1. Dykes, Patricia C. DNSc, MA, RN

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The HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition was held in New Orleans, LA, from February 25 to March 1, 2007, and brought together health information technology professionals from across the United States and from around the world. The theme of the conference was "Transforming Healthcare Through IT." The program included more than 300 educational sessions and 885 exhibitors displaying state-of-the-art healthcare IT products and services in 374,000 square feet of exhibit space.


This year, more than 24,150 participants attended the HIMSS annual conference from a wide array of healthcare and IT fields. The abundance of educational sessions coupled with outstanding keynote speakers over the course of the conference compiled the foremost thinking regarding the transformation of healthcare through IT. Educational offerings were available to meet the needs of nurses and healthcare IT professionals across domains of practice. Session topics of particular interest to nurses included pay for performance; HIT implementation and evaluation strategies; disease management and telemedicine; strategies to promote downtime readiness; and a workshop reporting on the findings from the 2006 Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform (TIGER) summit. In addition, HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee member Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, presented her "view from the top," entitled "Care Transformation and the Promise of HIT: A Nursing Perspective." Keynote speakers at the conference included Steven Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corporation, Phil Bredesen, Governor of Tennessee, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Stephen R. Covey, co-founder and vice-chairman of Franklin Covey Company.


Also of interest to nurses at the annual conference was the Nursing Informatics Symposium. This symposium was developed by nurse informaticists for nurses in the acute care setting and this year targeted chief nursing officers, directors of nursing, and nursing informaticists. The 2-day program focused on collaboration across settings and disciplines to facilitate transformation of the healthcare environment and was co-sponsored by AMIA and ANI.


On Saturday, February 24th, the first day of the Nursing symposium, Jody Gunn, MSN, RN, and Patricia Dykes, DNSc, RN, presented a report of the HIMSS 2007 Workforce Survey (sponsored by McKesson) that explored the background, education, responsibilities, challenges, salaries, and emerging roles of nurse informaticists in the US. In addition, Tina Dieckhaus, BSN, RN, and Paulette Fraser, RN, MS, BC (standing in for Nancy Staggers, PhD, RN, FAAN) presented the new Scope and Standards for Nursing Informatics, which was revised during 2006 by more than 35 nursing informatics experts. New material presented at the conference and to be included in the forthcoming scope and standards document include descriptions of new roles for informatics nurse specialists, competencies mapped to common nursing informatics roles, heightened educational levels, new concepts in the theory base for nursing informatics, and additions to the ethics of nursing informatics.


On the second day of the symposium, Patricia Abbott, PhD, RN, BC, FAAN, opened with her inspiring presentation "Leading Beyond the Walls," in which she challenged participants with a musical simile to learn to lead beyond the walls by mastering the art of collaboration and by adjusting our own ability to listen to others as a first step toward transforming healthcare.


Lisa Bewley, MSN, CPNP, Brenda Hall, RN, MS, and Susan Heider, BA, delivered the keynote address "Collaboration for Healthcare Transformation," in which a collaborative working relationship between the chief information officer (CIO) and the chief nursing officer (CNO) was described as a key factor that drove their organization to optimal performance and success. Other presentations included "Collaboration Across the Continuum of Care: Medication Reconciliation Then and Now," in which Becky Steward, BSN, recounted the work of a group of 25 hospitals and one health system toward developing strategies and tools for implementation of medication reconciliation at admission, transfer, and discharge, and Marina Douglas, MS, RN, presented "Implementing Clinical Systems: Dispelling the Myths." In the presentation, Douglas recounted the constellation of efforts often employed during successful clinical implementations, including effecting cultural change, recognizing impediments to change and implementation methodology, and the use of a formal transition management program. In the final morning session, Mimi Hassett, MS, RN, C, FHIMSS, presented "Resolving Nurse Identity Conflicts: Bridging the Gap From Bedside to IT," in which she highlighted the growing contributions of nurse informaticist contributions within both nursing and IT.


The afternoon sessions of the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Symposium included panel sessions on clinical documentation and medication reconciliation and featured speakers such as Mark Sugrue, RN, BC, Paulette Fraser, RN, MS, BC, Stephanie Gaworski, RN, Ivy Holt, RN, BSN, MS, Flo Mielcarek, RN, BSN, MSMIS, Cindi Brennan, PharmD, MHA, Cindy Heberlein, RN, Alexander Turchin, MD, MS, and a presentation by Carol Olson, RN, MSN, CNA, BC, on the challenges of patient handoff.


This year, for the first time, speaker handouts for all presentations were available online for downloading and printing by participants before and during the conference. Conference proceedings will be available from the HIMSS Web site ( The Official HIMSS07 New Orleans Conference Blog highlighting conference news and events can be found at


On February 27th, the HIMSS annual awards dinner took place at the historic Ritz Carlton Hotel. Several nurse colleagues were recognized for their significant contributions to the field of nursing informatics. Judy Murphy, RN, BSN, FACMI, was the recipient of the HIMSS Informatics Nursing Leadership Award. Charlotte A. Weaver, RN, PhD, Connie W. Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, Patrick Weber RN, MA, and Robyn Carr, RGON, received the HIMSS Book of the Year Award for their book Nursing and Informatics for the 21st Century: An International Look at Practice, Trends and the Future published by HIMSS in 2006.


Congratulations to the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Symposium Organizing Committee and all who made HIMSS 2007 a great success. Help to shape The HIMSS08 Conference! The 2008 Call for Proposals opens Friday, March 16 and closes May 11. Submit a proposal to share your expertise and become part of the largest healthcare IT-related conference and exhibition in the world. For information on submitting a proposal go to the annual conference Call for Proposals Web page: