An Interview with the Chair of HIMSS North America Board of Directors

Q: Like the general public, HIMSS members likely have strong reactions to the upcoming transitions to the new Trump Administration and Congress.  How will HIMSS respond?

A: The vision of HIMSS is “better health through IT” and we will continue to uphold this vision regardless of who is in office now or in the years to come. Our response to members and more broadly to the general public will continue to be solely focused on improving health with IT.

Q: How will HIMSS engage with the Trump Administration and Republican-controlled Congress?

A: The great benefit of health IT is that it is a non-partisan issue, so our members should be confident that we are working closely with the new Administration, 115th Congress, and the States to ensure they embrace the value of health IT and its role in healthcare transformation. We anticipate using a series of tools, including education sessions on Capitol Hill in Washington through the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy, demonstration and dialogue at HIMSS17 in Orlando, and a series of information papers to inform policymakers on the impact health IT has on healthcare transformation, as well as the economic opportunities health IT can support. Whether it’s new jobs, innovative technologies, or exports, HIMSS is confident health IT will continue to have a positive impact on the economy.

Q: In light of the elections, what do you see to be the greatest opportunities to advance the HIMSS mission and policy objectives?

A: HIMSS intends to focus on opportunities in four core areas where health IT brings value to healthcare delivery:

  • Supporting healthcare transformation
  • Expanding access to high quality care
  • Increasing economic opportunity
  • Making communities healthier

We have great examples of health IT impacting these important areas that are sustainable and replicable in other parts of the country, and indeed the world.

Q: What do you see to be the biggest potential challenges to advancing the HIMSS mission and policy objectives in the new Administration and Congress?

A: The challenges our community will face are centered on delivering on the promise of secure

interoperable health information exchange. There are a large number of programs, including the value- based payment programs like the Quality Payment Program at CMS, and the new initiatives that are identified in the new 21st Century Cures Act that rely on health IT. Our challenge is to meet the requirements these laws outline, and ensure the Trump Administration, 115th Congress, and the States

continue to embrace the value of health IT in supporting healthcare transformation. These advancements will advance access, quality, and cost effectiveness of care for patients and providers, alike.

Q: How can HIMSS members and stakeholders help?

A: HIMSS members and health IT stakeholders can share stories of successful health IT implementation that demonstrate improvements in cost effectiveness, patient safety, and quality of care delivery. These examples will help improve the health IT prospects for all providers and patients.

About the author: A practicing primary care physician and clinical informatics executive, Dr. Zaroukian leads implementation and optimization of EHR system capabilities at Sparrow. He is Professor of Medicine at Michigan State University, served on the ONC Advanced Health Models and Meaningful Use Workgroup and is on the Board of Advisors of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS).