HIMSS and the Healthcare Design Community: Where's the Connection?

February 28, 2012
HIMSS and the Healthcare Design Community: Where's the Connection?

For those of you unfamiliar with it, HIMSS is the acronym for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a "not-for-profit organization focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology and management systems for the betterment of healthcare." The group's 2012 annual conference wrapped up last week in Las Vegas, well over 37,000 attendees strong (a new attendance record, in fact). And while the target audience is clearly somewhat outside of the healthcare A/E community, I wonder if there is enough overlap there to justify attendance -- or at least a healthy interest -- in many members of the HEALTHCARE DESIGN audience, as well.

The actual issues of the healthcare IT community may not have a direct bearing on how and why the healthcare design community goes about its business other than the obvious application of planning for IT infrastructure and the like in new facilities, but surely there is much of interest regardless. To mention just two of the major issues at HIMSS12 -- speculation about a delay in the implementation of ICD-10 and the announcement of meaningful use stage 2 requirements -- it is clear that these issues may not affect the day-to-day operations at the average architecture or interior design firm, but it certainly affects the day-to-day operations of the average healthcare facility owner or manager, and that should be of interest to anyone in A/E who, in turn, has an interest in being gainfully employed by such owners.

But more importantly, isn't a general knowledge of all the areas of the hospital -- including the IT systems and infrastructure -- of interest to the people designing those spaces? Well, of course it is, and so I wonder: how many of you, HEALTHCARE DESIGN readers, have attended HIMSS, either this year or in the past? I'm curious as to how far that connection goes, and if it has increased given the healthcare reform-related events in recent years.

Please leave some comments below about your personal HIMSS experience to let the rest of us know if we should plan to attend in the future. I look forward to your input and to hearing about your takes on the healthcare IT landscape!



Healthcare Design and HIMSS

Todd - you are right on target. As HIMSS VP of Informatics, I am critically aware of the importance of working together across our specialties to advance healthcare design that is innovative and embraces technology in the most optimal way. At the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Symposium prior to HIMSS09 we had an excellent session on how Dublin Methodist Hospital designed information technology into their building as an essential component of care, presented by Cheryl L. Herbert, RN, President, Dublin Methodist Hospital. Lamont M. Yoder, RN, FACHE, VP and CNO, Dublin Methodist Hospital. In Debbie Gregory's remarks she mentioned a more recent session that she presented at HIMSS11 and I am working in collaboration with her to explore other synergies with nursing informatics and healthcare design. HIMSS would welcome your participation in any of our activities so that our members can learn how to implement best practice for healthcare design.!

Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, VP Informatics, HIMSS

Clinical Workflow and Technology Defines Architecture

There is a growing connection between HIMSS and the A&E Community as many hospital construction projects are being driven by technolgy advances. New facilities and renovations must plan for robust infrastructure needs as well as plan for future technologies and upgrades. We are seeing indecision, uncertainty, and fear across hospital departments with regards to planning for the future of technology in healthcare. It is important to plan the IT vision in sync with the clinical workflow and vision. One must determine the current delivery care models and the IT vision and plan, then design the built environment around those processes. These discussions bring the right people to the table early to begin the collaboration needed to ensure a sucessful building project. A strategic interdisciplinary IT Steering Committee (IT, Biomedical Engineering, Clinical Engineering, Clinicians, etc.) should be convened with the hospital mission and future plans as their guiding principles. The IT vision should be developed parallel with the clinical vision to ensure the plan is patient and clinician centered. The systems and device selection process should be driven by workflow needs, integration capability, and financial investment accountability. (Not all technology being installed today is incorporated into the workflow of patient care). A rich transition plan is needed to be sure the technology plan is incorporated into the new workflow and work environment. This must start early in the process. Ensuring that these steps take place throughout the process takes strong leadership, coordination, communication and vision. It is vital for the design and construction community to help educate and guide hospitals through this entire process to assure a fiscally responsible and collaborative approach. Helping healthcare facilities advance technologically will improve patient care delivery and guarantee a return on their technolgy investments. HIMSS is a great place to learn about today's tehcnology and the future of digital and mobile healthcare technology that is defining a new standard of care. As a nurse, interior designer and technology consultant - there has never been a more important time to align the architecture, the clinical workflow and the technology. This year at HIMSS, I participated in the Nursing Informatics Symposium, saw emerging technology that will impact the future design of the clinical environment, and collaborated with colleagues to share real life challenges and solutions. (There was even a segway with an ipad - I guess the next clinical workflow solution?) HIMSS is the place to tie it all together.
Debbie Gregory RN, BSN, Allied ASID, Assoc. IIDA
Senior Clinical Consultant
SSR Technology Group
Smith, Seckman, Reid, Inc.