The Latest from Eileen

To HIMSS, or not to HIMSS, that is the question.

For those of you who have never heard of HIMSS, you are not alone. My family often asks me, “What is HIMSS?” The follow-up questions are typically, “Does HIMSS have a sister conference called HERS?” Ha ha. Very funny. “So, why are you spending so much time on this HIMSS thing? When is it over?”

For those of you involved or remotely involved with health technology, health IT or you’re a healthcare provider, you stand a good chance of knowing what HIMSS means and what it’s all about. And you’re probably chuckling to yourself as you’ve probably heard these questions a few times before.

HIMSS, which stands for Health Information Management and Systems Society, formerly the Hospital Management Systems Society, is a Chicago-based “global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT).” HIMSS states that it “leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.” Founded in 1961, HIMSS “encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare providers, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations that share this cause.”

At its annual conference, more than 1260 companies will exhibit in spaces larger than your average size home. Some companies design their exhibit booths to feel like you’re in a home, complete with fireplaces, comfortable leather sofas, coffee tables, vases, flower arrangements, decorative drapes and yes, cappuccino machines. Other companies even set up a fully-stocked bar in their exhibit booths that open promptly for happy hour – with lines of thirsty conventioneers making their rounds through the hall before descending on the multitude of company-sponsored after-parties.

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What kind of message are we sending to our kids to close schools when it snows 4 inches?

Alright, I know.  It’s been 6+ months since I wrote a blog entry.  I was on a roll there, I know. Truth be told, I took a corporate job in late August last year that has been keeping me very busy. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “You just started your own company, began working with new clients, launched your website, and you sold out so quickly?”  That’s not EXACTLY what my friends and family have been telling me, but I am enjoying my new job leading global marketing and communications at a local company…but there’s no excuse for not writing – so here I go…are you ready?

So, this blog post is 30% therapeutic, 30% cathartic and 40% an attempt at making a really big, fat, and hairy statement about the insanity of closing schools when it snows…4 inches and the temperature dips into the single digits?  OK – I must take a big, deep inhale before I write anymore. Breathe. OK – done.  But, really? How are these decisions made? Who makes them? Based on what facts? I digress for just a bit.

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Ron Brown Way

Ron Brown Way

I can’t let April go by without remembering someone who was a major influence in my life.  For the last 17 years, I remember April 3, 1996 as if it was yesterday.  That’s the day when the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 other people – 11 Commerce employees, many of whom were close friends – died in a tragic plane crash near Dubrovnik, Croatia.

I still remember what I was doing on that day.  I was in my office at the Small Business Administration talking on the phone to my friend, Dan McLaughlin, who had spoken earlier that day to Lawry Payne, one of the 34 people who died in that tragic plane crash.  Dan, Lawry and I worked closely together at the Commerce Department when we served in the Clinton Administration.  Lawry was one of a kind.  He was smart, ambitious, kind and incredibly talented.  While Dan and I were talking on the phone, we both heard a breaking story about a plane crash in Croatia.  We quickly ended our conversation and headed to the closest TV.  Read More

“We’re in Business to Help Change Lives”

“We’re in Business to Help Change Lives.” That’s the first thing you see when you click on “Our Movement” page on TOMS website. Underneath this bold statement, it gets even better:

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