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Q&A with Willa Fields, HIMSS board chair

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | February 06, 2013
Willa Fields
From the January/February 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Diana Bradley

Dr. Willa Fields, a professor at San Diego State University’s School of Nursing, began her journey with HIMSS as an annual conference reviewer. From there, she volunteered to be a member of the Annual Conference Education Committee, and ultimately became the chair. After serving on various committees and task forces, she decided to run for a board position. As the society’s current board chair, she reflects on how volunteering for HIMSS has been a rewarding professional and personal experience because of the information she has gained and people she has met. In this DOTmed News Exclusive, she tells us more about herself, HIMSS’ current activities and what to expect from this year’s conference, held March 3-7 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La.

DMBN: What has been the high point of your career?
WF: As board chair, I had the opportunity to represent HIMSS with a testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Technology and Innovation Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology hearing, entitled, “Is Meaningful Use Delivering Meaningful Results?: An Examination of Health Information Technology Standards and Interoperability.” It was a thrill to participate in influencing federal lawmakers on health information technology.

DMBN: What is your favorite thing about being involved with HIMSS?
WF: All of the knowledge I gain. Through HIMSS, I learn what is happening in the field of health information technology as it is happening. I’m always amazed at the resources HIMSS provides me through blogs, list serves, committee membership, and publications.

DMBN: Are there any initiatives you are promoting during your time as chair?
WF: By realizing the HIMSS mission (transforming health care through the effective use of health information technology), we will be able to improve the health of those we serve. As a nurse, I am a patient advocate, meaning that what we do needs to ultimately benefit patient care, whether it is improved quality of patient care, improved patient outcomes, easier accessibility to health care services, or more affordable care.

DMBN: What is the focus of this year’s HIMSS conference?
WF: The focus of HIMSS13 is the convergence of technology mandates and quality of care. So, let me focus on the exhibit floor and point to two areas that demonstrate this convergence through both education and the exhibits: The HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, where attendees can track their personal health record across multiple points of care in a clinical setting; and the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion, which brings together different technologies – including RFID, RTLS, wireless, clinical applications, and more, to show how these technologies work in different clinical settings. This year, this exhibit also has a virtual environment. These two interactive demonstrations show how technology helps improve the quality of care and have education sessions that are part of the exhibit area.

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