HIMSS 2013: New Orleans and Health IT Advancements Highlighted at Conference

New Orleans experienced a major influx of people last week for the annual Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS) Conference and Exhibition. The final numbers, released today, said there were 34,696 total attendees and 13,985 professional attendees throughout the week at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Photo courtesy of HIMSS.

The main exhibition space at the convention center. Photo courtesy of HIMSS.

Attendees were there to either showcase a new product or partnership, share an advancement in the healthcare IT field, or attend keynotes and other scheduled presentations. Headliners included Bill Clinton, James Carville and Karl Rove.

Four panelists from four companies across the country spoke at the McKesson media briefing on Tuesday morning. All were there to be informative and share goals for what they believe the healthcare industry will look like in the year 2020. Over time, the hope is that physicians will more effectively use the data management systems and be more engaged in the new world of healthcare.

At the briefing, Jonathan Niloff, MD, Vice President and Executive Medical Director for Population Health at McKesson said, “The challenge [now] is less about the technology and more about the organizations becoming aligned around strategies they need to be successful.”

However, for many, it is still about the technology and how it is often utilized in health IT. The number of users downloading mobile health applications doubled from 2011 to 2012. This jump opens up space and necessity for health IT startups to shift from more traditional technologies into the future of health IT and data management, including mobile technologies, into the interesting world of 21st century technology.

Willa Fields, Board Chair at HIMSS, said she is more confident than ever that health IT will change the future of healthcare. As a survey released from HIMSS shows, health IT progress is strong.

The conference and exhibition tagline was, “Health IT. Right time. Right place. It’s on.” Not only is it, “on,” for the 1,158 vendors at HIMSS, but also for the companies based right here in New Orleans. Conference attendees and New Orleans locals gathered at the Hyatt on Wednesday for the presentation titled, “New Orleans: A Beacon of Innovation,” created to highlight how the city is leading the way in health IT, including innovation and workforce development.

Whether setting effective goals, harnessing new technology, or pushing the boundaries in health IT, the HIMSS conference attendees, organizers and companies are covering their bases. As Carville said to the audience during the keynote with Rove, “you’re the Super Bowl of conventions.”

It was said over and over throughout the week, during the hustle and bustle of the conference, that this is an exciting time in health IT for companies and organizations large and small. Next year, HIMSS will be held in Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit himssconference.org.