Wednesday, April 4, 2012

HIMSS'12 Conference Utilizes Technology Trends

Fifteen of Heinz's Health Care Policy and Management students attended the annual HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) conference in Las Vegas in February.  Being a technology-based conference, the board of directors must stay up-to-date on the latest strategies in the IT world. 

The article "Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch" discusses how businesses must quickly and strategically adapt to the new and changing technologies.  The HIMSS conference demonstrated many of these ten trends.

It was the first HIMSS conference that any of us had ever been to, so many of the technology-driven factors were new to us.  This was the second year that HIMSS used RFID technology for the exhibition.  With there being over 1,100 exhibitors and over 37,000 people in attendance, the development of RFID tags for each person became a highly utilized means for all the exhibitors to do an analysis of who visited their booths.  They can easily take these large amounts of data to determine what types of attendees they attracted, trends, their ROI, selling potentials, and much more.  For us attendees, we were getting scanned left and right to be entered into raffles and giveaways.  This RFID technology, however, gave the exhibitors access to our contact information, which has contributed to flooding our emails and voicemails.

One of the major highlights of the week was the rapid development of social media and web communities supporting health IT and the conference as a whole. Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, was the conference's opening keynote speaker.  He discussed the movement of social media and communication as well as strategies used to develop his company.  The conference as a whole had a record setting 29,335 tweets for the week (http://www.himssconference.org). They even had an established HIMSS Social Media Team to monitor trends, topics, and gather data from all the tweets. 

There were also many educational sessions on the topic of mobile health, strategies companies are using to become or stay mobile as well as monitor and improve health.  As the article states, 450 million people use a mobile web.  Health IT firms must stay on top of the mobile movement to maintain competition.

A new initiative at the conference followed the sustainability trend.  Instead of printing out hundreds of thousands of surveys to be taken by attendees at the end of each educational session, they tried to reduce enviromental impact by just making the surveys available online instead.  I'm interested to see how much valuable data they were able to collect via this method.

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