“The Synergy of Technology”

Greetings from the Exhibit Hall of the HIMSS09 Conference! Today marked the kickoff the actual conference with breakout/educational sessions in full swing, the opening of the exhibit hall, and the first of our four keynote speakers.

Dennis Quaid was the opening speaker and I thought he was quite effective in conveying the story of why we as health care leaders are there at such a conference. He began by prefacing his background and qualifications with “I am not a doctor… and I only recently discovered texting” and ending with “Doogie Howser was not available.” But then, he launched into the story of how his twin babies almost died from a series of medical and system errors that resulted in both of them receiving 1,000 times the medication they should have received. The result of this error has prompted major changes at Cedar Sinai hospital where the incident occurred and caused Quaid himself to dedicate a lot of his personal life to his foundation in promoting fewer medical errors and high standards of care. In his address, he brought up a lot of interesting points, making parallels to the airline industry’s innovation and pointing to the lack of them in health care. As he described it (paraphrased), “there is great health care technology out there… but they are being used in a 20th century way.” He ended the speech for a call to action that the technology is there, but there is a need for strong leadership to step up and guide standards and policy. Not so bad from the person who starred in one of my 80s favorite, Innerspace.

Besides the keynote, there have some fun and amusing moments at the convention.
– Earlier in the morning, there was a big promotion and demonstration by the US Olympic Committee to drum up support for Chicago’s 2016 bid. There were athletes from weightlifting, fencing, gymnastics, and karate there demonstrating. I tried to spark up the crowd with a USA chant, but failed miserably.
– While walking through the exhibit halls to get some free pens and swag, I found myself chatting with this “Executive Team” firm that helps companies identify and recruit top CEOs/CIOs. I asked them if they recruited graduate/MPH students as well. And while they politely said no, I told them to watch out because in 4-5 years, they were going to call me to do business. Idiotic or genius?

Final thought/question of the day:
Why have simple technologies used in super markets like bar coding and scanning devices taken so long to adopt in hospitals?


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your conference experience, Garett! I wish I were there…

  2. I vote genius. I guess we’ll find out in 4-5 years. Good job Garett — you represent Yale very well. 🙂

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