Before I begin I must disclose that I was on the planning committee for CHIME 2011, specifically working on the speakers selection sub-committee. The review however is entirely framed as a participant and does not reflect the opinion of the sub-committee.
CHIME is a great organization and regularly provides the best conference lineup for CIOs during the year. (I wasn’t paid for that advertisement) The location was wonderful and It is hard to beat the JW Marriott in San Antonio. CHIME always chooses outstanding facilities for the fall forum. Absolutely no complaints with accommodations.
On Tuesday there is always a few choices to visit / mingle which normally include golf or a “giving back” event. For the second year in a row I chose the charity event and we were bused to the San Antonio food bank where they sort and prepare food for 58,000 people a week. It was an incredible time to learn the intricacies of food sorting and the real scoop on expiration dates. The logistics behind the volunteer heavy organization is staggering and they do astounding work. The vendor partner who helped organize along with CHIME did an wonderful job. We could have spent half the day there, but had to beat the traffic back through San Antonio.
The Speakers & Content
Clayton Christensen opened on the first full day and challenged all of us to de-silo our thinking and begin to frame systems in a way in which the person accomplishing a task (caregivers) might WANT to use a system. This is in contrast to building a technical solution and then jamming it in a clinical workflow and wondering why the solution screwed up the flow. In all he was, and always is, a great speaker and his Innovators Prescription is a good read for anyone.
Michael Leavitt followed with a multi-point discussion that focused on buses, cabs and limo’s and how they compare to healthcare delivery. It was a good discussion, but I questioned the stratification of care delivery to the level he brought the discussion to. His premise, which I could be off in his interpretation, is that we need to reduce convenience further (unless you pay more), practice at the absolute top of medical licensing for mass production of services and increase value to the consumer. (Although he did not define value) He is a large proponent of electronic health records and believes ICD-10 will bend the cost curve, which I disagree with. (ICD-10 in itself will do nothing to the cost curve, only using the information to change practice and process will change the cost curve).
The ICD-10 Town Hall was interesting and led by Anthony Guerra. It was an overview of how one health system moved early into the ICD-10 space and lessons they learned. I found the information interesting, but not something that could be widely replicated in the manner they accomplished it. They did so many things ahead of the rest of us that they were helping their vendors figure it out. I’m hopeful that their trailblazing will help the rest of us by helping some of our vendors with early testing.
Breakout sessions were great this year. Two in particular stood out as great examples of moving organizations forward and brought actionable information to us. Ed Marx did another outstanding job explaining how he sustains innovation at Texas Health Resources. Drex Deford from Seattle Children’s had his CTO, Wes, present on their approach to virtual desktops. Both presentations were absolutely top notch and time for more breakout sessions could be beneficial.
Craig Schiefelbein spoke on the closing day on “Getting out of IT while you can” which outlined the need for us all to get our heads up out of the details and focus on the business. Great message and CIOs will not be successful without following Craig’s advice. Sir Ken Robinson closed us out with a tremendous message on innovation and creating environments that allow individuals to flourish.
The Certified Healthcare CIO, or CHCIO was heavily touted again during the conference. We are early in the certification process for CIOs. I am proud of the CIOs who have blazed the trail to become early adopters in the process and I congratulate CHIME in partnering with a reputable outside group to help with the testing and certification process. The legitimacy is yet to be determined and there seems to be a split camp still among my peers. Some believe that it will be a requirement of any sizable Healthcare CIO position and others believe that it is difficult to certify, with legitimacy, a Healthcare CIO. I’m on the fence, but reviewed the requirements to become a CHCHIO again.
Suggestion for Next Year
The only suggestion that I could offer CHIME for future conferences is to redefine the affinity groups they are creating during the conference. There is a color scheme and table color system that attempts to group academic med centers, rural hospitals, medium sized facilities, etc. together, but the majority of us ignored it. A better grouping would be by vendor solutions used which I believe would produce discussions that are more fruitful. Day one could focus on revenue cycle vendors, day two could be inpatient clinical vendors and day three could be ambulatory vendors. Offering time for user group discussions could also be helpful to share stories about specific issues and solutions around the products we use. This is where many of the discussions end up anyway.
Surprise of the Year
Lynn Vogel plays the banjo and sings pretty well.