By Allen Abshire, HIE Operations Director

Tens of thousands of health IT professionals and industry leaders are making their final preparations for the trek to Las Vegas for the 2016 HIMSS Annual Conference in a few weeks, and I am one of them.

I look forward each year to the HIMSS conference because it’s a virtual breeding ground for innovative ideas and technology that serve as inspiration to an HIE Operations Director like me. Not only does the conference provide me with a front row seat to some great educational sessions, it also gives me a chance to visit with some outstanding HIE and health IT leaders from across the country. That said, as a veteran HIMSS-goer, I’ve already begun developing my schedule for the week, and at the top of my list are these three items:

  1. Interoperability and Health Information Exchange Symposium: The Road to Interoperability: With interoperability clearly one of the most complex and challenging barriers to effective information sharing in health care, I am looking forward to getting some great information in this pre-conference symposium about successful business models, use cases and technical standards focused on driving interoperability across the spectrum of health care stakeholders.
  2. HIMSS Interoperability Showcase: The showcase is always a favorite, and I never miss it. The technology on display never fails to amaze and inspire me, and I expect no different at this year’s showcase, which will feature 36,000 square feet, more than 100 systems and devices connected in one space and numerous sessions demonstrating the key new technologies from industry leaders highlighting the Federal Health Architecture as well as standards-based exchange showing real world solutions to interoperability.
  3. Meetups and Networking: The HIMSS conference provides a veritable smorgasbord of meetings and networking opportunities, and there are far too many of them to list individually. To new HIMSS attendees, I hope you’ll seek out and participate in these events – they are excellent brainstorming sessions that allow you to meet your peers, compare notes and develop new ideas and partnerships.

And of course, my schedule also includes several key sessions, including one by my colleagues, Jamie Martin and Nadine Robin, who will be presenting Louisiana’s statewide patient engagement campaign at the conference this year, as well as ample engagement in the #HIMSS16 discussion on Twitter, so be sure to follow me here.

The HIMSS conference is always an adventure, and it’s never a dull one. HIMSS16 will be no different. Safe travels to Vegas, my friends – I’ll see you there.