07 Apr HIMSS '09: Meaningful use of stimulus money is key theme
From a scary story of newborn twins struggling for their lives to a cinematic allusion of driving a car over a cliff, the central theme of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2009 Annual Conference and Exhibition — meaningful use of stimulus money to bring about change — emerged loud and clear at the start of health IT’s annual showcase.
“The stakes are extraordinarily high,” said HIMSS Board Chair Charles Christian welcoming 25,050 participants to Chicago Sunday on the first official day of the four-day conference. Calling this a “momentous time,” Christian pointed to Congress’ passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a major milestone for the health IT industry. The $19.1 billion in health IT spending in the bill represents “a huge opportunity and a significant challenge,” Christian said.
Actor Dennis Quaid delivered the first keynote address Sunday, telling the saga of how his newborn twins almost died from medical errors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California. The infants — a boy and a girl — survived two accidental overdoses of the blood anti-coagulant heparin, but others have died from similar mistakes. Quaid and his wife Kimberly established the Quaid Foundation to combat medical errors.
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