By Eric Thrailkill, TN HIMSS President and SVP of BI and AnalyticsEnvision Healthcare

Under the leadership of VP of Education and BOD Member, Will Rice, the Tennessee HIMSS HIT Accelerator marches on through the Spring Semester

I had the opportunity to visit with the class, 100% distance learning as you would expect, via a Zoom session on Monday, March 23rd.   The “original” plan was to join one other healthcare CIO and participate in a panel discussion regarding the roles, responsibilities and changes in information technology – sprinkling in comments on strategy, regulations and the impact of innovation and data growth on traditional information technology professional roles, including the role of the chief information officer.  I enjoyed the opportunity to have this discussion with Andy Flatt of National Health Care and Andy Corts of Sarah Cannon, in the fall semester.  Who would have imagined, just a few months later, a discussion of information technology and CIO response to COVID-19 would take much of the presentation?

Will commenced the class (minor Zoom connectivity issues by yours truly) with an on time and engaged group of students.   We continued with a discussion of the last decade of IT regulation, a decade of exponential computing/analytics/cloud capabilities and a few thoughts on my company’s (Envision Healthcare) response to the pandemic.

We were eighteen days removed from the decision of Hal Wolf (CEO of Global HIMSS) and the HIMSS BOD to cancel HIMSS20, just thirteen days removed from suspended schedules of the NBA and the NHL and ten days removed from execution of a remote workforce plan of 7,000 non-clinical workforce at Envision Healthcare.

Throughout this process, I’ve been amazed at the adaptability of the healthcare industry, the incredible collaboration and information sharing among all constituents and the support for physicians, nurses, medical assistants, technicians and all those on the front lines of triaging, treating and providing care with empathy to the many thousands of cases presenting. 

We also discussed how uncertainty, at many different levels, including in our personal lives, impacted by the efforts necessary to provide safe and compassionate care to the increase in patients with the COVID-19 diagnosis.

I’m extremely proud of the industry we all service, committed to the current response cause and hopeful we will be moving through phases of recovery in the weeks and months ahead.  Finally, I’m extremely optimistic, with information and technology as companions, healthcare will be re-shaped for the better for decades to come. 

I would like to thank the students of the Spring semester of the HIT Accelerator program.  Each student is addressing the disease in their personal and professional lives – yet, taking this opportunity to continue their industry knowledge is inspirational.

I would also like to thank our generous sponsors, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee. BCBS pf Tennessee uniquely sponsors multiple students each semester and when available, provides a facility with exceptional technology on their campus in Chattanooga.  Without the support all the other sponsors noted below, the Chapter could not be in a position to provide this unique educational experience. 

TN HIMSS HIT Accelerator Sponsors