Despite facing constant budgetary and time constraints, CIOs continue to rack up the frequent flyer miles, according to the January healthsystemCIO.com SnapSurvey, which found that 53 percent plan to attend three or four conferences or meetings in 2014, and 31 percent have one or two trips on the docket in 2014. However, although CIOs are still hitting the road, they’re being more selective about where they focus their time (and money), limiting their travels to events that are specific to their immediate needs.
For an increasing number of CIOs, the “must-attend” list no longer includes HIMSS. In the survey, 51 percent said they plan to attend the show, compared to 59 percent last year. With Meaningful Use Stage 2 deadlines knocking at the door, leaders are more inclined to participate in vendor user groups and smaller events geared specifically toward C-suite executives.
Shows like HIMSS, however, do still serve an important purpose, particularly for those looking to “shop” vendors or manage existing relationships. “I plan to mainly focus on using this event to meet with my primary vendor partners,” said one respondent, who plans to skip the educational sessions.
For many CIOs, the size of the show has become a deterrent, making it difficult to maximize precious days spent on the road, while others feel it has become too “vendor-driven.” One respondent noted, “I used to get a lot accomplished, but it has become more of a sales-oriented event and not a place to meet for business.” Another stated that the show “becomes less relevant every year.” Even for those who do attend, it can be challenging to fully engage in the conference while trying to “fight fires back home.”
And still for some, going to any conference simply isn’t feasible with so many conflicting priorities at their own organization. “Nothing is more important than getting stage 2 MU, and no conference will help with that.”
(SnapSurveys are answered by the healthsystemCIO.com CIO Advisory Panel. To go directly to a full-size version of any individual chart, click on that chart.)
1. How many conferences/meetings do you plan to attend in 2014?
- Nothing is more important than getting stage 2 MU, and no conference will help with that.
- Because of speaker commitments rather than relationship emphasis.
- At this point assuming will attend fall CHIME conference. Skipping HIMSS this year. May look at one other, but undecided.
- Advisory Board annual HIT meeting and Epic User Group Meeting.
- CHIME and Epic User Group Meeting.
- Budgetary and time constraints, especially when the limited dollars need to go to my staff to attend software/hardware related training trips to “keep the lights on” and continue normal operations at the hospital.
- This may seem like a lot, but a lot depends on how you define “conferences/meetings.” Usually there are state-focused conference (hospital association and others) as well as national conferences. Both time away and travel expense force me to make hard choices… and in reality, I may only attend 1 or 2 conferences.
- Non-healthcare specific CIO groups and a meeting of peer CIOs in healthcare, but arranged amongst ourselves rather than through a conference or user group.
- The definition of “conference” may come into play here. My answer includes external events sponsored by an organization that is not a vendor, so it excludes user group meetings and similar events.
- HIMSS, CHIME, and Cerner Health Conference
- Plan to Attend HIMSS, CHIME and a couple directed just towards my EMR.
- Local sponsored HIMSS and CHIME.
5 or more
- HIMSS, EPIC UGM , IHI Summit, ACHE 2014 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, Becker’s Hospital Review Annual Conference & AHA Leadership Summit
- HIMSS, CHIME, CHA (formerly CHCA), Epic Spring Advisory, maybe Epic UGM and AMIA.
- 5 to include those in the greater local area of Los Angeles. 3 are more remote (HIMSS…related to my elected position with HIMSS, CHIME and HMA)
- I have positions in organizations that require my attendance.
2. What type of conference/meeting would most effectively address your most pressing needs?
Industry-specific conferences such as HIMSS
- Industry-specific conferences because of their broad reach. However, vendor user groups, HIE summits, area specific meetings, etc., all have potential value based on the topic or agenda of the specific meeting
- CHIME is good for networking and learning at the C-level. HIMSS is good to meet vendors, learn whats new, and “shop.” I am a member of ACHE and I find value there as well, but often more difficult. Useful to go to vendor user groups, but have to choose. There’s too much to go to.
- HFMA and HIMSS local chapters
Vendor user groups
- CHIME is great for the networking and presentations. My primary focus is with the vendors I need to work with to accomplish our goals so I will be targeting their areas to build relationships I need to get things done
Non-IT-specific conferences such as ACHE
- I have a need to attend meetings unrelated to IT — areas like patient safety, ACOs, clinical research, etc.
