This was perhaps more of a fete than it initially seems. The conference was massive, with over 40,000 attendees. It centered around a trade show exhibit hall that spanned multiple football fields in length. In some ways it was so big that I felt somewhat discouraged from attending some educational sessions because they were located so far from where I was hanging out that I could get back and forth in time.
So I spent most of my time at the Interoperability Showcase since HLN was participating in two of the use cases: Immunization Integration & CDS, featuring our ICE open source immunization evaluation and forecasting system; and Opioid Crisis, the Person & the Population, featuring our open source Reportable Conditions Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) as a component of electronic case reporting (eCR). We spent three days repeating every hour the presentation of a multi-step/multi-vendor scenario demonstrating standards-based interoperability between different systems. We had lots of folks come through with varying levels of interest, but this was a great opportunity to talk about open source and the solutions we make available.
But I did have a chance to attend a few sessions relevant to public health, the space I tend to monitor. On Tuesday of the conference, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sponsored a town hall meeting in a huge auditorium. They introduced their senior staff, reviewed their mandate, and answered questions from the audience. Their main focus was on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Improve the Interoperability of Health Information that was released just before the conference (more on that in my blog on this topic). I also had the opportunity to attend several events sponsored by the HIMSS State Advisory Roundtable which is a policy advisory group made up of influential state and national leaders. Interoperability continued to be the hot topic with a mixture of lament for our seeming lack of progress and hope for the future.