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Differentiate Your HIMSS13 Speaking Proposal




Last month, Schwartz MSL spoke with David Collins, MHA, CPHQ, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, senior director of professional development at HIMSS, to reflect on this year’s event and get a sense for what we might expect next year at “HIMSS Changes Healthcare and the Big Easy” in New Orleans. Since then, HIMSS has opened the call for speaker proposals, which will be available until May 30.

HIMSS’s Annual Conference offers more than 240 general education sessions that are selected from a peer-reviewed process. Last year, HIMSS received 775 speaking proposals, and David expects the same or more for the 2013 conference.  Topic examples include health information exchange and interoperability, mobile health, usability and workflow, and enhanced communication between providers and patients (e-connecting with the consumer).

David said that HIMSS will still offer introductory, intermediate and advanced-level presentations, but they have provided cleaner definitions as part of the submission process to make it easier for submitters and ensure they balance information for all three audiences.

How can you differentiate yourself for next year’s selection? David offered three pieces of advice:

Offer an end user case study- HIMSS13 will continue to focus on demonstrating the benefits and ROI of what has been accomplished through a healthcare IT implementation. This means you should offer an end user as the primary speaker. HIMSS is particularly interested in case studies of how health IT is being used to garner clinical and business intelligence to impact care coordination, outcomes improvement, workflow, administrative and cost-efficiencies; increased effectiveness and efficiency in the provision and payment of care; innovation; leadership; and change management.

Get into the right category – In an effort to be as targeted as possible, HIMSS is offering 21 speaking categories, down from 23. They expanded some categories and folded some topics together.  Be sure to review the categories and their definitions. If the reviewers understand your category and see a fit, it will give the proposal a better chance of being accepted.

David offered insight into some of the key categories for 2013. “Clinical Business Intelligence” is high on the list. HIMSS has also blended “Financial Information Systems and Business Operations Optimization” together, as well as “EHRs and Enterprise Information Systems”. However, they split up “IT Infrastructure and Architecture” and “IT Standards and Interoperability.”

“Leadership and Governance” has been changed to “Leadership, Governance, Strategic Planning and Clinician Engagement.” There is also a separate category for “Patient Engagement.” Devices used to be its own bucket, but with the emphasis on safety, they found it made sense to combine “Medical Device Integration” with “Patient Safety and Quality.” The category “Patient-centered Initiatives” is appropriate for care coordination, accountable care organizations, pharma/life sciences IT and payer/health plan IT.

Additionally, the Interoperability Showcase will not be on exhibit floor next year, but rather in a separate ballroom among the educational sessions to make them more accessible.

Make your point quickly– You should assume industry knowledge on the part of the reviewers, so save your word count for the meat of the proposal. For example, there is no need to spell out ARRA and define its background. Spend more time on what the proposal will address, as well as the learning objectives and outcomes. If you are offering research and must explain your methodology, that is understandable. Either way, be sure the write-up is not a commercial for a product (even if you offer a customer, reviewers can smell a sales pitch a mile away). Make it timely, relevant, and with a real-world, practical approach.

As to the review process, to ensure a fair assessment, every single proposal is evaluated by a minimum of three volunteer reviewers, who meet throughout the summer to evaluate proposals.  The committee then selects initial proposals in early Fall. 

Good luck!

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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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