Montana HIMSS Conference

Montana HIMSS Conference

Last week, the Montana HIMSS Chapter held their annual Spring Conference & Tradeshow. This event provides unique education, networking opportunities, and a chance to connect with local and national health IT vendors. The MT Chapter serves as a resource for navigating through the challenges in healthcare information technology, adding some local influence since their hurdles, while similar to the rest of the nation, are unique to such a large rural area. As the Regional Sales Director, I attended the conference to gain insight into what providers in my area need and how we, as a company, can better support them.

Here are my highlights from this year’s sessions I attended:

Where is the IT in PFE?

Martha Hayward, Institute for Healthcare Improvement Faculty and Patient Advisor 

Addressed how IT affects patients and their families.  Highlighted Martha’s experience as both she and her sister battled breast cancer.  Discussed the patient experience and how we as HIT professionals can engage with the patients to create transformational learning.  The lecture led attendees to consider patient centered care as having meaning in their work and to come up with solutions to engage patients and their families.

HIPAA Compliance for Mobile Technology

Susan Clarke, (ISC)2 certified Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner

Mobile technologies were one of the top CIO priorities through 2016.  With a reported 90% of health care providers currently utilizing mobile devices, security experts warn of significant risks to their organizations.  The presentation gave insight on safeguarding the organization from becoming the next target.

TeleHealth Modalities and Rural Population Health Management

Barry Brunk, Interim CIO & American Telemedicine Association Member

Addressed the need for telehealth in rural communities that face barriers to adequate healthcare.  The session highlighted the core fundamental practices that define a comprehensive Remote Patient Monitoring program as we move from a traditional delivery of care to an innovative virtual approach.  Also discussed ways that telehealth with reduce cost, improve quality of care, and increase remote access.  There was an interesting question/answer discussion around who is already doing this, challenges, ways to get around the barriers of equipment and training.

CMS Updates

John Hannigan, CMS Associate Regional Administrator for the Kansas City/Denver Division of Financial Management and Fee for Service Operations

John leads Medicare Operations and Financial Management teams to provide financial oversight of Medicare Administrative Contractors and address the needs and concerns of Medicare providers, Fee for Service beneficiaries, and other stakeholders. He provided a high level overview of CMS updates, specifically as how they relate to rural healthcare.


Data Driven Approach to Medicare Wellness: Good for the Patient-Good for the Practice

Tawnie Sabin, MSN, RN, NEA-BC
Faith Jones, JD, BSIE, Director at Large, American Nurses Association Board of Directions, Chair of the ANA-PAX

As our population ages, we will not have the capacity to care for the patients in the future using the same care models of the past.  More emphasis is being placed on population health and ensuring all care delivered meets the triple aim.  As payment models transition to team based care, all staff, especially technical support staff, must be prepared to play a crucial role in care delivery.  Tracking and ensuring the delivery of annual wellness services for all Medicare beneficiaries ensures sustainable revenue for the practice, created a measurable baseline of care, empowers patient participation in disease prevention, and community engagement for health communities.  The end result is better health for the population.


ACHE Panels

MontanaHIMSS3The Healthcare Executive’s Role in IT Decisions

Toni Woods, CPHIMS, HIM Regional Manager Montana-Ambulatory of SCL Health
Barry Brunk, Interim CIO & American Telemedicine Association Member
Maria Stoppler,
CEO, Director of Nursing, Granite County Medical Center
John Hannigan, CMS Associate Regional Administrator for the Kansas City/Denver Division of Financial Management and Fee for Service Operations
Cindy Stergar,
CEO, Montana Primary Care Association

Today’s healthcare executives work in a world of ever increasing IT options.  These leaders often do not work directly with technology, nor necessarily understand the application, but they are asked to make crucial decisions about their implementation.  The outcomes of those decisions have financial, strategic, and patient outcomes and the cost of a mistake could be devastating.  They discussed success stories and lessons learned, but the highlight for me was Maria Stoppler’s discussion around their recent EMR selection.  This is a challenging process for a small organization like Granite County Medical Center and as the CEO, Maria was very involved in the whole process.  She ran through their entire process and what led them to eventually chose a new EMR.  She explained their thought process and how they made the decision and formed a relationship with the new vendor.


Technology Innovation Changing the Face of Healthcare Delivery

Nicole Hobbs, PhD, Director of Medical Informatics, Intermountain Healthcare
Brad Putnum, Executive Director, HealthShare Montana
Deb Anderson
Faith Jones,
JD, BSIE, Director at Large, American Nurses Association Board of Directions, Chair of the ANA-PAX

Topics Included:

  • National Landscape: Policies, Initiatives, and Innovations.  Are policies/regulations keeping up with the pace of healthcare innovation or is the pace to rapid for legislation to stay current?
  • Local Landscape: Opportunities & Challenges of Keeping up in Rural States.  The promise of HIE, Meaningful Use, and where they are right now.
  • Driving Change & Leveraging Technology Innovation at the Local Level: What can providers do to increase diffusion of innovation? From a provider perspective, how can we implement change without increasing cost?

Whether you’re interested in meeting up at a local conference or if you’d just like more information on our services, feel free to contact me with any comments/questions below! 



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