability and population health. With a show this big, we thought it would be beneficial to provide our readers with some expert advice about how you can make the most of your time at HIMMS. In doing so, we sat down with Joseph Hobbs, CHICO, Senior Manager, Epic Alliance, Healthcare Division at NetApp for some insights. Joseph has spent the past 17 years working in health IT and attended the last 14 HIMMS shows. Here’s what he had to share:
Future Healthcare Today (FHT): Joseph thanks for sitting down with us today. You’ll be heading to HIMSS 2017 in a few days, what are you looking forward to about this year’s conference?
Joseph Hobbs (JH): One of the things I enjoy most about HIMSS is having the opportunity to network with colleagues and industry peers; there’s a lot of knowledge to be gained just by being around like-minded people who are passionate about their field. This year, there will be a large focus on MACRA and how healthcare organizations can reduce the total cost of ownership as budgets decrease and payment models change. We already have a large number of VIP meetings scheduled at HIMSS and I’m looking forward to hearing about challenges in the field and how we can help. I’m excited about sharing some of NetApp’s newest solutions that are focused on agility, efficiency, and security, such as our all-flash array solution.
FHT: There will be over 45,000 attendees, 300 sessions and 1,200 exhibitors at HIMSS 2017. As a former hospital CIO who has attended HIMSS for many years, what are your insider tips and traps to avoid?
JH: Before you even step on the plane, make sure you can articulate your organization’s greatest pain points and most important goals. This will help you locate the partners and experts who will be able to work with you on solutions that matter. It’s far too easy at a large conference where there are many new technologies on display to get distracted or find yourself having conversations that don’t align with your organization’s challenges or help you move forward on solving key problems.
The key to getting the most out of HIMSS is to become a time management expert. I would strongly advise that you set up meetings in advance with the individuals or vendors you want to talk to. At NetApp, we have alleviated some of the upfront work and created an online system so customers can request meetings with us prior to the show. At our booth, we will also be showcasing a total cost of ownership (TCO) calculator that shows how implementing flash can have a real economic advantage in addition to improving application performance.
The HIMSS organization offers so many resources that help you make the most of your time. Interactive maps show you exactly where you can find vendors at the show. Put some time in researching the HIMSS website before you attend and go in with a good understanding of the partners you want to spend time with. Finally, I would say to make the most of the lunch hour you’re given at HIMSS. Avoid going to the showroom around lunch because a lot of experts won’t be available at that time. A better use of your lunch hour would be for networking or to schedule a meeting.
FHT: What should attendees be looking to get out of the conference and how can they take back what they’ve learned at the conference and apply it in their organizations?
JH: It’s critical to understand your organizational goals prior to the show. Identify the solutions you’d like to get more information. You can literally get a year’s worth of demonstrations done in a few days because everyone is there. It’s a very forward-focused event so while you’ll want to be focused on solving the challenges your organization is facing now, you’ll also want to do some early data gathering on new and notable solutions. While it’s tempting to gather a big bag of brochures, you’ll be working smarter if you exchange business cards and sign up to receive emails from vendors that might bring value to your organization down the line.
FHT: Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Where can people find you on the show floor?
JH: Fourteen years ago when I went to the first HIMSS show, organizations were just starting to put in Electronic Medical Record systems (EMR) and the event was very focused on technology. Today, organizations are looking at how they can take the next step. The message is not just about technology, but about how technology helps organizations deliver better patient care and outcomes. So, as well as being a technology showcase, HIMSS is increasingly a showcase of human stories like Mercy, an early adopter of Epic’s electronic record healthcare (EHR) system, who has spent the last decade optimizing their systems and processes to provide better patient outcomes.
This year, the NetApp team will be in booth 1771 right off the main aisle with a digital literature library and our TCO calculator. Please do stop on by – I look forward to seeing you there!
Interested in learning more about how Mercy is putting clinical data into the hands of physicians in order to improve patient outcomes? Read their case study here.