- CHIME, ACHE, and smaller industry specific conferences in my local area.
- There is enough IT work to do. I’d like to expand knowledge and plug into more of the business strategy end. Conferences with a non-IT focus would be enjoyable.
Meetings specific to a certain area (imaging, mobile health)
- AHA and CHIME.
None of the above
- Topical, peer-relevant, more intimate.
- Industry-specific, small groups like HMA.
- CHIME and other CIO-specific gatherings.
- Vendor user groups, IT associations (SIM, CHIME) & Meetings specific to a certain area
- Both Industry-specific and non-IT-specific.
- I get the most out of peer-based meetings: CHIME, CHA, CIO Forum, and AMDIS.
- I find that the most value is in CHIME, Advisory Board, and similar meetings. Annual HIMSS meetings seem to be overkill; attendance every other year at most seems sufficient.
- Mix of industry specific such as CHIME, HIMSS, vendor user groups, and State Hospital Association.
- CHIME or other smaller, more focused events.
- Where all offer an opportunity to learn and network (one of the greatest reasons to participate), the smaller, more-CIO focused venues, for me, offer the greatest benefit — CHIEF and HMA as two such examples. HIMSS and CHIME have lost much of their CIO focus.
- Vendor User groups are currently most valuable. In addition, sessions with a focus on portfolio/project management models as they relate to project selection (what we will do and what we “won’t do”); prioritization and resource management are also critical to success.
- My conference attendance is based on the business issues I am trying to solve.
3. How do your plans for attending conferences in 2014 compare to what you’ve done in previous years?
I will attend fewer meetings this year
- My schedule is not allowing as many conferences. Also this year many are California, which is hard as I am east coast-based. Travel time there is a killer.
- HIMSS Chapter events if the topic is relevant.
I will attend more meetings this year
- I will also take my team members so that they can enhance their learning and networking.
- I tend to spend most of my time on the show floor, but will likely attend a few more sessions around MU Stage 2 this year.
It’s about the same
- Probably more meetings for specific topics and to plan strategy.
- About the same number; however, the amount of time spent will be decreased associated with the time pressures back in the office.
4. Do you plan to attend HIMSS this year?
- I am taking my team with me.
- I plan to mainly focus on using this event to meet with my primary vendor partners. I do not expect to attend educational sessions.
- JHIM Editorial-specific meetings and CIO Forum only.
- Staying for two days max.
- I have three conferences/meetings that occur the same week of HIMSS: CHIME CIO Forum, HIMSS, and Advisory Group.
- Not sure how many more HIMSS events I will attend. I used to get a lot accomplished, but it has become more of a sales-oriented event and not a place to meet for business. It’s far too large.
- Attending mostly related to my elected obligation. Other team members will participate.
- But not willingly, this conference becomes less relevant every year.
- Too vendor-driven. Too many concurrent presentations.
- I plan to attend HIMSS to meet with key vendor partners to maximize meetings into a smaller period of time.
No, but I will send a representative
- I will attend CHIME but not stay for HIMSS.
- Conflicts with a major system go-live in our organization, so that is a factor in determining who can attend.
No one from my organization will attend
- Taking a pass this year due to personal and business schedule. At this point I’m not sure I will be missing much. I’m also a bit disenchanted with HIMSS.
- It’s too big. Presentations are stale.
- I’m not sure.
- Still debating because of necessary cost reductions.
5. If you aren’t planning to attend, what is the primary reason?
It’s not in the budget
Other priorities take precedence (implementation, upgrade, etc)
- Size of show makes it less attractive, but having CHIME fronting it makes it more appealing.
- I don’t go every year as I don’t find it worthwhile.
- Budgetary constraints as well.
Lack of executive-level/CIO-focused content
Size of show has made it too difficult to glean value
- I am attending, but budget and value are important considerations. So many issues happening in the workplace that you really end up working as much at the conference as you would in the office anyway. It’s also a distraction from getting the most value when you’re fighting fires back home and trying to be an attentive attendee.
- Opted to send staff to HIMSS who will get more value from the content. I will focus on the CIO- specific messaging and networking of CHIME.
- Not a priority this year. I may go on an every-other-year schedule. Other than vendors, I find HIMSS education to be lacking and the focus of the organization to be self-serving.