HIMSS18 Pushes Immediate Patient-Centered Change

We have all heard the saying, “the customer is always right.” Consumers should drive how a business functions, next steps and where the industry is headed. In healthcare, it is no different. Patients expectations are raising higher standards in technology, experience and outcomes. The providers who fail to recognize the patient-centric culture forming will struggle to stay competitive.

HIMSS18 brought a multitude of insights to over 45,000 healthcare IT professionals on how to provide better patient outcomes. Technology is booming in healthcare, but adoption still lags behind other industries. Here are four themes from HIMSS18 to competitively propel healthcare providers:

  • Consumerism is here to stay. Patients are looking for a patient experience built on consumer preferences, personalization, flexibility and clear communication. This can include digital options for registration and billing, better ways to share EHRs digitally and personalized physician-to-patient interactions. Providers must use patient communities as an eye toward the next direction of their organizations.
  • Healthcare is moving from diagnosis and treatment to anticipation and prevention. Start looking at technology abilities not only as a tool or data storage, but to analyze and predict. Smart data enables insights toward physician care decision making, patient experience improvement, readmission reduction, population health management and prescription monitoring. The latter comes into play with the country’s opioid crisis, as prescribing systems are now working to flag addiction patterns and medication discrepancies.
  • Artificial Intelligence is the name of the game. AI has been introduced before, but its presence is finally in practical application in healthcare. Artificial intelligence will allow healthcare professionals to analyze the healthcare data they already have stored, alarm physicians of things that should be noted and let physicians better focus on patient experience while the machines look for gaps in data. The next step though is to make the technology accessible in practice at the point of care without adding workflow burden to end users.
  • Disruption is key. Healthcare organizations must focus on the consumer and how technology will evolve their abilities. Some say that health systems will be known as tech companies with a healthcare focus considering all of the technology advances leading to the future of healthcare.

Here’s a look at how several CHIME provider organizations are staying ahead with these themes: http://bit.ly/2Fs5dNU

HIMSS18 elicited many insights for the future of health IT. After all, it is not every day that you get to talk about machine learning detecting cancerous tissue. Then again, HIMSS brought up many tactics applicable to any healthcare organization despite differences in budget, patient communities, region or specific EHR. The conference teases what’s on the horizon for care possibilities but also grounds us with consideration of where reporting, CIO pain points, physician burnout and standardization need to be addressed.

First-Timer’s Look at Midwest HIMSS Fall Tech Conference

Mike Meyer and Christen Gregory represented SCI at the Midwest HIMSS event.
Stoltenberg team at the Midwest HIMSS event

The following post highlights our Strategic Accounts Manager’s first regional HIMSS event experience.

Last week I attended my first Midwest HIMSS conference in Chicago, Illinois-  the 2014 Midwest HIMSS Fall Technology Conference.  Being new to the company and to HIMSS conferences, it was a truly eye-opening and educational experience for me. It is neat to see a group of professionals come together from different states, companies and backgrounds all under one roof sharing the latest news and technologies in the healthcare world.  I enjoyed meeting people and networking as well as observing how other companies engaged with people as they came to booths.

Attendees and exhibitors network in the Promenade Ballroom at Midwest HIMSS.

The keynote speakers and breakout sessions were a wealth of knowledge. I was not only able to learn from the speeches but also the Q&A sessions at the end of each of them. Of all the breakout sessions, the session led by Laura McCrary of Kansas Health Information Network was my favorite.  Laura spoke on the future of health information exchange (HIE) and the initiatives the state of Kansas has taken to unite nearly all the hospitals and clinics in the state, so there is a quick, smooth transfer of information and ultimately improved patient care.

Morning sessions and keynote speakers pumped attendees up each day, getting them excited about health IT.
Morning sessions and keynote speakers pumped attendees up each day, getting them excited about health IT.

All in all, I took a lot away from the conference, and I hope to attend more of these conferences in the future and get more plugged into the HIMSS network!

The original House of Blues hosted the conference evening event. 

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.

Recap of South Florida HIMSS Health Trade Fair


If you didn’t attend the South Florida HIMSS event last week, you missed an amazing CIO roundtable discussion with the opportunity to learn the latest trends from powerhouse CIOs like Miami Children’s SVP & CIO Ed Martinez. Martinez discussed how he’s helping to transform healthcare delivery to children all over the world through Telemedicine. He is working with a vendor that enables a patient to be examined via a device that looks like a hand. The device touches the patient and sends data back to the physician. Though it sounds like sci-fi, this is an incredible advancement in HIT. What are your thoughts?


Martinez believes that the CIO’s role of the future is part visionary, part business leader, and part CIO. His thoughts were expanded by Leslie Albright, CIO of Bethesda Health, Inc. Albright explained that in the past, IT came up with a business plan and submitted it to administration as a stand-alone plan. Then, it had little to do with direct patient care. Today however, the IT plan incorporates into the corporate strategy of the hospital, aligning IT’s strategy with the business strategy. Albright also stated she prefers to hire clinically savvy employees, who she can train to understand IT. This shows a paradigm shift as IT decisions become more clinically based as opposed to process based.

