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CSTE at the HIMSS 2019 Conference: Reflections from a first-time Attendee

Posted By Charisse LaVell, Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Updated: Monday, April 15, 2019
  I have known about the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Global Conference and Exhibition for many years, and I finally got the chance to attend HIMSS19 in Orlando, FL as a representative of CSTE. I was briefed beforehand on the enormity of the conference, yet I was completely unsure how my experience would unfold. HIMSS is a global non-profit whose mission is to improve health through information and technology. The annual HIMSS conference draws upwards of 45,000 attendees, with over 1300 exhibitors and more than 300 education sessions. I was blown away by the diversity and caliber of vendors and their uniquely designed booths that filled the exhibit hall at the Orange County Convention Center. 




CSTE was invited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to participate in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase to demonstrate how the Reportable Conditions Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) supports electronic case reporting between healthcare providers and public health. The Interoperability Showcase is a major exhibit at HIMSS and is comprised of several guided, real-time demonstrations presented by diverse companies that work through partnerships using innovative techniques to address current health problems. CSTE joined the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), CDC, several state health departments including Tennessee, Michigan, Utah, and Washington, Epic, Netsmart, FormFast, CareEvolution, National Consortium of Telehealth Resources Centers, and American Well to present our use case: The Opioid Crisis: The Person and The Population.  For this use case, we worked together to demonstrate how emerging technologies and standards are applied to enhance public health reporting and surveillance for the opioid overdose epidemic. 



Pictured: Partners demonstrating The Opioid Crisis: The Person and The Population use case at the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference’s Interoperability Showcase. From left to right, Laura Conn (CDC), Jim Fitzpatrick (Epic), Sai Valluripalli (APHL) and Charisse LaVell (CSTE).

Pictured: Partners demonstrating The Opioid Crisis: The Person and The Population use case at the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference’s Interoperability Showcase. From left to right, Laura Conn (CDC), Jim Fitzpatrick (Epic), Sai Valluripalli (APHL) and Charisse LaVell (CSTE).


In our showcase, we simulated a patient, who is a resident of Washington, that presented to a Tennessee emergency department with an apparent opioid overdose. The opioid overdose diagnosis entered into the electronic health record (EHR) triggered the subsequent process of reporting to public health. The emergency department’s EHR system, represented by Epic, generated and sent the electronic initial case report (eICR) to the APHL AIMS secure cloud-based platform. This process invoked the RCKMS decision support service to determine whether this potential case is reportable to public health. Based on the reporting logic for both Washington Department of Health and Tennessee Department of Health, RCKMS determined that this case of opioid overdose is reportable to Washington and Tennessee. RCKMS outputted the determination with other pertinent routing information to the APHL AIMS platform for inclusion in a reportability response (RR). AIMS then routed the RR back to the Epic EHR system. Concurrently, the eICR and RR were routed to both the Washington Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Health. Washington’s health information exchange (HIE) and Tennessee’s surveillance system consumed the eICR and the RR, while Epic received and processed the RR.



Pictured: CSTE staff member Charisse LaVell leads the crowd through a demonstration of the Reportable Conditions Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) at the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference in Orlando, FL.

As the opioid overdose epidemic has gained more visibility as a public health crisis, CSTE’s participation in this year’s HIMSS conference was invaluable in broadening attendees’ awareness of the importance of public health reporting for opioid overdoses and how RCKMS supports surveillance and electronic case reporting. Throughout the conference, I was able to share the work of RCKMS with clinical and public health professionals. Having the opportunity to represent CSTE by presenting at my first HIMSS conference was an unforgettable experience. 

Charisse LaVell is a Program Analyst supporting the RCKMS project.  For more information about RCKMS, contact Charisse at clavell@cste.org.

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