Meet our Member: Mary Beth Mitchell

Mary Beth
Chief Nursing Informatics Officer
Texas Health Resources

Please describe your current involvement with HIMSS and its benefits.

Mitchell:  I have been involved with HIMSS since my first annual conference in 1998.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the conference, but had a couple of people really who supported me, and helped navigate the conference. I first attended the nursing informatics (NI) symposium that year, and there were only 60-70 attendees.  I didn’t realize how new NI was, and especially how new NI was within HIMSS.  After that event I was hooked.  I first submitted an abstract to present at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in 2008, and was amazed when my presentation was accepted.  I talked about our EHR go-live, and how NI provided support for that implementation. After giving my presentation, I became more engaged in activities, and submitted a request for the NI committee in 2012. I was absolutely stunned when I was accepted, and even more so, when I was offered the chair position in 2015.  Over the years, I have not only benefited from the education opportunities offered through HIMSS, but also from the personal networking opportunities provided by HIMSS.  Even though there are over 40,000 members of HIMSS, it was pretty easy to get involved, with the local chapters, online resources, member communities and task forces that are available.I still rely heavily on HIMSS resources, such as survey results, professional articles and webinars that are available online, and of course, the conferences. As chair of the HIMSS NI Committee, I have enjoyed working with HIMSS staff and getting to know and engage with other HIMSS board and committee members. I credit HIMSS with my ability to connect with other on a national level. 

Please describe what attendees can expect from the HIMSS Leadership Essentials Institute: Health IT Trends Supporting the Applicability of Innovation

Mitchell: I think the Regional Events that HIMSS is hosting are great ways to not only network with local peers, but to hear and learn what other organizations are doing. The Leadership Institute that Texas Health Resources (THR) is hosting focuses on how innovation can be applied.  There is a lot of talk around innovation, but this conference really delves into what innovation means in a practical sense, and what is the real-world application of innovation. We are covering several different topics from patient engagement, to a new role that THR has in a system innovation and integration office, and how that’s being defined, to retail health and the impact of retail clinics on healthcare organizations. There’s definitely something for everyone, all packed into one day,  in a very comfortable and centrally located venue.  We also are discussing how HIMSS designations, such as HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 or Davies Awards impact organizations, and what that means for innovation opportunities. 

How does nursing informatics contribute to the applicability of innovation

Mitchell:  Nursing Informatics is really all about innovation. We are the front line helping develop workflows and manage clinical practice related to innovation. I think NI is perfectly poised to be a thought leaders, and initiator of clinical practice changes, and to evaluate and measure the impact of changes that are made.  During my years in NI, I feel that I have led several innovative initiatives, such as integrating our IV pumps with the EHR, to taking patient wound photos with a smartphone, as well as supporting system initiatives and promoting these initiatives within NI technology. This is a perfect time for Nursing Informaticists, as we continue to expand the boundaries of what we can do with technology. The next wave of ideas is just starting- more with mobility, patient-centric care, including patient generated data, and more interoperability.  Our future is definitely bright.