Why I Will Always Look Forward to the HIMSS Annual Conference

Jennifer Ramstrom

It was 12 years ago last month, at the HIMSS show in San Diego, that Connection (then PC Connection) launched its healthcare initiative. As a company sales leader with a well-known passion for healthcare, I was tasked with leading Connection into this new industry vertical. I took the opportunity because I was clear about one thing; I knew that our healthcare customers were unique. They spoke a different language and had a mission unlike any other. Our healthcare customers were in business to save lives, and that required a special commitment.

Early on, I relied on input from friends and family as well as my colleagues. It was then that my parents pointed me to John, an old family friend who was in the business of healthcare IT. His advice to me was simple…

“If you want to learn about healthcare IT and the opportunity available to you, you must attend HIMSS.”

I trusted John’s advice and showed up at HIMSS07 in New Orleans eager to get started. This was Connection’s first time exhibiting, with a small 20×20 booth. Before the show began, however, I attended a reception John had invited me to. It was here I learned that my friend happened to be one of the great trailblazers and influencers in the healthcare IT field. My friend’s name was John Wade, and that year he was Chair-Elect for the HIMSS Board of Directors.

To this day, whenever I mention his name to others in the industry, an immediate connection is made. John was an amazing mentor in my new leadership position and up until the day in 2012 when we spoke for the last time. He called to let me know that, due to an illness, he wasn’t going to make it to HIMSS that year. John, a true pioneer in HIT, spent his career as a CIO working in improve outcomes through the utilization of technology. And even though he was in high demand at every HIMSS conference, he always made a point to come by my booth to check in and see how we were progressing.

As I get ready to travel to Las Vegas for my 11th show, I was asked to write this post about what HIMSS represents to me.The paragraphs above cover where it started, and here is where it concludes: HIMSS is a time for me to reflect and remember old friends in the industry and reconnect with so many I have met over the years. It represents an opportunity to meet new people and experience new technologies. HIMSS represents hope for the future impact of healthcare IT. Most importantly though, it is a reminder that every one of us in attendance, including myself, has a role to play in leading the health IT agenda to design, build, deliver, and leverage technology solutions that improve outcomes and assist our caregivers in saving lives.

If you’re also in Las Vegas next week, be sure to stop by the Connection booth (#3828) to say hi and see what’s coming next in HIT.

Jennifer has over 20 years of healthcare IT experience. She is a member of several professional affiliations including HIMSS, CHIME, NEHIMSS, Ingram Micro Healthcare Advisory Council, and the CHIME Fall Forum Planning Committee.