I'm really looking forward to sitting in on "A Special Session with ONC and CMS" on March 1 featuring National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD and Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. They seem to have become quite the tag team since working together to outline what's next for the EHR (electronic health record) incentive programs. I'm looking forward to hearing their thoughts on interoperability progress, and how their teams are working to address the numerous anti-meaningful use campaigns that seem to be gaining steam, such as #LetDoctorsBeDoctors and AMA's Break the Red Tape.
I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention several sessions I've got on my calendar featuring women in health IT:
- Disruptive Women in Health Care, Tech & Management: Business Savvy & Swagger
- Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Lessons Learned for Aspiring Female Executives
- The HIMSS Women in Health IT networking reception
- (Shameless plug alert!) the #HealthITchicks Meetup
[What the main conversations will be around is a] tough question because providers have so many shifting priorities right now. Everyone will be talking about security and how to avoid the next breach. I also think chronic-care management will be more buzz-worthy than it was last year. More companies have dipped their toes into those waters, and now I think providers are more willing to take a chance on taking advantage of the still somewhat new incentive dollars, particularly as it relates to telemedicine. I wouldn't be surprised if the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information) dropped some sort of big news at the start of the conference, as has been their wont over the last several years. Time will tell…
I'm really hoping to come across conversations about ways to better integrate mental healthcare with primary care. It's an issue that is slowly getting some play in the press. That type of integration, in which technology has a big part to play, is where I think we'll see the biggest push forward in positive population health management outcomes.
HIMSS is an experience unto itself. This will be my fifth or sixth event, and I am at the point in my career where it is just so much fun. I'll catch up with old friends, make new ones, enjoy a few networking receptions and gain a better understanding of where this industry is headed – all squished into less than four days! It's a bit of a whirlwind. Ultimately, though, I always try to take away one insight I can use when I put on my "patient" hat – the next time I go to the doctor or take my children to the doctor. How can I use what I learn at HIMSS to become my own best patient advocate? That's my laundry list of expectations for HIMSS16.