HIMSS14 Both Humbling and Empowering for a First-Time Attendee

The HIMSS14 convention from a first-time perspective is both a humbling and empowering experience. HIMSS 2014 was hosted in Orlando, Florida and closed out with over 38,000 attendees. Even more impressive, the list of exhibitors encompassed 1,233 booths throughout the exhibit hall. Highlights included keynote speakers Hillary Rodham Clinton and Erik Weihenmayer, and for a first time attendee, who is also relatively new to the industry, it was all motivating to be surrounded by power players of HIT throughout the week.

Building the Show Floor

The first day that I arrived, we were tasked with setting up the booth. The exhibit hall is much larger than I ever imagined. It was such an exciting time to see the show floor go from blank concrete to carpeted elaborate booths as far as the eye can see. Vendors utilized every square inch. The imagination of each vendor was truly unique, as there were exhibits ranging from ornate booths with a giant tree, a dance floor, programmed iPads and televisions, and even our very own geodesic dome. The next morning when the convention began, I was truly shocked.

The Show Floor Officially Opens

Stoltenberg booth #2465 stood along the main isle with its What If for Health IT theme.

The sheer volume of people attending the conference is astounding. It was very interesting to engage with professionals from all across the nation, spanning all scopes of HIT. As a Stoltenberg junior consultant, I openly spoke with individuals about the Junior Consultant Program and Help Desk Service Line as staffing solutions.

This year, we used our signature Stoltenberg geodesic dome. Our very own CEO Sheri Stoltenberg shared that the driving force behind it was that it was a differentiator, and it very much so was. Not only was it a very different exhibit than most on the floor, but it was also the strongest free standing structure. I very much admired when Sheri stated that this represents our strength in the industry and our motivation to be different than our competitors. As you can imagine, during exhibitor hours, several conversations started just from the excitement of the dome.

What If For Health IT

Send your own and see others’ What Ifs by tweeting to hashtag #WhatIf4HIT.

For the HIMSS14 conference, our theme was  What If…? Exploring the Future of Health IT One Question at a Time. We encouraged attendees and members of the industry to tweet, write down, or just ask any question that they felt would make an impact on the future of the healthcare IT industry. It was very interesting to hear what participants had to share. My personal favorite What If? came from a CHIME member asking, “What if we could engage younger generations to get involved in #HIT?” As a young professional, I would like to see more people my age pursuing careers in HIT, as well as being advocates for improved patient care. This campaign really drove home the fact that this industry is so very dynamic and ever-changing. It gets me excited to think about the possibilities and what the future may hold for both HIT and Stoltenberg.

A New Personal Outlook on Health IT

HIMSS14 paved the way for new outlook on the industry for me. I am no longer focused only on what I personally am doing or what my company is doing, but where is the industry is headed in years to come. The big questions that kept occupying my thoughts as I walked through the exhibition hall were, “What does this all mean for patient care?” and “What will my job look like in 5, 10, or 15 years from now?” It is inspiring to let your mind wander in the capabilities of HIT, as there are no real limits to what we are capable of achieving. Simply being in the room with some of the most influential people of the industry was truly a privilege. My first HIMSS convention will forever leave a lasting impression.

Some of the Stoltenberg team gather at the HIMSS14 Universal Studios event.

Thank you for your time!


-Kaitlyn Graber, Junior Healthcare Systems Consultant at Stoltenberg Consulting

Recap of the Busy Conference Season

Throughout the past few months, Stoltenberg leadership has had the opportunity to attend several health IT conferences, including CHIME13 Fall Forum, Midwest HIMSS Conference, New York eHealth Digital Health Conference, and several smaller regional HIMSS events. During its appearances, Stoltenberg representatives exhibited, held focus groups, attended sessions and keynote speakers, and even presented their own take on topics like help desk services and smart data.


At the CHIME Fall Forum, “Surviving the economic downturn” stood out as a popular session, as it discussed applying data analytics to HIT department finances to take the emotion and stress out of budgeting. Another major highlight was words from Farzad Mostashari, just days after leaving his post as the National Coordinator for Health IT at the ONC. Mostashari shared some experiences of his time at the ONC, the impact of budget issues and the government shutdown on HIT, and thoughts on the timetable of Stage 2 meaningful use.

Fast-forward a few weeks later, Stoltenberg attended and exhibited at the Midwest HIMSS Conference. Hot topics of the conference included preventative care and mobile health, aiming to link wellness coaching with technology to impact lifestyle choices. Sessions showed how mobile health continues to link patients and healthcare providers with more capability of diagnosis, treatment, and education through methods of interactive patient apps in the form of mini games and more.

