Hot Topics to Tap
Mary Stevens, editor, CMIO
Are you heading to HIMSS11 in search of EMR adoption tips? Hoping to kick the tires on ICD-10? Seeking expert advice about your facility’s impending transition to an accountable care organization? Maybe you want to see what happens when health IT meets the reality TV format. Fear not, HIMSS11 has it covered on these hot topics and many more!

Perennial favorites share show time with new offerings including physician IT poster sessions and a slate of geekier sessions held during the HIT X.0 conference-within-a-conference that runs Monday, Feb. 21, through Thursday, Feb. 24.
In addition, look for “HIT Geeks Got Talent,” a health IT version of “America’s Got Talent,” said JoAnn Klinedinst, vice president of professional development at HIMSS. Contestants tout their innovative technology before a panel of judges, and the biggest innovator gets a cash prize. “Another session is that atypical [and another play on a TV show] is called ‘Iron Programmer Challenge,’ in which two contestants program mobile apps simultaneously, and attendees can watch on monitors.”

Traditional HIMSS attractions won’t disappoint, either. The Interoperability Showcase is larger than ever, at 40,000 square feet, and includes an expanded ONC presence. Just don’t ask Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD, director of the Office of Interoperability and Standards at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, to pick one standout demonstration. “It’s kind of like choosing your favorite child,” he said. “A tremendous number of things are going on within the Interoperability Showcase.”

Fridsma urges attendees to check out the Direct Project demonstrations, (part of the Nationwide Health Information Network), that will be on display. At HIMSS 2010, Arien Malec, coordinator for the NHIN Direct Project and Fridsma announced the beginning of this project. "At the time, it was just essentially a website. Over the course of the last year, it has grown into a number of demonstrations and announcements in the private sector, supporting Direct [Project's] specifications.”

Accountable care organizations (ACOs), one of the hottest topics in healthcare during the last six months, will be a major topic of discussion at HIMSS11, starting with “Leading from the Future,” a first-of-its-kind thought leadership event, said Klinedinst. The six-session event, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23, and Thursday, Feb. 24, focuses on the impact of ACOs in the health IT setting: “There’s lot of stuff being done around ACOs, but it’s [from] the policy perspective, the legal perspective and things of that nature. HIMSS is taking a different approach and talking about the applicability to the health IT environment.”

One Direct Project demonstration looks at ACOs as a way of organizing the way that care is delivered, but the fundamentals that we need for ACOs [are] getting data into [electronic form], figuring how to move that around and coordinate it so there’s more data accessible. The next levels is standardizing that data so that we can take data from one organization and use them in another organization for quality reporting, patient safety and clinical decision support.

“Medical home is often a key component either of quality improvement and payment reform or as a subcomponent of ACO,” Malec said. “A number of booths focus on the medical home and focus on the way data flows both to and from that medical home and between the medical home and the patient.”

Since everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a hot topic, we’d like to hear your nominations if you’re at HIMSS11. If you can’t attend, check out’s daily show coverage to stay “on-topic.”

Mary Stevens
Editor of CMIO