There are so many conferences to choose from when it comes to healthcare. The good ones are designed to bring all of the people in the healthcare community to the table of collaboration and sharing. We should be looking for, participating in, and creating conferences that bring together healthcare CIOs, CMIOs, directors, hospital staff, information techs, health system staff from all levels, technology companies, providers, caregivers, vendors, consumers, and government agencies. There are some great conferences that do this and more come online each year. Some of my favorites include HIMSS, EXPO Health, International Pain Summit, and PAINWeek.
I recently was able to attend my first EXPO Health and see firsthand the wide variety of partners involved in making the event so successful. The event is all about partners who are involved with media, blogs, podcasts, analysts, etc that cover the field of health IT. Seeing so many of them, such as Solutionreach, a company I work with already, so supportive and collaborating, it gives me hope that we are working towards better access to proper and timely care—that so many levels of the patient experience are being worked on. The conference has a unique message around practical health IT innovations in healthcare. The conference goal is to make sure that the practical health IT innovations shared at the conference get spread to as many people as possible. With educational presentations from "Finding the Right Balance Between AI and Human Touch" (which I was on the panel of presenters), to "Improving Providers' Satisfaction," and from "Varying Perspectives on the National Patient ID," to "Embracing Digital Health Technologies," there was something for everyone.
This conference also did something that has caught on over the past few years: patient scholarships. Having the patients (end-users, consumers) voice is so important at health conferences. Many patients can’t afford to attend events like these, but it is important to have our voices at the table, be it as presenters, collaborators setting up the event, or attendees sharing our stories between sessions. Many conferences are buying into the fact that it is wrong for a conference about topics that impact patients to not try hard to include the patient voice in their conference. We as patients say, ‘nothing about us without us.’ This is important in our day-to-day care with our personal providers but just as important at the conferences which spawn ideas and share new breakthroughs and knowledge of what is coming down the pipeline of options for us. The more we know, the better our daily lives can be when it comes to gaining access, helping create new options, and giving first hand accounts of how technology, treatments, and human touch is affecting our lives. A healthcare conference that includes the patient and caregiver voice alongside of the medical professionals of practice and technology is a better conference.
The keynote speaker on day two was a patient who shared her story of VR and removal of a brain tumor. Danielle Collins reminded us all about how we should be implementing technology solutions in healthcare because it impacts real peoples’ lives. Having patients involved reminds us of the importance to innovate products which help the patients and providers so that patients live their best lives possible. Danielle was a great example of how patients collaborating with health IT companies can impact the lives of so many other patients and providers for the greater good. As a patient voice myself, I enjoyed hearing Danielle’s story and knowing that empowered patients are being heard and bettering the care for other patients to come.
This EXPOHealth conference gave attendees the opportunity to learn the latest in healthcare IT analytics, healthcare security, patient engagement, EHR optimization, and much, much more. The part I liked most is that I was able to network with others in healthcare that I wouldn’t have normally met or shared with because, far too often, patients have been left out of the decisions of what should be worked on. I enjoyed the conference and visiting each and every exhibitor table to find out what the companies are doing to make life better for hundreds of millions around the world. The focus on using technology to improve healthcare communication and patient engagement was a main theme I heard from the sponsors and exhibitors represented. All of the sponsors agreed with me that sharing, collaboration and end-user support was vital and necessary while paying close attention to security and privacy of each of us.
Many times, for patients, we have trouble with the day-to-day life of being a chronic patient. When you can see firsthand the assistance and options available to your providers and share what has and has not been helpful can make a difference. To have the knowledge, as a provider, that you can make a few changes in your health IT practices to make a difference in your bottom line and help the patients get better care at the same time, has to be helpful. The EXPO Health conference, like some of the others I mentioned above, teach all of us about data-driven best practices, research, what other tools are being used in the industry to give the best user experience. This can help your practice reduce no-shows, improve financial flow, and implement proven, sustainable results for your practice and for the patients who you are caring for.
There are constant improvements being made in healthcare and information technology. Be sure to keep your practice at the top of the industry by participating and attending in these events. Send your staff and attend for yourself, especially the events where everyone is included (especially patients!) because these will give you the best value, well-rounded knowledge, and more profitable outcomes for years to come.
For a list of 2019 healthcare conference, check out this blog post:
Barby Ingle lives with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), migralepsy and endometriosis. Barby is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and president of the International Pain Foundation. She is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author on pain topics. More information about Barby can be found at her website.
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Solutionreach.