Countdown to HIMSS17 – Part 1: Education

'You need a strategy'
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The countdown to HIMSS17 is on. It’s less than three weeks and if you’re anything like me, you’ve not figured out your HIMSS schedule yet. You’re getting those emails from HIMSS and vendors about what to do, starting to see the “HIMSS preview” type articles in your favorite publications.

As the conference website says – 5 days | 300 sessions | 1,200 exhibitors | 45,000 colleagues. It’s as overwhelming as it sounds.

The best way to think about it is in three ways – education, vendors, and networking. This post is the first of a three-part series – focusing on education. After all, you’re paying a hefty registration fee and travel expenses so you should get some education time in, right? It’s not just about the massive exhibit hall and seeing all your friends in the industry!

Bottom line, you need a strategy and a focus. No more getting a big thick conference book to page through in advance – it’s all online for you to peruse and develop your plan. The conference website has education organized by topics, professional roles, specialty education, and types of session.

Here are some tips as you plan your education at HIMSS17:

Sunday pre-conference symposia – if you haven’t registered for one of these yet, consider doing so. They are an additional cost but an excellent full day focus with experts on topics such as cybersecurity, interoperability and health information exchange, nursing informatics, medical device security, and precision medicine.

Keynotes – you should certainly look at the program and decide which ones you’ll try to attend. Remember, the main room can be full with an overflow room. Don’t think you can walk in at the last minute and get a seat.

Session levels – look at the level of the sessions you want to attend — introductory, intermediate, or advanced. This is HIMSS way of helping you figure out if the content is at the right level for you. There is always a “Views From the Top” track which is aimed at senior IT leaders. Don’t be put off; anyone can certainly attend. I’ll be checking them out.

Key topics – Pick a couple focus areas you want to learn about and make sure you get to the best of those sessions. HIMSS helps by organizing sessions under broad topics such as:

  • clinical and business intelligence
  • connected health
  • consumer and patient engagement
  • health IT public policy
  • leadership, governance, strategic planning
  • privacy, security and cybersecurity
  • process improvement, workflow, change management

With all the changes in DC these days, I will be paying close attention to the public policy ones.  And I’m going to see if there is anything in the connected health and consumer and patient engagement areas I want to attend.

Divide and conquer – If you are attending with work colleagues, don’t all go to the same sessions. Plan to go to different ones and share your notes. The most effective IT teams will be working together in the next two weeks to map out their game plan to get the most from their investment.

At this stage, these are the sessions I’m most interested in:

  • Integrating Technology into Medical Practice for Better Patient Care
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hospital: Hilton digital experience
  • Using Data to Understand the Full Value of Patients
  • Improving Patient Outcomes and Health Economics through Connected Health Innovation
  • Welcome to the Age of the Patient: Transform Patient Relationships and Results with CRM
  • Nationwide Trusted Exchange: Are We There Yet?

This post was first published on Sue Schade's Health IT Connect blog.

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