By Charlene S. Underwood, MBA, FHIMSS; Senior Director of Government and Industry Affairs, Siemens Healthcare
In my last one-on-one meeting with John Glaser, CEO, of Siemens Healthcare, Health Services, he called me a “pumpkin…” And I thought I was doing a good job.
Of course, he was referring to this past June 30, when my time as Chair of the HIMSS Board officially came to an end.
I can tell you being in the thick of the most important happenings at the annual meeting made me feel like the belle of the ball. But just as the Cinderella tale goes, the clock did toll midnight for me at the end of June, and I completed my year as the HIMSS Board Chair.
As a capstone to my career in this profession, I was honored to have been selected as Board Chair. My takeaway is that it is your work, as the members of our Society, that makes a difference in improving health and healthcare. I found it rewarding to witness your tireless dedication to the cause of the organization, which is to advance the best use of information and management systems for the betterment of healthcare, and to lead healthcare transformation through the effective use of health IT. You inspire, and this inspiration will keep me motivated to continue giving back to the Society for many years to come. But today, it is with mixed emotions, that I send you this communication, shortly after the end of my year as Chair of the HIMSS Board.
When I spoke to you at the annual conference in Las Vegas, I explained my agenda for my term. Over the course of the past year, the Board has followed that agenda, and HIMSS has executed upon it. To that end, I want to highlight just a few of HIMSS achievements over the past year.
The HIMSS Strategic Plan identified two emerging areas for more focus: mobile technology and clinical and business intelligence. Over the past year, HIMSS has achieved a strong presence in the fast-growing mobile healthcare field with the introduction of mHIMSS and acquisition of the mHealthSummit. HIMSS Analytics offers valuable and timely market research on health IT adoption and analysis of patient health data – the clinical and business analytics used to improve patient outcomes. HIMSS has taken a leadership position by calling on the insights and expertise of its members to build our programs for these new areas.
- With quality education the hallmark of HIMSS12, attendees sought out specific session topics to advance their professional development. We hosted seven pre-conference symposia and five workshops, plus 17 sessions during the conference reached room capacity, and some of those were standing room only. The topics of greatest interest included meaningful use, ICD-10, health information exchanges, accountable care organizations, mobile health, and clinical and business intelligence. At HIT X.0, the session on supercomputer Watson ranked as one of the most popular. On the exhibit floor, the Knowledge Centers and Career Services Center were among the most popular options on the exhibit floor. Of course, the conference itself shattered our records with more than 36,500 attendees and 1,100 exhibiting companies.
- Our community of volunteers is 3,500 strong and delivered 1,308 tangible products and resources that add value to HIMSS members. Thank you. The work of HIMSS is the work that you do.
- HIMSS offers to all stakeholders a centralized, comprehensive career center with an array of tools, education and leadership to help anyone using this resource realize their career potential, whether they are new to, or have mastered, a position in health IT.
- At the Board level, we focused on establishing a more global governance structure to better account for HIMSS growth and meeting our member needs globally.
I deeply appreciate the contributions of all HIMSS members and HIMSS staff in achieving these impressive results. I also want to extend my thanks to Siemens for continually supporting my activities with the Society.
Now that my year as Board Chair is over, Willa Fields, DNSc, RN, FHIMSS, serves as the HIMSS Board Chair with R. Scott Holbrook, MS, LFHIMSS, as vice chair. My best to Willa and Scott in their year ahead, one I know will be productive and successful as they guide the board through future activities.
I want to recognize my colleagues, who also left the board, for giving their time and expertise to HIMSS. Holly Miller, MD, MBA, FHIMSS, served with me as vice chair, so my special thanks goes to her for working with me during our leadership year. Other members who have completed their term of service on the board are:
- Miriam Paramore, FHIMSS;
- Harry Greenspun, MD, FHIMSS; and
- Keith Kerman, MD, MBA.
Of course, the board now includes new members who joined this leadership team in support of the work of HIMSS. They are:
- Dana Alexander, RN, MSN, MBA, FHIMSS, FAAN;
- Brian R. Jacobs, MD, MS, FHIMSS;
- Kenneth R. Ong, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FHIMSS; and
- Fred D. Rachman, MD, FHIMSS.
HIMSS has afforded me the wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know so many dedicated professionals in our field. Through my involvement with HIMSS, I have found a means to serve a greater purpose, a purpose aligned with the Society’s vision and mission. I encourage you to engage with HIMSS, find ways to get involved, either locally or nationally, and fulfill your own sense of purpose.
Imagine telling your story (our story!) to the highest levels in our nation! Just recently, Carla Smith, executive vice president of HIMSS, and Michael Zaroukian, MD, PhD, CMIO at Michigan State University, had the chance to attend an ONC-sponsored event at the White House. They explained how using health IT makes a difference in how providers deliver care and how it improves patient outcomes. This event, as many others throughout the year, highlights the value HIMSS brings to the healthcare industry by increasing the visibility of the valuable work ALL of our members are doing.
So please, say “yes!” when HIMSS asks for help. The tremendous accomplishments of our volunteers illustrate the many ways to contribute to HIMSS. I wish the incoming Board leadership, and you, great success.