Finally, at the New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference, major interest points included the importance of interoperability standards on Health IT innovation, patient engagement and the value of empowering consumers, as well as the power of data. Within their keynotes, Chairman of Kaiser Permanente George Halvorson and National Director of Organizing for Action Jim Messina both discussed the power of data to transform the U.S. healthcare system. Halvorson specifically touched on how HIT and real-time data has dramatically improved quality of care and reduced costs at Kaiser.

Throughout each of these and future conferences, we’re thankful to gain industry insight and inspiration to impact our own thought leadership, as well as how we constantly push to best aid our client hospitals.

A First-Time Attendee Recaps the 20th Annual CHIME CIO Forum


From October 16- 19, the 20th Fall CIO Forum for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) was held in Palm Springs, CA.  It was my first event with CHIME, and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it.  The events, speakers, education, facilities and people were great.  My hat is off to the CHIME folks who did a wonderful job.  Happy 20 years!  I’ve recapped my week below:

The conference began with a very rewarding experience.  Our group attended a local food bank where we helped box over seven thousand pounds of food for the local community.  Other attendees participated in the annual golf outing and/or a Living Desert tour which showcased the local wildlife.

We were eager to do our part to aid the local community.
Legendary journalist Ted Koppel share stories from his news career.

After the opening reception Tuesday night, Wednesday brought an energetic welcome from Board Chair Drex DeFord, FCHIME, CHCIO.  Following the welcome was a keynote address from the legendary journalist and anchorman Ted Koppel.  He told stories of travelling with the many presidents whom he has followed abroad and domestically.  Koppel also shared some of his thoughts on press in the country today, commenting that journalists are sometimes trapped into giving the news that we want instead of giving the news that we need. Just from hearing his experiences through his stories, I can’t imagine what he has seen and heard firsthand over the years.

Dr. Mostashari called audience members heroes for leading the healthcare IT revolution.

Wednesday continued to be full of energy when National Health IT Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD took the stage in late afternoon.  Dr. Mostashari energized the crowd as he shared personal stories and commented about using meaningful use as a tool.  According to Dr. Mostashari, by using meaningful use as a tool, we can help improve three main things: population health, sharing of information through HIEs and increasing patient engagement.  Dr. Mostashari called the audience heroes for leading this great revolution in healthcare IT, and I could not agree more.  All members of CHIME are at the forefront of these important changes in the U.S.

Education was a cornerstone of CHIME with rewarding breakout sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.   experiences and industry knowledge were shared by CHIME members in their respective Track sessions.   I truly believe hearing from real life experiences is the best education, and the sessions did not disappoint.  Although I couldn’t see all the sessions, one session that was very helpful for me was “Meaningful Use Stage 2 – Delayed, but Not to Be Forgotten.”  Speakers were Pam McNutt FCHIME, SVP & CIO of Methodist Health System; Chuck Christian FCHIME CHCIO, CIO, Good Samaritan Hospital; Bill Spooner FCHIME, SVP & CIO, Sharp Healthcare.  Their expertise in Stage 2 objectives/requirements helped me wrapped my head around it more.  It was a beneficial precursor to the afternoon’s Plenary Session with Travis Broome from CMS and Steve Posnack from the ONC.  Broome and Posnack took questions directly from the audience.  Some questions were tough, while others were fun, like How many stages will there be?

Dr. Topol gave a glance into the future of mobile technology.

Thursday’s keynote speaker was Eric Topol, MD.  Dr. Topol, a wireless medicine and genomics innovator who has been a huge proponent of mobile devices to improve patient care, highlighted some revolutionary mobile devices and gave a sneak peek into what is to come with mobile technology and patient care in the future.  He also spoke about genomics, the study of genomes within people and/or organisms, and how it will help save lives by zoning in on specific patients’ information.  Overall, I walked away with a solid sense of how the powerful new devices and research in genomics will help everyone be able revolutionize medicine at a more individual level. Savage, star on the television series Mythbusters, finished CHIME off with the closing keynote on Friday morning.  He spoke about how he came to be where he is today through exploring the unknown.  His skepticism and curiosity have led him down an interesting path.  He urged us to continue our curiosity and skepticism within our field and continue to answer questions that haven’t been answered before.

While CHIME has now been around for an impressive 20 years, this was my first trip to the meeting.  It was an awesome experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet the CHIME members in attendance and our fellow CHIME Foundation members.  I’m looking forward to the next meeting.  Thank you, CHIME and Palm Springs.

I don’t get views like this from Pittsburgh.