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Healthcare IT Professionals Kick Off Their Biggest Conference Of The Year

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More than 30,000 IT professionals to gather in Orlando for HIMSS11

HIMSS 2011The Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2011 Conference kicks off on Feb. 20th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. and promises to be the top healthcare IT gathering of the year.

Joyce Lofstrom, director of HIMSS corporate communications says this year’s conference may be the largest in the meeting’s 49-year history.

“We expect more than 30,000 people, and 1,039 companies, which is a 10 percent increase over last year,” Lofstrom told The Hub. “Total space used is 456,770 square feet, which is a 12.5 percent increase from 2010.”

This year’s conference promises to offer more than 300 education and information sessions focused on the industry’s hottest topics: meaningful use, HITECH, HIE, standards, interoperability and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). There are over 80 education sessions on meaningful use alone, and over 70 for those interested in learning more about ARRA.

Keynote addresses will be given by Robert Reich, Economist and Former Secretary of Labor, Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services; David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; Michael J. Fox, Actor, Founder The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; Richard Boyd, Chief Architect Lockheed Martin Virtual World Labs.

HIMSS promises substantial participation by a number of U.S. federal agencies including the Department of Health & Human Services; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Department of Defense; Department of Veteran Affairs; and the Office the Surgeon General. Dr. David Blumenthal, the Health Information Technology National Coordinator, will give a keynote address.

Federal IT sessions will cover a broad range of topics ranging from physicians IT, the promise of intelligence and insight, Social Security Administration's Health IT initiatives, regional HIE strategies and the state of Medicaid EHR incentive programs.

Education sessions highlights include healthcare analytics, the role of health information exchange (HIE) in quality improvement, usability of personal health records, healthcare reform and implications for clinical decision support, and using HIT to improve healthcare delivery.

EMR/EHR sessions will have offerings for those about to install an EHR system, as well as sessions for to those looking to leverage EHR data for improving care quality, and operations efficiency. Other sessions will cover secure EHR data exchanges, the human factors in integrating medical devices, and capturing and analyzing quality measures for meaningful use.

Healthcare Information Technology sessions cover orchestrating response to meaningful use, beyond adoption: a 10-step plan to achieve meaningful use, and a session on pleasing patients through coordination of services.

Roundtable sessions will discuss leveraging HIT, ICD-10 vendor readiness, the role of understanding clinical language in EHRs, and electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

Military Health Systems sessions cover the establishment of the military health system EHR, DOD/VA health IT data sharing, shared training, and deploying the military's EHR.

Career Development sessions offer something for everyone with a project manager's guide to integration projects, making IT staffing decisions, and HIT career planning.

In addition to workshops, sessions and roundtable discussions, HIMSS 11 sponsors networking events including a 5K Fun Run/1 mile Walk, and dozens of specialty activities. The conference website offers quick search engines to find sessions, exhibitors and even a roster of whose attending. New this year is a mobile version of the website offering quick access to all the information on your smartphone.

by Michael O'Leary, contributing writer, Health Imaging Hub

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