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The Road to HIMSS15 with FierceHealthIT’s Dan Bowman

The Road to HIMSS15 with FierceHealthIT’s Dan Bowman

Image: “Beauty of Chicago” by Flickr user normalityrelief, licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike.


Dan Bowman, the FierceHealthIT reporter deeply embedded in Washington D.C., has his finger on federal HIT policy’s pulse. We sat down with him to discuss what stories will matter to him at the 2015 Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference and Exhibition April 12-16 in Chicago. Previous to his seven years so far at Fierce, Bowman was a copyeditor for the Washington Post and the Washington Times. Follow his Tweets @FierceHealthIT.

MSLGROUP: What are the big stories at the show (hashtagged #HIMSS15) from your point of view?

Dan Bowman: Privacy and security, I think that’s huge, with the recent data breaches that occurred with Community Health Systems, Sony and Anthem. I’m interested in seeing if this caused any shakeups – especially after the Anthem breach – in policies at organizations and is reverberating through the industry. I noticed a lot of healthcare providers jumped on the cybersecurity bandwagon, especially after the Community Health Systems breach. Anthem, by comparison, affected potentially 20 times the number of patients.

Interoperability is the topic du jour in the health IT industry, so I’m interested in seeing what’s coming together with that. ICD-10—I think by the time HIMSS rolls around we will have a pretty good idea if it’s all systems go. If no law is passed delaying ICD-10 again by that point, I think you’ll start to see panic set in with some providers. With the recent hearings, it seems it was set up to say “We want ICD-10 to be passed.”

Will meaningful use stage 3 have an impact on HIMSS15 or is it still too far off on the horizon?

I’ll be interested in meaningful use stage 3, and lingering thoughts about stage 2, which is sort of like a black cloud that won’t go away. I wouldn’t be surprised if it dropped before the show [as of this writing, stage 3 has been turned over to the Office of Management and Budget for review but has not yet been publicly released]. I think providers are still struggling with stage 2, and with stage 3 some will feel like things are kind of piling up. I think if there is a mobile component to stage 3 – and there are rumors that there will be – you could see that reflected in some vendor conversations but not necessarily offerings, because there wouldn’t be enough time to address a mobile component in stage 3. But vendors would be saddling up to appease their provider client needs.

I think it will be out by then, and I think it will be a big deal. I don’t work at ONC, so I can’t say for sure.

What are the most important exhibitors from your perspective?

In past years, people have been waiting with bated breath to hear what [policymakers from ONC] have to say, and that will be the same this year. From a vendor perspective, Cerner Corp. and Epic Systems Corp. [will have a big presence.] Cerner because of the recent Siemens acquisition, and Epic because [the EHR vendor] plans to launch an app store. Both, of course, are in the running for the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization [DHMSM, which Bowman pronounces “dim sum”] contract on competing teams. athenahealth has made a bunch of moves, between the partnership with Beth Israel and the acquisition of RazorInsights. ONC, though, is always the showstopper.

Will you have any downtime? What does Dan Bowman do in Chicago if that happens?

I’ve been to Chicago three times, twice for a conference, once for fun. I never really have downtime when I go to these things, between sessions and interviews and then going back to my room and writing them up. I spend pretty much any time I have to myself eating or sleeping. If someone wants to go out to eat, I might do that [laughs]. McCormick Place is really big – I feel like I always do a lot of walking, and I think it will meet all of my exercising needs.

What advice to you give to PR folks pitching you stories if they want to cut through the noise of the 50 or so pitches HIMSS journalists might get every day leading up to the show?

Put me in touch with providers. I want to hear what they’re doing, and not what a company’s latest and greatest widget can do. Not that hearing about gadgets and gizmos isn’t fun. I walk around the exhibit floor a little, but I never go to booths and take interviews. I prefer the interview rooms. It’s less like mini-Vegas in the interview rooms. I don’t want to go to your booth with the lights flashing. I don’t want to hear your pickup line. My readers are healthcare providers who want to hear what their peers in the industry are doing for their patients, and they don’t want to read an advertorial about why they should buy brand X.

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