Bill Vrooman, MS, LHIMSS, Senior Level Business Process Improvement and IT Professional, is the recipient of the HIMSS 2012 Life Member Award.
Life membership is defined as the category for persons who have been active in the fields of healthcare information and management systems and a Regular Member of the Society for not less than 30 continuous years. Life members must request Life Member status in writing. The HIMSS Board of Directors reviews all requests for approval. Life members are afforded all privileges of regular members and have annual Society dues waived for the remainder of their lifetime or until resignation from the Society.
Vrooman currently provides senior level business process improvement and IT consulting services to healthcare organizations. He has over 30 years of healthcare experience split between operations improvement and information systems. He has led operations improvement efforts, development and implementation of labor resource management systems, and planning, selection and implementation for information systems. His specific process improvement experience includes productivity monitoring and target development, benchmarking, work re-design, process improvement, re-engineering, cost accounting, continuous quality improvement and nursing patient acuity.
He first became a member of HIMSS in 1978 and has served the Society in various ways, including Tennessee and Florida chapter involvement, as moderator of presentations, and as presenter at several local and regional HIMSS meetings and forums. He received the technical paper award from a presentation at the 1982 HIMSS Annual Conference.
HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?
Vrooman: My first healthcare job was consultant for the Hospital Association of New York State—Management and Planning Services or HANYS-MAPS. Back in the 1970s, most of the Society’s members were primarily management engineers working in hospitals. Many of my superiors, Bob Davis and John Templin, for example, were members of the Society and spoke highly of the benefits made available through membership. I went to work for Vanderbilt University Hospital in 1978 as management engineer and joined the Society at that time.
HIMSS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with HIMSS?
Vrooman: Several rewards come to mind: writing, publishing and presenting technical papers; working to achieve different levels of membership, including Senior, Fellow and Life Member; attending annual and seasonal conferences on a national and regional level to enhance professionalism and extend education in the field; taking advantage of meeting and networking with other members; and being a member of CHIME, which provided technical, managerial and professional support in my roles as a healthcare CIO.
HIMSS: Please describe some of the milestone events in your career.
Vrooman: Milestone events in my career have been: being a major contributor in the 1970s for the HANYS-MAPS Resource Monitoring System or RMS methodologies, providing a comprehensive and relatively easy method to set standards and monitor labor performance in hospital departments, which was kept updated until the mid 1990s; obtaining the technical paper award at the 1982 HIMSS Annual Conference; developing a spreadsheet using Lotus 123 in the early 1980s when PCs were just emerging for use by the field at Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) for evaluating return on investment for potential hospital departmental distributed computer systems; managing the development and deployment of HCA’s first human resources computer system, which lasted until the1990s, and as part of this, selecting Kronos, an emerging company, as the accompanying automated time and attendance system when the Simplex “paper card” system was the “gold” standard at the time; standardizing all personal computers on Dell PCs, an emerging company, at Floyd Medical Center in the mid- 1990s when there were over 20 different types of PCs in use at the time, and the leader was Compaq and administration’s choice.
HIMSS: What are the most notable changes you’ve seen in the field of health IT over the course of your career?
Vrooman: The most notable changes have been the transitions from mainframe computing to personal computers and from client server to cloud computing. The enactment and implementation of Diagnostic Related Groups in the 1980s and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have both provided much need for the health IT and professionals in terms of systems, programming and consulting.
HIMSS: What advice would you give professionals just entering the healthcare or IT field?
Vrooman: If it is health IT, I would recommend that they join and get heavily involved with HIMSS.