Getting the Most Out of HIMSS15: A Client's Perspective (II)

Nikki Festa

Part II: Arcadia Healthcare Solutions Shares Best Practices and Teases Key Themes that will be Discussed at HIMSS15

We are thrilled to continue our discussion with Greg Chittim, Vice President, Strategic Marketing & Business Development at Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, regarding HIMSS.  The first part of this interview appeared yesterday on PRSpeak. 

How important do you think it is to have a booth at HIMSS?

I think it is important to have a booth once the time is right for your company, you’ve narrowed down the event list to only the ones that matter the most, and the team is dedicated to supporting this investment. However, the buck doesn’t stop at having a booth. The most challenging part in planning your presence is finding a way to “stand out,” especially when there are always going to be companies who will have booths that are thousands and thousands of square feet. My advice would be to not compete in size, but in creativity. Finding colors and architectures that are fresh, attention grabbing and memorable. You never want to use these immense booths (especially if they belong to your competitors) as markers along the attendees’ journeys to finding you. For us, it will be: “Go to the North Hall and look for the big green sign.”

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It is also important to fully understand what creating this kind of structure will mean before embarking on the investment. For example, our booth will arrive in three to four shipping crates, taking two days to set up with a crew of two to three laborers. Post-event, we will be paying to keep this booth centrally located in the country for easy shipment to future events. Our previous 10X10 booth was more of a pop up that could fit in a suitcase and could be easily assembled and dismantled by one person. Once the decision is made and the investment starts, resources need to be considered that go far beyond just the immediate financial impact on the marketing budget.

What do you feel is the most important element to have at the show in order to stand out from the noise, or do you not compete?

It's really tough to stand out from the noise at a show this large, and in many ways, that's not explicitly our goal. We want to reconnect with clients and partners, improve our brand awareness and really push the idea of high-quality EHR aggregation as a critical foundation for the analytics that everyone is talking about, which, by the way, we'll be eagerly demonstrating along with the brand new version of our Arcadia Analytics platform at Booth #7834 (shameless plug #1).

With a show like this it is important to have a lot of different things going on. It’s not just the physical presence, it is having a balance of speaking engagements, strategic sponsorships for your brand, customers and partners willing to speak on your behalf and the right internal team of experts to talk to prospects and also fan out around the show to take in what others are doing and what messages are resonating, etc. This is the kind of multi-level strategy we are using and it doesn’t hurt that one of our clients, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, won the Healthcare Informatics Innovator award, which is being presented at the show (shameless plug #2). We’re realistic in our expectations as it’s not about the number of deals we sign, it’s about taking advantage of having our target audience – whether it be press, analysts, customers, prospects, etc. – all in the same city for a few days and having meaningful conversations with every one of them.

What session are you most excited to attend?

Without a doubt our client’s session – Bill Gillis, Chief Information Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, who is presenting on bad data’s effect on population health performance. And, while I know this is self-serving and my third shameless plug, I can honestly say it will be an interesting and educational session as he will be discussing how the organization worked through some of the initial challenges with its pioneer ACOs and will provide a clear framework for attendees based on the lessons they learned and successes they’ve achieved. Before we knew that Bill’s session was accepted, we also invested in a sponsored lunch and learn session at which we’re covering “6 Things You Don’t Know About Your Patients … Because You’re Underutilizing Your EHR Data.” It’s a play on the Buzzfeed “list-acle” phenomenon of late, one that will be filled with great insights and cool visuals. We’re fortunate to already be oversubscribed for attendance, but we’ll be replaying the content at our booth throughout the event (shameless plug #4).

If you had the choice, from anyone in the world, who would you pick to keynote next year’s HIMSS conference?

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I have two answers to this. One that is completely unrealistic is having President Obama speak and use it as a venue to announce the next phase of healthcare reform to turn the current Obamacare initiative into one that truly addresses cost and quality reform versus just insurance membership reform.

The second is a proxy to that idea as it would be really compelling to have a panel of experts from different sides of the ideological aisle debate, in a real way, the progress of healthcare reform and their priorities for future reform at the state, local and national levels. Having leaders with an opportunity to impact and drive reform present ideas to an audience like this would be important. However, you can’t have all politicians on the panel. We need to keep them honest and include constituents, physicians and insurance executives to make it a real debate.

There has been a lot of change in the healthcare space – from Obamacare and the public exchange to mass hospital network consolidation. What do you feel is at the center of the healthcare industry and supersedes any changes that can take place? Why?

It honestly is the interoperability of all healthcare technology systems. Being able to easily share high-quality and trusted data among all parties – doctors, insurance companies and patients – that is completely trusted and respects the privacy of everyone involved would be a huge win. Once the industry can get to the point where a patient can grant permission to anyone to view whatever part of their record they need to see and it happens instantaneously, providing their full healthcare history, that is when we know we have changed the game. When this happens, it will allow the care team to make decisions on patient care at both a micro or macro level – and isn’t that where we are supposed to be? So much of healthcare reform focuses on the fact that you can’t accurately know what a patient population looks like, or what the right course of treatment is for a certain patient, but having the right data will make this a much different conversation.

This is not to say that there aren’t dozens of companies currently working on this, but there are different contexts to consider around the world that continue to make this a challenging undertaking. For example, the Netherlands is the size of eastern Massachusetts, so the solution is pretty simple – it’s a single government-run EHR and single payer system. But that’s not the reality for us in the U.S. where we have a huge country, commercial health systems, both commercial and government-funded health insurance and very strong privacy and security regulations. This makes it a really hard challenge, but through technology and legislation we need to find a way to solve it.

What do you think the top three trends coming out of HIMSS will be?

My snarky answer is that the top three trends will be whatever the companies with the three biggest marketing budgets say they will be. More seriously, my hope is that there will be a bigger focus on:

  • The recognition that sharing EHR data is both hard and critical to the success of all healthcare reform efforts;
  • That signing a contract with an enterprise EHR firm doesn't solve your problems immediately – you can't forget about your ambulatory network – both employed and affiliated physicians, and health systems and health plans will more regularly come to the table with data most trusted by those in broader population health; and
  • That health systems and health plans more regularly come to the table willing to share data, especially clinical data from the EHR, in a way that helps improve population health.

 We hope to see you at this year’s event – and remember to look for the big green sign in the North Hall if you want to chat further with Greg (greg.chittim@arcadiasolutions.com)! And, if you’re interested in more data driven insights from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, visit their blog: http://www.arcadiasolutions.com/blog/.

View our healthcare PR experience here

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