Going Big on Healthcare AV and IT

If, as an AV professional, you still scratch your head from time to time wondering why InfoComm and the InfoComm Board spend so much time and resources on things like standards, industry innovations, and ANSI-accreditation of the Certified Technology Specialist program (or even if you don’t), I’d like you to meet Kate Berry. We talk a lot about the AV industry having a more prominent seat at more prominent tables. Kate is the type of person AV professionals can expect to meet when they commit themselves to standards and raising the overall profile of the industry.

Recently, Kate joined InfoComm officials on a trip to the University of Central Florida’s new high-tech College of Medicine to check out the school’s AV and IT systems. She is CEO of the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC). And her organization is joining InfoComm in launching a first-of-its-kind conference on the intersection of AV and IT technology in the healthcare market. I talked to her after her Florida trip.

Me: What did you think of your trip to UCF?

Kate: It was amazing and it helped me better understand the connection between AV and healthcare. I think it’s visionary of InfoComm to want to do this conference on behalf of its members, because there really are wide applications of audiovisual technology in the healthcare world.

Me: And the industry you represent — the healthcare companies — they agree?

Kate: When I’ve talked to members of our board about this–and we discussed the conference at our last board meeting–they get it in a nanosecond. These are CIOs and high-level executives in the healthcare industry. They think this is such an important thing to do that they’ve talked about doing something similar with other industries that need to work with healthcare companies.

What exactly is NeHC, you ask? NeHC is a public-private partnership for promoting the use of health information technology. It was originally set up under the George W. Bush administration as a special advisory panel to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with the expectation that it would spin out as an independent nonprofit organization. NeHC represents healthcare providers, hospitals and health systems, payer organizations, technology companies, state and federal government agencies, and others.

Kate: We continue to work closely with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT within HHS. NeHC’s mission is to serve as a neutral, multi-stakeholder collaborative forum to tackle barriers and accelerate progress toward widespread use of health information technology to improve health and healthcare. It’s a pretty huge mission, and within it we focus on three major areas: health information exchange, consumer engagement in e-health, and health IT education, which is probably what we’re best known for.

Kate herself is known for her extensive track record in the healthcare industry, having been in management consulting for many years. She also served as Chief of Staff at the American Red Cross and as Senior VP at Surescripts, a national electronic prescribing and clinical interoperability network. She’ll be kicking off the new conference Nov. 27 in Washington, D.C., alongside InfoComm Executive Director and CEO Randy Lemke, who would be one of the first to tell you why this partnership is significant.

You see, according to the InfoComm 2012 Market Definition and Strategy Study, which was released at this year’s InfoComm Show in Las Vegas, healthcare is the fastest-growing customer segment in North America. As the population ages and as healthcare industry reinvents itself to provide the best quality care conveniently and cost-effectively, the need for new facilities with new technologies grows. The fact a group like NeHC exists is testament to this trend.

Kate: What we see — more than new hospitals — are new medical office buildings, more ambulatory surgery centers, and more out-patient centers that are high-tech. Because if you think about it, there’s a trend to delivering more care outside the hospital than inside the hospital. And then there are new medical schools like UCF that are being built because there is a need for more doctors.

Thus the new Technology Crossroads Conference: Where HIT and AV Meet, Nov. 27-28 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Registration is now open. And yes, for those with keen perception, that overlaps nicely with GovComm 2012, Nov. 28-29, also in D.C., giving AV pros double the opportunity to network with decision-makers and influencers from two important, growing customer bases.

The agenda hasn’t been finalized, but you can get an idea of some of the topics NeHC and InfoComm plan to discuss, including introductions by AV professionals of the AV technologies used in healthcare facilities, as well as case studies and a cool-looking session of healthcare CIOs who will describe their wish-lists of new technology. You can also learn how CIOs think, plan, and budget (valuable information) and how/why their networks need to be secure.

These are the fruits that a growing, thriving industry enjoys — opportunities to thrive even more through cross-industry partnerships. Get involved. Be engaged.

Kate: There are a lot of synergies and overlaps between AV and health IT. This partnership will help both sides understand the connections, explore each side’s needs, and begin a dialogue that can help us explore this technology intersection even  further and uncover new business opportunities.

About Brad Grimes

Brad Grimes is a one-time writer and editor for InfoComm International and the former editor of Pro AV magazine. He has been writing about technology for more than 20 years. For more, visit the Blogger Bios page.

One Response to “Going Big on Healthcare AV and IT”

  1. Thank you Kate, NeHC and the folks at InfoComm. Looking forward to participating in your conference and promoting patient engagement in healthcare IT and AV….