Highlights from National Health Information Technology Week

Virtual March

HIMSS kicked off National Health IT Week with a “Virtual March” on the states aimed at educating state officials on steps they could take to realize the full potential of telehealth and other innovative health technologies to expand access to high-quality care for patients. Over the course of the week, more than 200 letters were sent to state legislators in 30 states and the District of Columbia. There’s still time to lend your voice - visit the HIMSS Legislative Action Center today!

Telehealth Webinar

HIMSS hosted an NHIT Week webinar entitled "Leveraging Telehealth to Advance Healthcare Transformation." More than 200 attendees heard from a diverse group of speakers on the current state of telehealth, both in policy and practice. The panel included:

  • Tom Leary, Vice President of Government Affairs, HIMSS (moderator)
  • Dr. Thomas Martin, Temple University College of Public Health
  • Dr. William England, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Michael Adcock, University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)

During the webinar, Dr. Martin gave an overview of the current regulatory and legislative obstacles to greater adoption of telehealth, particularly in the Medicare program. Dr. England spoke about the work the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is doing around telehealth and discussed the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth Grant Programs, while Mr. Adcock shared the experiences of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Telehealth in combating diabetes using telehealth and remote patient monitoring.  The Value of Health IT in expanding access to high quality care through telehealth and other innovative technologies was a central theme of NHIT Week 2016.

Public Policy Committee In-Person Meeting

The HIMSS Public Policy Committee met in-person in downtown Washington, DC on Wednesday of NHIT Week. During the meeting, PPC members had the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker about his experience as a cancer patient navigating through diagnosis and treatment and discussed the role of health IT in his journey, including barriers he encountered. The conversation was a fresh reminder of the importance of understanding the patient as we make public policy recommendations for 2017, and refresh the HIMSS Public Policy Principles.

Partners and Awards Reception in Washington, DC

The National Health IT Week Awards and Partners Reception, hosted by HIMSS in downtown Washington, DC, brought together over 100 health IT champions to celebrate the value of health IT.  Health IT advocates braved the rain to celebrate the presentation of the Health IT Leadership Awards to policymakers who have made significant contributions to advancing healthcare through health IT policy. Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) received the Congressional Leadership award, Dr. Karen DeSalvo received the Federal Leadership Award, and Pennsylvania State Representative Matthew Baker received the State Leadership Award. HIMSS North America Board of Directors Vice Chair, Beth Halley, presented the awards, and Representative Harper was on hand to give a few remarks on the transformative power of health IT, and the bipartisan support for telehealth and health IT on Capitol Hill.

HIMSS Northern and Southern California Chapter Event

The Northern and Southern California HIMSS chapters, partnered with UC Davis Medical Center to host an educational event to celebrate National Health IT Week.  To kick off the event, UC Davis Medical Center, which in 2013 was designated a Stage 7 hospital by HIMSS Analytics, provided the HIMSS members, including individuals joining from the HIMSS Washington and Idaho chapters, a tour of the facility. New hospital CMIO, Dr. Jeffery Wajda gave presentation that showed that UC Davis Medical Center has been able to create a strong partnership between the clinicians and IT to leverage IT and informatics to improve patient care, for example decreasing sepsis mortality by over 26%. Also during the presentation, HIMSS Chapter Advocacy Roundtable Vice Chair, Ian Slade, offered an excellent presentation on how to be a great policy advocate for health IT or any issue you believe in.

HIMSS New England Chapter Event

The New England Chapter of HIMSS (NEHIMSS) hosted a National Health IT Week-focused event on Thursday, September 29.  The NHIT Week themes figured prominently in the discussion and helped to raise awareness and assist the community’s cause by recognizing and celebrating the value of health IT. About 75 attendees had the opportunity to hear stellar presentations from Robert Havasy (Vice President of Continua, an interoperability initiative of the Personal Connected Health Alliance) on drivers of and barriers to connected health adoption as well as Jeffrey A. Golden, MD (Ramzi S. Cotran Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and the Chair of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital) on the precision medicine work being undertaken at Brigham and Women’s.  Each speaker stressed the importance and benefits of utilizing technology to deliver better care to individuals.

HIMSS Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter Event

On Monday, September 26, over 60 attendees participated in a site visit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, TX hosted by the HIMSS Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter and Texas Health Resources (THR). The informative and interactive site visit included a hospital tour, working lunch, presentations and demonstrations on clinical healthcare topics, including cybersecurity, interoperability, population health and more. THR received a Davies Enterprise Award from HIMSS in 2013, achieved Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics’ EMRAM, and is a leading healthcare enterprise innovator that uses healthcare information technology (HIT) tools to better evaluate and treat patients.

The HIMSS Federal Health Community (FHC) was excited to work with the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter on this event, and welcomed the participation of FHC Chair Col. Kevin Seeley of the Defense Health Agency, and FHC Vice-Chair Clark Campbell of the Veterans Health Administration.

HIMSS Northern and Central Florida Chapter Event

One of National Health IT Week’s highlights was the Northern and Central Florida HIMSS Chapter event, “Celebrating Successful Transformation of Health IT in Florida.”  This event kicked off with a recognition of Stage 7" Hospital Achievements in Florida.  The panelist included Pat Bush from Tampa General, Christy Kindler from Florida Health, and Elizabeth Rodriguez, with Nemours Children’s Health System. Each of the panelist detailed their work to move their respective health systems towards stage 7 level and ended the discussion by sharing key lessons learned and professional advice for students and veterans interested in health IT careers.

HIMSS Greater Illinois Chapter Event

Tom Leary, HIMSS Vice President of Government Relations, had the pleasure of joining the HIMSS Greater Illinois Chapter as they celebrated NHIT Week with a reception and education session on telehealth in Illinois.  The chapter hosted over 70 HIMSS members and guests, including visiting HIMSS North America board members John Kansky (Indiana HIE), Dr. Denise Hines (HNA Board Vice Chairperson), Sue Heichert (Allina Health System).  The chapter president, Laura Bagus (University of Chicago Medical Center) served as moderator for a lively discussion with Kristin Schleiter, JD (Senior Legislature Support Attorney for the American Medical Association), and Katie Bohling, Director of Telemedicine Luries Children.  Among the many observations from the evening’s discussion, HIMSS members learned that many states, including Illinois, are taking the lead on defining telehealth policy and more research is needed on the benefits of telehealth in urban settings.