Also within the event, moderator, Mary Carroll Ford, senior VP & CIO of Lakeland Regional Medical Center, asked the panel, “What keeps you up at night?”  The roundtable panel responded with the topics of ICD-10, business intelligence, data warehousing, e-health, tele-health and construction. Panel members also all agreed that supporting medicine today is moving away from the traditional 9-5, Mon-Fri controlled world they all lived in for so long.  The new model is not about supporting the hardware anymore. Systems and servers are stable and rarely crash.  The new model has to include support, for not only after-hours, but also for new technology. Such new technology is being pushed as patients download apps, scan  barcodes on medicine as post visit records, and view test results on smart phones, tablets and iPads. In the past, IT used to be able to limit the devices used.  This is a new age, and anything goes to affect patient experience. And yet again, the South Florida HIMSS panel agreed that this all gathers to keep them up at night to figure out how to support it all.


Finally, as a note on Stoltenberg’s part in the event, the SCI crew served as a Silver Sponsor and Exhibitor of the South Florida event. Vice President Shane Pilcher also enlightened groups with the presentations “Big Data – Fact or Fiction” and “Help-Desk –A Help Desk That Really Helps.”

In all, the event provided a great venue for thought leadership exchange for South Florida healthcare IT industry participants, as well as a chance to reflect on the progress of the industry as a whole.

Breaking Down How the HIMSS Workforce Survey Reflects the HIT Industry: Part II

Part II

As we revisit the release of the HIMSS Workforce Survey, VP of Client Relations Dan O’Connor adds to last week’s comments:


Continuing feedback regarding the HIMSS Analytics Workforce Survey, let’s discuss hiring or outsourcing. This is is always a topic that gets a lot of discussion and often has people taking sides. Yet, in today’s ever-changing environment, we may need to look at outsourcing in different ways than in the past.  It is not always easier or less expensive to keep all IT internal. We must look at each situation and apply a set of principles to evaluate staffing and outsourcing.  Each organization should develop a key set of principles to use, but they should include such items as the type of skills, the length of the project or initiative, future projects, and the ability of staff to adapt or learn new skills.  Another critical factor is the make up of the organization. Are they moving as many or to a more centralized system that uses many of the same skills throughout? This may be a situation in which outsourcing is used to support legacy systems that are being replaced by integrated solutions.


Making the Right IT Hire

 How do you make the right IT hire? This is difficult question with today’s ever-changing market and a workforce that is increasingly more technical.  In a market that has a shortage of qualified people, how do we hire the right people to keep our organizations moving forward and projects on time?  Identify key skills and traits that fit with your organization and then look at creative ways to find qualified people.  Look to colleges and university for more technical roles, and use internships to evaluate potential staff before they hit the job market.  For roles that are more application-specific, look to subject areas to supplement. Make sure these individuals fit well with the dynamic of the current team, and consider supplementing these areas with contract employees to fill gaps and help with training and development of subject area staff.

The next wave of healthcare IT professionals are younger with less experience, but with a high desire to learn, they and very motived by salary and benefit plans.  They are much less apt to feel attached to an organization changing firms / organizations frequently. Many are looking for their next opportunity 18 months after starting a new position.  This presents a completely different set of issues for all sectors of HIT.  Staff/employees that have a strong affiliation to an organization are becoming harder to find and a challenge to keep.  This is not all bad though. The right mix of the new generation and older can be very productive and create an environment where learning and sharing of ideas (both new and old) make for very productive projects and teams. The key is creating cohesive teams. A good “fit” is as important as the skill mix of the team.

As the market place continues to grow and mature, organizations that are not afraid to change and adapt and will survive and excel in this environment.  Many HIT organizations are slow to change or adopt new technology, tending to be less on the cutting edge than other industries. Yet, with the current challenges facing the healthcare IT workforce, organizations that are lean and adapt quickly will reap the benefits of this ever-changing marketplace.

Breaking Down How the HIMSS Workforce Survey Reflects the HIT Industry: Part I

The recently released HIMSS Workforce Study highlighted some important issues that many in the industry have been encountering firsthand for a while now. While the factors contributing to the current situation continue to change almost as fast as technology changes around us, we must look at how our organizations can adapt and thrive in this environment. Enacting programs that both attract employees and help increase staff retention are critical. Employee training and development and salary and benefit plans, as expected, are top on most current and potential employees’ lists. Also, as expected, the areas that top the needs lists for the provider and vendor sectors are project managers. Skilled PMs continue to be the hardest to find and in demand the most, followed closely by clinical application support and system design and implementation staff. On the clinical side, RNs and pharmacists lead the needs list for most, and someone with a clinical background with strong PM experience is most desired in the healthcare IT marketplace.


How can organizations avoid implementation shortfalls and delays?  There are some key activities that organizations need to undertake. Strategic IT planning is essential in this environment, both short and long term. Short terms plans must be reviewed and updated frequently to ensure that the IT plans and goals are aligned with the organizations strategic plans and goals.  These plans must then be used to evaluate the skill mix of staff and the coordination of training and development plans for internal staff.  This is an area that can be used to aid in staff retention, as many areas are seeing staffing shortages due to turnover related to rising incentives for contract employees.  Organizations must also look hard before reducing attractive benefits for employees that are high on the lists for provider and vendor sectors, including items such as paid tuition, payment for professional organization memberships, and professional development programs.


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.