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Cyber Security and Innovation Take Center Stage at #HIMSS15

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2015 Annual Conference and Exhibition will bring 38,000-plus healthcare IT professionals from around the world to Chicago this April for a week of dynamic education, networking and an overview of the latest technology solutions.

Karen Malone and Joann  JoAnn Klinedinst

Planning for the arrival of a small city within McCormick place takes a lot of heavy lifting and advance marketing; the hashtag #HIMSS15 became active last December. MSLGROUP caught up with meeting services VP Karen Malone and professional development VP JoAnn Klinedinst to learn about what’s new and why HIMSS remains the top health IT show in the country.

MSL: How many attendees and exhibitors do you anticipate this year? Another record year, I presume.

HIMSS: To date, we are trending almost four percent higher for professional attendance over HIMSS14. This is close to what we targeted as our goal for overall attendance. We are also experiencing strong C-suite interest in attending this year. The show’s massive 580,000 square feet of exhibition space is a five to six percent increase over last year, and we anticipate close to 1,300 exhibitors. These increases are due to HIMSS’ improved reputation, better word of mouth, this year’s location and the influence of industry trends.

2014 HIMSS exhibit floor

Cyber security is a new focus in healthcare to say the least. What are some new events around security and privacy?

We have addressed that focus starting this year with the new Cyber Security Command Center. This is an interactive area where people can go in and test how much they know about cybersecurity through various interactive mechanisms – gamification if you will. People will learn more about phishing and identify fraud and other cyber threats. The FBI will be participating in this Command Center, which will be extremely unique and eye-opening.

The new Disaster Preparedness Pavilion in the Knowledge Center is timely, in light of issues such as the Ebola outbreak. We wanted to bring the topic more to the forefront and call out resources that are available. For example, we an emergency department physician from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital speaking on his experience working with Ebola patients.

What else is new this year?

Innovation is a big theme this year, and we have the new HX360 area to show for it. HIT professionals and innovators will come together with next generation technologies and discuss how these can be used to improve the delivery of healthcare. [It includes] more than 200 start-up companies, an accelerator hub for accelerators and incubator companies; a new product showcase; a “games for health” area. There will also be a provider challenge focused on patient retention and patient acquisition from a healthcare organization’s perspective.

2014 Interoperability Showcase

A highly anticipated aspect of the show is the Davies awards. Can you talk about those and a few winning entries?

This award was named after Nicholas E. Davies, MD, an internist who was to assume office as president of the American College of Physicians but was tragically killed in a commuter airline accident. The Award of Excellence has recognized outstanding achievement of organizations who have used health information technology to substantially improve patient outcomes while achieving return on investment. Here are a few of the 2014 winners.

  1. Fremont Family Health in Fremont, Nebraska earned the Ambulatory Award of Excellence for an EHR-enabled initiative to use clinical decision support (CDS) to improve pneumonia vaccinations
  2. Community Health Centers in Winter Garden, Florida earned a Community Health Organization Award of Excellence for its work to ensure that all requirements of Meaningful Use attestation are met to lay the groundwork for meaningful use stage 2 and capture quality incentive dollars associated with the measures
  3. University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa earned an Enterprise Award of Excellence for its ability to reduce the number of blood products administered and the number of incorrect medication administrations, all while saving $9,300,000

The keynote with George W. Bush is timely, as his administration launched ONCHIT a decade ago. Can you talk about this choice as a keynote this year?

That (launch of ONCHIT)  had a lot to do with his selection. We are interested in learning how he thinks things have been progressing based on his vision. And any insights on the upcoming elections. He knew what EHRs could do to coordinate care. He catapulted the discussion on EHRs with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that provides incentives for providers to implement technology, and follow up legislation to the ACA has set the tone.

MSLGROUP looks forward to attending HIMSS 2015. If you will be attending and would like to talk with us about conference planning and PR activities, or would like to meet during the show, feel free to contact Doug Russell at 781-684-0770 or

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Davida Dinerman

Davida Dinerman

Account Director at MSLGROUP

A member of MSLGROUP since 1996, Davida has been entrenched in the agency’s healthcare IT and tech practice groups. She earned her MBA from Babson College and her BA degree from Dartmouth College.

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