Rachelle Blake, PA, MHA, is a global senior strategic health IT advisor and meaningful use and healthcare reform subject matter expert. She is founder, CEO and president of Omni Micro and Omni Med Solutions, a full-scale health information consulting and technology development firm. She has served in clinical, consulting, operations and administrative roles in health IT for 30 years, including working as a physician assistant. Since implementation of the U.S. HITECH Act, she has been a leader in integrating meaningful use into, and helping organizations realize benefits from EHRs.
For over four years, she served as a director with Computer Task Group’s (CTG) Health Advisory Services division, specializing in EHR implementations.
Blake is also a contractor with HIMSS Europe Analytics, located in Leipzig and Hamburg, Germany, where she performs client management services and data analytics mining and resides part time. She has been an appointed member of the national HIMSS Ambulatory Information Systems Committee since 2011 and is chair of HIMSS’ Ambulatory Advocacy and Public Comment Workgroup. Blake is also the incoming chair of the Value of HIT Taskforce. She has been appointed to the Global Health Workforce Council in cooperation with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the International Federation of Health Information Management (IFHIMA.) She is a member of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Initiative International Division. Blake continues to serve as an adjunct professor of health IT at Rental Technical College in Renton, Wash.
She regularly participates in two ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) committees. Blake is a member of the Standards and Interoperability Federal Advisory Committee and serves on the EU-US eHealth Cooperative workforce development and interoperability workgroups.
Blake has served as moderator and featured speaker on various discussion panels, roundtable sessions and conference events in the healthcare information technology industry, the 2014 eHealth Forum in Athens, Greece, World of Health IT Conference & Exhibit 2014 in Nice, France, and HIMSS14 in Orlando, Fla.
In addition to her professional expertise, Blake volunteers for several organizations, including LifeMed ID patient identity systems and San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center. She has authored four books, including three textbooks, and a variety of instructional manuals, curricula, computer-based training modules, presentations and white papers.
HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?
Blake: I joined HIMSS as a member eight years ago, and have been active within the organization ever since. I have been involved on a national level as a member of the HIMSS Ambulatory Information Systems Committee for the past four years, a committee liaison to the Public Policy Committee since 2012, and a former participant in the Clinical Informatics, Personal Health Records and Quality and Safety Committees. Living in Hamburg, Germany, I have been involved with HIMSS Europe for the past two years, working on benefits realization initiatives. I was a speaker at HIMSS 11, 12 and 14. I have also been involved with the HIMSS’ Northern California chapter, where I was a founding member of their Nursing Informatics Council and a committee member of the Annual Nursing Informatics Symposium from 2008-2011.
HIMSS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with HIMSS?
Blake: Having the opportunity to advance the health IT industry, and specifically, having the chance to have an impact on broadening the role of health IT in clinical practice, improving the quality and delivery of healthcare through education, networking and group memberships and activities.
HIMSS: What challenges do you anticipate as the co-chair of this group?
Blake: Time, of course. There is never enough time to do everything we would like to do, but I share a commitment, along with Iris Frye, to making this one of HIMSS’ best special interest groups.
HIMSS: How do you think members will benefit from participating in the African American SIG?
Blake: I think there will be significant opportunities for networking, advancing health IT, education and impacting the industry within the African culture and African-American communities, and ensuring this segment of the health IT population is well represented throughout the industry and in HIMSS.
HIMSS: What are you most looking forward to, in terms of events/milestones with this group?
Blake: I’m really looking forward to our first in-person meeting at HIMSS15 in Chicago, and planning and getting others involved in engaging and fulfilling events and opportunities for the African-American community.
HIMSS: What advice would you give professionals just entering the healthcare or IT field?
Blake: Reach out to others in the industry, look for a mentor, and take advantage of every opportunity you have to volunteer or take part in groups, such as HIMSS. Pursue continuing education, certification and other opportunities for learning and career advancement in health IT. Finally, take advantage of every opportunity to network with your colleagues and peers, other verticals in health IT than your own, and use resources, like LinkedIn and other social media, to keep active, vocal and up-to-date in the industry.