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Live from HIMSS: It's all about chance meetings

April 7, 2009
by kate
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It’s amazing; we spend the weeks (or really, months) leading up to HIMSS lining up appointments, hoping to get in one of those great meetings. What happens is that some of the best discussions happen completely by chance.

When I was waiting in line at Starbucks, I ran into Jeff Cash, CIO at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I interviewed him several months ago for an article on disaster recovery and preparedness, but I had never met him in person until today. The story talked about how Mercy was able to maintain operations this summer despite being hit with some of the worst flooding the city had ever seen. During our brief meeting, Cash told me that things are now completely back on track at Mercy, but it took four months and more than $60 million.

Cash also commented on the show, adding the topics he’s hearing about most are data exchange and the stimulus package.

About a half-hour later, I was checking my e-mail at HCI’s booth when Seattle Children’s Hospital CIO Drex DeFord stopped by. I’d spoken with him for a lean management article (Seattle is a big fan of the Toyota Production System), so it was great to have the chance to shake hands and say hello. DeFord’s main interest at HIMSS has been the ARRA-focused sessions. While some of them have been helpful, he says, the information being offered isn’t really anything he hasn’t already heard. He also commented on the attendance, noting there is an abundance of vendors but seems to be a shortage of providers. Probably a sign of the times.

I know I’m repeating myself, but I love these types of meetings. I didn’t think I’d get to meet either Cash or DeFord in person, and I ran into both within an hour.

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