Allen Abshire, HIT Operations Director (@AllenKnowsHIE): “Interoperability was the word of the week at HIMSS. To me, interoperability is defined as ‘everyone playing together nicely.’ It was definitely a key point that ran throughout the sessions and the exhibits, especially with the recently released ONC interoperability roadmap. It’s all about doing the right thing for the patient.”

“I really enjoyed the HIE symposium on Sunday and every session at the Interoperability Showcase that showed true use case examples. I thought those really showed the impact on care for the patient.”

Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director (@HITNadine): “My ‘Your Turn’ session about patient engagement and Meaningful Use was great for me! It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to interact and collaborate with health care providers regarding Meaningful Use!”

“The HIMSS-related events are always fun, with personal favorites being the reception for the Louisiana HIMSS Chapter and the HIMSS Block Party. The Gulf Coast Chapters of HIMSS are doing some wonderful things, and it was great to visit and compare notes with other chapters from across the country.”

“The ONC sessions on patient engagement were very enlightening. With our state launching its patient engagement campaign, it was exciting to learn that ONC is building patient engagement into its interoperability plan and to have the opportunity to discuss strategies with organizations like ours.”

Jamie Martin, Marketing & Communications Manager (@DavisJamie77): “Because we are launching a campaign in Louisiana to get consumers engaged in the use of health IT to improve their health, my personal focus at HIMSS this year was the patient engagement track. My biggest takeaway from those sessions was this: if you have 10,000 people in the same room and they’re all shouting the same thing, the overall message is lost. To achieve true patient engagement, we have to step out of the box and deliver the message little differently so that it is truly heard by the patients. I think that’s what we’re doing here in Louisiana.”

“I particularly enjoyed the session by Kentucky’s State HIT Coordinator Polly Mullins-Bentley, “HIT Alone Isn’t Enough: Humanizing Patient Engagement.” I was intrigued by Kentucky’s use of its REC to educate providers in patient engagement activities – I absolutely agree that providers need to be on the front lines of patient engagement efforts.”

“As the social media manager for the Quality Forum, I was very excited to finally meet in person some of the great and innovative people we converse with on Twitter. And yes, I’m happy to admit: singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the Dell reception with the incredible Mandi Bishop was definitely a highlight!”

Darren Cavalier, Project Manager: “As a first-time HIMSS-goer, I thought it was very overwhelming with lots of sessions on a wide variety of topics, and the extravagance of the exhibit hall and vendor displays was incredible. It was a very positive experience.”

“Personal favorites were the hybrid HIE presentation, the use of HIEs for population health management and the successes of the New York Million Hearts campaign, and I can’t fail to mention the session on how payers and providers are working together to build an HIE. It was impressive how well they are working together and complementing each other.”

Michael Efferson, Implementation Manager: “It was my first time at HIMSS, and I can describe it in one word: overwhelming. The vendor hall, the sessions, the people….it was a lot to take in and process.”

“All the sessions I attended were great, but I really enjoyed the one about Kentucky’s health IT successes. Overall, I was very impressed with the innovation on display and under discussion at HIMSS.”

John Fielding, Analytics Program Manager: “What an experience for this HIMSS rookie! I was able to open a number of relationships with analytics vendors, spanning the spectrum from well-known heavyweights to organizations just now looking to jump in the pool.”

“The sessions were good, with the conversation with Dubya clearly being the highpoint for me.”

“I was so impressed with the city of Chicago! She is big, beautiful, clean and bustling, and the people are friendly, wildly inclusive, and in desperate need of a decent Cajun restaurant.”

“Added bonus: meeting the fabulous Counselor Mandi Bishop, fellow Star Trek aficionado, at the Dell reception!”

Phil Catalano, HIE Consultant: “One word to describe HIMSS: OVERWHELMING!

For me, the message that came through loud and clear in nearly every session I attended was this: SMART, FHIR and other interoperability standards are needed yesterday and everyone agrees. Overall, I really think Dr. DeSalvoand many others said it best: It’s time to get a return on this investment in Hi-Tech.”

“I was interested to learn that Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator for CMS, is not high on wearables, but is adamant about sharing data. It left me wondering: Could it be the data is needed to support alternative payments, or is his feeling driven by his previous experience as an executive for Optum, a division of United Health?”

“Throughout HIMSS, the theme seemed to be ‘Analytics and Big Data.’ Maybe it should be Reliable, Accessible, and Meaningful Data…maybe we could call it RAM…And I have to ask, did they put the Security Exhibits in the back of the exhibit hall for a reason? Out of sight, out of mind, perhaps?”