HIMSS executive VP, Carla Smith, previews this year’s show

With HIMSS14 in Orlando, Fla., coming up just around the corner Feb. 23-27, Health Imaging wanted an insider’s view on what to expect from the show. Read on for a Q&A conducted via email with Carla Smith, MA, CNM, executive vice president of HIMSS, where she shares her thoughts on the biggest stories in health IT this year and how HIMSS14 will keep attendees up-to-date on the latest developments:

Health Imaging: The word of HIMSS14 seems to be “onward.” Is this rallying cry referring to anything specific and how will HIMSS14 help attendees move onward?

Carla Smith: Yes, it’s a rallying cry--achieving improved quality, safety, cost-effectiveness and access to care through the best use of IT is hard work over a long period of time. We know the goal is achievable, and we know that dedicated professionals working in thousands of care settings are the key. At HIMSS14, we equip attendees through more than 300 educational sessions and access to over 1,200 exhibitors. Our attendees can harness these opportunities to continue on their path towards better health, with the help of IT.  

HI: 2014 is shaping up to be a big year with the ICD-10 deadline in October and the continued progression of Meaningful Use. In your opinion, what are going to be the biggest stories in health IT this year?

CS: The two you mentioned are also at the top of our list. In addition, I would add interoperability and value. Without interoperable health IT--optimally implemented and used-–we cannot achieve positive transformation of health and healthcare.

At HIMSS14, the ICD-10 Symposium on Sunday, Feb. 23, in room 311F, provides a full day of education for providers, payers and others who not only want to ensure compliance by October, but also seek optimal use of analytics to gain value and continuous improvement once they have made the transition.

Looking at Meaningful Use, recent HIMSS Analytics data show an increase in the percentage of hospitals moving to Stages 6 and 7, from 2011 to 2013, on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model℠ (EMRAM). Since Q2 2011 to Q4 2013, the following has taken place:

  • Stage 6 hospitals moved from 4.0 percent to 12.5 percent, an increase of 213 percent ; and
  • Stage 7 hospitals moved from 1.1 percent to 2.9 percent, an increase of 164 percent.

Thus, more hospitals are at Stage 7 and now operate in a paperless environment (the highest level of health IT implementation on the EMRAM). In addition, data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found, as of December 2013, more than 340,000 eligible providers have received payment thus far by participating in the EHR incentive program.

CMS also expects to release a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for Stage 3 in the fall of 2014. At HIMSS14, this conversation on Meaningful Use will continue. ONC and CMS will be leading several education sessions, on topics, such as Meaningful Use Stage 2, patient engagement and more.

Patient engagement is required in Stage 2 Meaningful Use. As a result, we are demonstrating those patient-provider connections for attendees at HIMSS14 at the Connected Patient Learning Gallery in Hall A, booth 2383, on the exhibition floor.

And finally, success in improving health with IT depends on collaboration among all those who are part of the patient care continuum. That collaboration also leads to interoperable IT solutions, which I also see as a major topic of interest during 2014. We opened the HIMSS Innovation Center in October 2013, as part of the Global Center for Health Innovation, as a permanent location in Cleveland, Ohio, for collaborative testing and demonstration of how interoperable systems improve the quality and efficiency of care for patients and communities.

HI: With an emphasis in healthcare on value, what are some of the important ways the latest advances in health IT are improving value?

CS: HIMSS introduced the HIMSS Health IT Suite in July 2013 as a tool to measure the value of health IT through the Value Steps™. These five areas categorize value measurements with more than 7,000 evidence-based examples based on: 

  • Satisfactions,
  • Treatment/Clinical,
  • Electronic Information/Data,
  • Prevention and Patient Education, and
  • Savings.

For remarkable case studies on the value of IT in the health sector, I often cite examples from the HIMSS Davis Awards of Excellence. This year, the Davies celebrates 20 years of recognizing enterprise health systems, ambulatory care and community health settings for excellence in using of IT.  Our 2013 Davies Award winners will share their success stories during HIMSS14 on Tuesday, Feb. 25. 

HI: Are there any new exhibits or specialized areas at HIMSS14 you’d like to call attention to?

CS: CCHIT is hosting a “Decade of Health IT” Summit on Wednesday morning, Feb. 26. From 8 – 11:30 a.m. in room 414, attendees will hear from Dr. Karen DeSalvo – our nation’s current National Coordinator for Health IT, and three of her predecessors – Dr. David Brailer, Dr. Robert Kolodner, and Dr. Farzad Mostashari.  Bringing these distinguished leaders together to reflect on this past decade of health IT implementation, as well as what’s ahead, gives attendees a truly unique opportunity for learning and insight at HIMSS14.

At the Hero’s Welcome to Health IT, we recognize and welcome returning military personnel, veterans and their families to HIMSS14. We are introducing this collaborative initiative with the Department of Labor* with a variety of resources and guidance on health IT training and careers for veterans. Attendees can visit Hall A, booth 168, on the exhibition floor to learn more.

Attendees can select their own sessions at YourTurn at HIMSS14 with the educational tract driven by participants. The question posed is simply, “what health IT topic do you want to discuss”? Attendees have until Feb. 10 to submit their ideas via an online form on the HIMSS14 website. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. in room 209C, attendees will be able to select from the top six topics submitted during the voting process to be part of this unstructured, spontaneous discussion.

The HIMSS14 Exhibit Hall includes specific areas focused on areas that highlight the value of health IT interactive demonstrations and education, including the Interoperability Showcase, the Intelligent Medical Home @ the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion, the Mobile Health Knowledge Center and the Clinical & Business Intelligence Knowledge Center.

*This initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Education and Training Administration, Grant #TC-23745-12-60-A-53.