By Shirelle King, GaHIN
Attending the HIMSS Conference for the first time can be compared to Charlie winning the golden ticket to the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory. It's exciting, it's overwhelming and, most importantly, it's life changing.
It is a week filled with endless information, beautiful connections and powerful self-discovery. This year's theme was "Champions of Health Unite," with attendees reminded that not all heroes wear capes. There was a call to action to remember purpose, to reignite passion, to take pride in the privilege to serve, and to always keep people (i.e. patients) at the center of decision-making.
There were hundreds of general education sessions divided among 23 topics including population health, cybersecurity and clinical and business intelligence; a plethora of networking opportunities; and engaging keynote speakers from different industries. It was very easy for attendees to start with an early morning and end the day with satisfaction and sore feet. First lesson learned: wear comfortable shoes!
As a new attendee myself, I learned a great deal about the health IT industry and about business in general. My most memorable moments were attending the Millennials Networking Reception and the Electronic Long-Term Services Supports (eLTSS) Standards general session. One of the speakers who presented was Bonnie Young of the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) - Health Information Technology - a close governmental partner of GaHIN.
Young gave an exceptional presentation, especially considering the fact that she, too, was a first-time attendee of HIMSS. She said that it was so exciting to see all of the pieces and parts of health IT in one place. "It was good to be in an environment where we were talking about the same things, moving in the same direction."
Another first-timer from DCH was Mark Meadows who admitted to being overwhelmed by the number of attendees (~43,000!). He mentioned how educational the interoperability sessions were, how informative the Health Level 7 workshops were and how valuable it was to walk the exhibit hall.
Although, there were several different takeaways from the conference, one thing was consistent for us all: we registered as attendees of the HIMSS19 Conference, but we left as Champions of Health! Until next year, fellow heroes!