Last month, your chapter’s board of directors were virtually hard at work in its annual retreat, planning for 2021 with a continued focus on helping our members make the most of their member. With such uncertainty still related to COVID-19 and being able to connect in person, this year’s annual retreat was even more important.

Membership benefits seem to be challenging for many right now as COVID-19 restrictions have severely impacted or altogether eliminated in-person events. Many of these in-person events are the cornerstone of the Tennessee Chapter of HIMSS with educational opportunities, networking events and committee functions. Some of these activities, like the HIT Workforce Accelerator, have successfully transitioned to a fully remote environment and, recently, the annual Summit was conducted virtually to great success. However, the social distancing limitations have posed the greatest challenge to the chapter’s events, especially related to networking.

The board or directors continues to follow the guidance of local governments and healthcare professionals in conducting its events and will continue to do so until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides enough to allow in-person gatherings. So what does 2021 look like?

Technology will drive so much of the chapter’s activities through at least the first part of 2021, as it did through most of 2020 with virtual event platforms and collaboration tools. Social distancing doesn’t mean socially distant for our members, and the education and careers of our members continue to drive the chapter. Through the chapter events, members will still receive:

  • highly relevant content focused on advancing their HIT careers
  • continued knowledge sharing from practicing HIT professionals
  • access to thought leadership over its digital platforms
  • HIT advocacy programs designed to legislatively support the advancement of HIT
  • virtual-networking opportunities as much as possible

Discussion during the retreat also centered around growing membership and ensuring representation across the state and different communities. This continue to be a goal of the board — helping members maximize access to all content and activities of the chapter statewide.

In recognizing disparities that exist in healthcare and the HIT professional. Expanding Diversity and Inclusion within the chapter and its communities continues to be a core priority. The chapter now has an active Diversity and Inclusion committee established to reinforce the mission of the chapter for all while achieving its diversity goals.

Whatever 2021 ends up looking like, be assured the Tennessee Chapter of HIMSS board of directors is squarely focused on supporting the needs of its members across the state, continuing to provide educational and thought leadership content and access to HIT professionals who can share best practices and knowledge. Virtually or in person, the chapter continues to provide strategy to meet those goals.