Winter 2015Ambulatory Corner

by Angela Rivera, Board Member and Chairperson, Ambulatory and Sponsorship Committees

AmbulatoryIt has been our Chapter’s goal to broaden our reach to those organizations and participating members that focus on ambulatory care as much of healthcare’s future depends on strengthening our primary care approaches to improving population health. And while California is one of the most forward thinking areas of the country as it relates to managing healthcare costs while demonstrating high quality of care, there is still much work to be done. We are privileged to have so many industry leaders as members of the Southern California Chapter who not only assist us with providing education to our membership, but share common goals of improving care for our community. 

Following is a brief interview with one such leader, Wayne Sass. Wayne is a member of the MemorialCare Health System’s IS Leadership team, and VP and CIO at Greater Newport Physicians. Wayne has been an advisor to the HIMSS SoCal Ambulatory Committee and has also served on the Health Information Technology Committee for the California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG). CAPG is one of HIMSS SoCal’s newest partner organizations. 

Many know that HIMSS was originally founded as an association for hospital based IT users and vendors.  In your ambulatory leadership role, how has being a member of HIMSS helped you?

My membership in HIMSS has been extremely helpful first by broadening my horizons and exposing me to the many hospital-based IT users and vendors that make up so much of the organization’s original member base. Beyond that, HIMSS has evolved into an association that welcomes IT professionals and vendors from all types of healthcare organizations. This diversity has not only opened doors to leaders from other physician organizations, but also leaders from a wide variety of companies such as health plans, RHIOs, and public sector health agencies. As market forces and government action continue to drive further consolidation, convergence, and collaboration in the healthcare industry, it’s important for healthcare IT leaders to gain visibility to what’s happening industry-wide.

Out of all of the HIMSS events and programs available both nationally and locally, which do you believe has been the most valuable for your role?

I would have to point to two events, one local and one national. On the national level nothing matches HIMSS’ Annual Conference. No other event compares in terms of the breadth and depth of content. HIMSS also provides abundant networking opportunities on a national level with IT leaders and vendors from the full spectrum of healthcare organizations. On the local level the event I find most valuable is the HIMSS SoCal Annual CIO Summit. It’s a premier local event that brings together IT leaders from most of the major healthcare players in Southern California including many CAPG member organizations.

As the current Chair of the CAPG HIT Committee, how do you believe the partnership with HIMSS supports the goals of your ambulatory focused association?

As the consolidation I mentioned earlier continues, and collaborative initiatives between different types of healthcare organizations expand, the need for IT leaders in all sectors of healthcare to broaden their understanding of the industry grows. HIMSS’ partnership with CAPG opens the door for IT leaders of CAPG’s member organizations to gain more visibility to the changes that are happening industry-wide. Likewise, these same IT leaders bring a very deep and intimate understanding of coordinated care delivery by risk-bearing physician organizations and population health data management; knowledge that’s in very high demand.

While there are thousands of IT vendors supporting the healthcare industry today.  Do you believe there are still gaps in serving the ambulatory market that need to be addressed?  If so, please explain.

I believe there are still gaps. While it’s hard to walk the exhibition hall at HIMSS and imagine the need for more vendors, I think gaps are found in delivering on the promises of current technology. Just one example is easier and lower cost full-function interoperability between disparate EHR systems. If one just considers all the things we do today using technology that seem like they should be easy, but they’re not, it’s clear that opp

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