A First-Time Attendee Recaps the HIMSS 2013 Conference




The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center held 1.1 million square feet of HIMSS13 excitement.

The following post highlights a Stoltenberg Consultant Development Program team member’s HIMSS experience:

From March 3-7, the HIMSS 2013 Conference and Exhibition, the largest healthcare IT gathering with as many as 34,000 attendees, was held in New Orleans, LA.  It was my first time attending HIMSS, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Upon walking into the convention hall, I was surprised of the size and complexity of the booths before my eyes, and I couldn’t even see every booth. The isles stretched beyond my view, with booths set up for live demos, in-booth speeches, ER/ICU rooms, booths with a complete bar set up within it, and even booths spanning so large it was like walking in a house with multiple levels. Our own booth was set up with a Geodesic dome which was completely unique compared to the other booths. Trying to view all of the booths in the time frame allowable for the first day was not even a remote possibility. The range of possibilities and vendors that can encompass the words “healthcare IT” was astounding for a first time attendee to experience. I could not believe that this many people were invested in healthcare IT. Just the sheer number of EHR vendors was astounding, who were there to help healthcare providers meet government standards.

Stoltenberg’s booth theme Building a Better HIT Community featured a Geodesic dome and 12-foot fabric tree.

While surveying some participants and exhibitors, one issue stood clear as a major discussion at HIMSS 2013 and as a major discussion for the upcoming year, Meaningful Use. There is such a high demand for healthcare IT personnel, it is important to get the word out that clients need assistance with meeting government requirements. Every day, several educational sessions were offered for the major issues being talked about today, including Meaningful Use, Health Information Exchange, and ICD-10. I was able to attend a few of these educational sessions.

The floor was busy all week with attendees visiting exhibitor presentations, educational sessions, and live demos.

I was able to share my incite to attendees on what it is to be a Junior Consultant and the opportunities that I am gaining versus what I would have a few years ago when news grads were not given the opportunity to become consultants. The responses I received about the program were all very positive, with most people surprised that there is such a program available. I was also able to explain the work I have done on the Stoltenberg Help Desk and how beneficial it is for our clients.

HIMSS was a great experience to network and meet people, expand educationally, and to see what is occurring in the industry. As a new grad with limited healthcare industry knowledge, it was amazing to hear about new innovations that many major vendors are creating. It would have been great to be able to see every booth, but in the three days, it is not realistically possible.  Just remember, if you are a first time attendee, it doesn’t matter what type of shoes you wear! In the future I feel as though the conference may need to be extended in order to allow participants the ability to experience more of the booths, especially if the convention is going to keep growing as the years go by. Overall as a first time attendee, HIMSS was an overwhelmingly great experience on many levels.

Stoltenberg team members conducted an industry survey from the show floor to gauge hot topics for 2013.

Overcoming IT Challenges for Community and Rural Hospitals

With Meaningful Use (MU) in full swing, healthcare organizations are fully involved in planning and completing their tasks to keep them moving down their MU roadmap.  As of January 30, 2013, a FierceEMR article reports that incentive payments top $10.6 billion dollars. With over 355,000 hospitals and eligible professionals with active CMS registrations, the community and rural based hospital is one segment of the healthcare industry that is severely underrepresented.

The backbone of our healthcare system is the smaller community and rural hospitals located in communities across our nation.  The American Hospital Association totals the number of community hospitals at 4,973 with a total of 797,403 staff beds.  These hospitals account for almost 35 million admissions. With that kind of impact on our healthcare system, the loss of any community hospital would have dire consequences on the country as a whole.  If, however, these hospitals are not able to meet the MU deadlines, the Medicare and Medicaid penalties will cause them to close their doors.

In a Stoltenberg Consulting issue brief, Stoltenberg sat down with Char Wray, VP Clinical Operations and Information Systems/Chief Clinical and Information Officer for EMH Healthcare in Elyria, Ohio to get a CIO’S perspective on this issue.  During that conversation, Char examined the issues facing community hospitals. One of the greatest issues is how MU payments are structured. “The way MU payments are structured, a hospital needs to make an investment upfront before it receives any reimbursement.” It is because of this upfront investment that many community hospitals have not been able to embark on their MU journey and start moving toward attestation. Another large obstacle is that community hospitals typically do not have large IT staff in place to handle such a project. One of the often missed obstacles that can bring a community hospital to its knees actually occurs after they successfully implement their new EMR to start their MU attestation- the issue of providing their physician and end users the 24x7x365 support they need to utilize their new EMR so the organization can achieve their required numerics for submitting to CMS.  Due to the small IT staff, these issues becomes a costly scenario preventing their ability to meet MU unless the organization can partner with out-of-the solutions that meets their needs but fit within their budgetary constraints.

Providing insight on where smaller hospitals are finding help, Fred Bazzoli, Senior Director of Communications for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) explained, “CHIME sees the need to reach out to rural and community hospitals in a really pointed way. These smaller hospitals have to put aside competitive differences and stay in contact with each other to facilitate information transfer.” Bazzoli also feels it is important for smaller hospitals to seek out experts in the industry who have experience implementing the required systems. Stoltenberg shares that view and that passion. Providing that out-of-the box solution is essential to ensuring the future of our community and rural hospitals. This passion will be a large focus of ours at the upcoming HIMSS13 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Ensuring the success of our community hospitals directly impacts our individual health and we must do everything as an industry to guarantee their future.

Thank you for your time, and to our followers who will be attending HIMSS13 next week in New Orleans, stop by booth #4227. Check out the HITStoltenblog throughout next week for live blogging about conference hot topics and speakers.

To see the referenced article, go here.

The vision behind Stoltenblog from the woman behind Stoltenberg


First of all, let me start by welcoming you to the Stoltenblog. Thank you for taking the time to explore our new venture in social media. As our first of many blog posts to come, I would like to take this opportunity to explain the vision behind both Stoltenberg Consulting and the Stoltenblog.

In 1995, I started Stoltenberg Consulting with over 30 years of experience in the HIT field, striving to uphold the motto to simplify healthcare technology. Since then, Stoltenberg has grown to be a leading healthcare IT consulting firm and Inc. 5000 company, serving over 200 healthcare organizations. With our expert team of IT consultants and years of strategic market insight, we strive to provide clients with new approaches to professional services. While we are truly dedicated to our clients and their individual needs, we also are focused on impacting the HIT industry as a whole. In our recent endeavors like our Junior Consulting Program or ACHIEVE Community Best Practice Model, we’ve demonstrated innovation and willingness to take risks toward building a better future for HIT.

Continuing with our passion to solve tomorrow’s health issues, we’ve started the HIT Stoltenblog. Through the Stoltenblog, we will share the first-hand expertise and opinions of our dedicated Stoltenberg leadership team. Through our weekly blog posts we aim to express our industry thought leadership, and provide mentorship to young HIT professionals, but also shed light onto the driven individuals that are part of the Stoltenberg team.

As you visit our blog, feel free to check out the remainder of the site and links. As our blog grows, we welcome comments, suggestions, and service inquiries from our readers to be sent to blog@stoltenberg.com. Thank you again for joining us on this journey. We cannot wait for the HIT conversation to begin.

-Sheri Stoltenberg, CEO