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HIMSS 2015 attendees just want to find their way

When I got into the taxi to catch my plane from Boston to the HIMSS 2015 conference, my cabbie didn’t know how to get to Logan Airport. He needed a GPS to guide him.

Then, in Chicago, the conference shuttle bus driver’s first words to those of us boarding for Sunday’s sessions: “I’m lost.” He had to use his brainpower to guide him to the McCormick Center, the home of the HIMSS event.

Attendees are also trying to find their way – in their case, through the rapidly evolving technology that flows through health IT.

“We’ve got security that’s a big issue. We’re looking at innovation. We’ve got big data . . . It’s overwhelming,” said Sonney Sapra, CIO at Tuality Healthcare in Hillsboro, Ore.

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Even large vendors are feeling the uncertainty.

“We are excited we are now in the post-EHR world,” said David Delaney, M.D., chief medical officer at SAP. “But now it’s: So what?”

For SAP and other product developers in healthcare, the path to the future lies partially on the yellow brick road of precision medicine. Data volume, analytics, and EHR integration all promise to tailor patient treatment, such as for oncology, into a new model for care plans.

At Sapra’s hospital, IT staff members find new direction through organization-sponsored hack-a-thons to see if there are ways to penetrate the IS system. “It’s a lot of educating our staff right now and really getting them up to speed,” he said.

This week, as I raced between the rows and rows of vendor booths in the huge HIMSS 2015 exhibit hall in search for an upcoming interview, I took in all the choices before healthcare providers. Which way to go? Which product to explore?

As you find your way through HIMSS 2015 – the correct session room, the best place to avoid lunch lines, heck, even what half of the exhibit hall to head for – remember that your colleagues and product developers walk the same hazy route.

And just like my cabbie and bus driver, you’ll get there.

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