As I think about the past week in Chicago at HIMSS 2015, I’m wondering where all of the doctors are at HIMSS. Yes, I know there are actually quite a few doctors at HIMSS, but the vast majority of them are now administrators or are working for vendors. There are very few practicing doctors at HIMSS. It’s really quite unfortunate, because their voice is so important to everything that we’re doing.
I know why many doctors don’t go to HIMSS. I’ve seen multiple times where a practicing doctor comes to HIMSS and they’re overwhelmed by the disconnect between what’s being spouted by vendors and what they’re experiencing in their daily work. Most of them say, “I’m never coming back.” It’s really sad for me when this happens, but it also provides us with an opportunity to keep what’s said at HIMSS in perspective.
I wish that HIMSS would work to resolve this problem since having many practicing doctors at HIMSS would really elevate the quality of the conference. I realize that it’s hard to get a busy doctor to leave for a few days where they’re not making any money. However, with some effort and creativity they could make it a reality.
For example, they could create some sort of physician scholarship program that would help encourage more doctors to come. They could reach out to the doctors in the local area to get them to come and participate in the event. They could offer a number of quality CME options since we know that doctors need CMEs.
HIMSS has a ton of value for a large number of groups. In fact, many people have argued that HIMSS has grown so large that it needs to be divided into a number of different conferences. I don’t share that view since I like the mixing of various parts of healthcare, but HIMSS has become pretty unwieldy. As I said to someone today, I just had to let go and ride the wave. It made for a great ride. I just wonder if the ride would have been even better with more physician participants.