HIMSS14 Expectations from the Clinical Perspective

In reviewing the agenda for the rapidly approaching 2014 HIMSS Annual Conference & Expo, this year’s event promises to be very exciting from a clinical perspective, as it is clear that providers will have a voice.

For example, there are distinct pre-conference symposia—including one about nursing informatics and another about physicians’ IT—that will undoubtedly yield some valuable insight that IT leadership can use.

HIMSS 2014 Annual Conference & ExhibitionThe symposium about nursing informatics is particularly interesting because this year marks the 10th anniversary of that event, and the last decade of nursing informatics has paved the way to some of the most innovative changes in healthcare. The adoption of the electronic health records (EHR) system is what truly spawned the need for the nursing informatics role, but since then, these professionals have evolved from educators to innovators. The HIMSS symposia should highlight this maturation, with talks dedicated to the use of interoperable technologies, emerging leadership governance models and the expansion of mobile health and cloud technologies—all with the goal of best patient practice in mind.

And that is what is truly exciting from the clinical perspective. The information, insight and ideas share amongst this group is tied directly to how we can improve the patient care process. The groups of speakers come from an array of backgrounds with different experiences, which lends itself to tremendous collective knowledge base.

Another topic I’m looking forward to discussing is ICD-10, which is the source of much discussion in the industry. I’m interested in hearing different perspectives on how to approach ICD-10, particularly because sometimes we only see the obstacle and lose focus of the big picture—in this case, how ICD-10 improves patient care. I hope to hear some good insight on how to keep that focus.

While the agenda overall is very intriguing form the clinical perspective, one topic I don’t see covered is electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), which is starting to gain momentum as a topic of discussion amongst care providers. It will be interesting to see whether  EPCS becomes an ad hoc agenda item during the show, especially from the HIMSS contingency from New York—lawmakers in that state have passed legislation known as I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing), which mandates that by March 2015, all prescriptions must be issued electronically, including prescriptions for controlled substances.

The HIMSS14 pre-show symposium should help shape how nursing informatics can play an increasingly important role in how information technology is used to improve clinical workflows, increase provider productivity and keep the focus on the patient care delivery process. As for the rest of the agenda and week’s activities, I’m curious to see which vendors have realized the importance of the clinical impact on IT and, in turn, how they are marketing their solutions to a provider audience.