HIMSS 2010 Interoperability Showcase will spotlight HIE activities

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As a core component of myriad health IT initiatives, interoperability will be a large part of the HIMSS 2010 in Atlanta. The 2010 HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, which will operate March 1-3, will offer educational sessions on Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and health information exchange (HIE) activities, federal agency interoperability initiatives and global standards development initiatives, says JoAnn Klinedinst, CPHIMS, vice president of education at HIMSS.

Attendees can also be part of self-directed exhibits and vendor exhibits to see how health IT is connected to, and part of, patient-centric care delivery, she says.

“It’s an educational experience just to walk the vendor floor,” says Martha Dameron, RN, president of HIMSS Northern California chapter and a St. Helena, Calif.-based health IT consultant . “Along with that, [there are] education programs that cover the whole gamut of the health IT arena,” says Dameron, who has held a number of positions in Healthcare IT, both on the clinical and vendor side, and has been involved with HIMSS chapters for more than 15 years.

Attendance at this year’s conference is expected to increase over 2009, according to Dameron and Jeff Hawley, a fellow at HIMSS and senior manager at Accenture Health and Public Service in San Francisco. Numbers will be up from last year in part because of the stimulus bill and funding initiatives, predicts Hawley, a past-president of education at the Northern California HIMSS chapter.

The theme of this year’s conference is all about stimulus funds and the initiatives around that,” he says. “There is a lot of angst about how to meet to the criteria for qualifying for these funds.” Therefore, a lot of hospitals, health networks and practices who might not have sent someone to the 2009 show will send someone to Atlanta “to get the answers that are pretty darned important to them. There is a financial incentive to be informed.”

“HIMSS has done a very good job of understanding what is causing angst in the healthcare community,” Hawley says. “Certainly, there’s a lot of ambiguity around the rules [for meeting criteria for meaningful use]. There’s going to be a lot of sessions trying to distill the content and meaning of that information in a way that can be assimilated by the folks that are attending. It needs to be presented in a way that’s more germane to the way they think and the way they practice.”

The Interoperability Showcase should also be a destination for CMIOs seeking answers because “it’s a summary of the work being done around meeting the criteria for Meaningful Use of electronic data relative to the ARRA stimulus bill,” Hawley says. “There’s going to be some interesting showcase-type material at the HIMSS pavilion, where they’ll be showcasing new technology as well as some of the things that people can use to get where they need to be to be able to qualify for these finds.”

The Interoperability Showcase is slated to include configurations of more than 70 clinical information systems in multiple demonstration HIEs, according to HIMSS. In these demos, patient health information will be exchanged across multiple healthcare enterprises. Attendees also can see how a variety of stakeholders are collaborating to implement HIEs using IHE framework and Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) interoperability specifications, which use common standards and IHE Profiles to build secure, electronic networks.

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