For many years I have joined hundreds of my fellow Canadians in making the annual pilgrimage to #HIMSS16 to soak up the hyperbole and find out what is on the minds of those who spend their time fixated on health information technology.
Canada may have its own quaint health care system which seems to manage to provide essential medical care to all at no point-of-care cost. But trends sweeping our neighbour to the South often impact the Canadian system and this is especially true when it comes to the world of electronic medical records, digital care, patient engagement, and what have you.
Previously I have attended as a journalist for the publication Future Practice, striving to find new amusing ways to work in prayer references when talking about HIMSS while providing a 3-4 page feature summary of the entire conference for Canadian physicians.
This year – along with two fellow Canadians, Colin Hung and Glenn Lanteigne – I have had the honour of being selected as one of the 20 social media ambassadors for the meeting. Our mission is to use social media to comment on HIMSS16 pre-, during and post-meeting as well as to engage each other and other delegates in provocative ways to promote discussion and debate on key issues at the meeting.
I want to take this opportunity to talk to other Canadian delegates and find out why they are in Vegas and what they hope to bring back that will be relevant to their work within the Canadian system. I also want to try and find the one or two sessions that usually focus specifically on Canadian innovation and have been chosen as educational sessions
Also, I already know I want to try and get a better handle on this whole ‘death of meaningful use’ situation. We in Canada – while not always using the exact language and without any government funding infrastructure attached to the concept – are starting to talk about meaningful use more and more. So, suddenly announcing the demise of the concept needs some looking into especially since many US commentators also seem unclear about whether meaningful use is quite dead yet or not.
Patient engagement is the other area in which I want to see what is new and intriguing. The Canadian system also talks a good game when it comes to patient engagement but it turns out many physicians are not keen on sharing all or even some patient data with their patients. Patient portals are still in their infancy and very, very few Canadian physicians can use email to communication with patients. Having been tied to the small but effective patient advocacy community in Canada I want to see just how things are evolving in the US and where better to do this than HIMSS.
HIMSS is always fun and informative and HIMSS in Vegas extra so. So, let’s get on with it.