Thomas Yackel, M.D., is the chief health information officer at Oregon Health and Science University and a past presenter at the annual HIMSS Conference. We asked him a few quick questions about what he’s looking forward to in Las Vegas.

What topics are you homing in on at this year’s conference?

Software to support care management and CCOs; also advances in more ergonomic workstations for rounding; and VOIP-enabled devices. Interested in how other organizations are approaching PQRS and preparing for health care reform.

You’ve brought a lot of resources to bear on improving the continuum of care and reducing readmissions. How can health I.T. vendors step up to the plate to help you address those issues?

I.T. vendors, especially EHR vendors, need to quickly develop workflows that support population based care, including tools for care managers, physicians, and patients. Each of these groups needs to be engaged and technology can help a lot. We must also make sure the HIE efforts are supporting this mode of care where we are taking care of populations rather than one patient at a time.

Is the potential FDA regulation of the mobile market on your radar?

I'm thinking about it. In the long run, I would imagine that the standards and expectations for EHR will increase. Also, more medical knowledge needs to be built into the systems to support complex workflows. I cannot help but think that the EHR will eventually become a medical device in order to fully meet patients and providers' needs.

What’s the best part of the HIMSS conference experience for you?

Networking with colleagues, learning from great institutions like the Davies Award winners, and having the opportunity to speak with vendors in one convenient location.

What’s the worst?

Sometimes the stimulation on the vendor floor is overwhelming and I need to go out for a long run to clear my head!

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