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Q&A with Waco Hoover, VP and managing director of iHT2

Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | September 21, 2015
Waco Hoover
From the September 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

With another Institute for Health Technology Transformation taking place in New York on Sept. 29 and 30, we spoke to Waco Hoover to get the latest updates as well as some history about the summit.

HCBN: How did iHT2 come about? What were the decisions behind its creation?
WH:
It came about back in 2005, 2006, back when President Bush created the ONC. Health care had, by far, the farthest to go with leveraging technology effectively. The overall mission of the ONC was that providers could leverage technology effectively, not just fostering it for technology’s sake. So that was the origin.

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HCBN: How has it changed since the first event in 2007?
WH:
It’s dramatically different. From the first event, we now host 15 programs and work with HIMSS, CHIME, and have a whole research division. We have an educational webinar series, newsletters, executive round tables.

HCBN: Are there any memberships associated with iHT2?
WH:
Membership — that’s a unique aspect. We don’t have a membership base and that’s by design. We didn’t do that because without that membership base, it allows us to play nice in the sandbox, so to speak. It gives a lot of organizations a chance to share their perspective.

HCBN: What’s the most popular presentation topic?
WH:
Our topics are always evolving. For the last few years, meaningful use had been extremely front-and-center. But now, as we’ve moved into it, it’s moved to the side. Data analytics, population health, EHR optimization, and interoperability/HIE exchange are all big topics now. Another that has come on strong over the last year or so is cyber-security.

It’s always been an issue, but with the media coverage of breaches that’s been more of a priority. We have a whole cyber-security series we do with CHIME that has become really popular. Precision medicine is big overall. Precision medicine is the future.

HCBN: What are your goals or top priorities for this year’s event?
WH:
Some of the focus is on a number of the issues we talked about earlier. Measuring impact of population health management is an important one. Talking about how organizations are understanding data analytics. You have all this data — how is it actionable? We have a nice mix in the payor community speaking, and some systems that are going the route of self-insuring. There’s a trend moving in that direction.

HCBN: How do you see this event changing in the next five to 10 years?
WH:
I think attendee makeup will evolve with more and more titles that tie back to IT. More people that weren’t traditionally involved in the front line of health care. Traditionally, they were behind the scenes, but there’s more of an active interaction now. I think we’ll see more data scientists. More folks focused on quality and outcome, managing patient populations effectively. As we move from fee-for-service to outcome based, it’s going to be more and more important to have them participate in the conversation. I also think we’ll have more presentations and talks about pharmaceuticals and precision medicine, and remote patient monitoring. As it all becomes more sophisticated, it’s all going to change how we talk about things.

HCBN: What are you most excited about or what is your favorite thing about iHT2? WH: It’s not necessarily the content, although I think that it is always great for a learning experience. But what I always find the high point is interaction with attendees. It’s the conversations you have in the hall, at lunch, dinner, candid discussions, the chance to hear new perspectives, see what others are doing, what initiatives they have taken.
You walk away with new relationships and insight. It’s good for vendors and providers.

HCBN: How many exhibitors do you have and what are their opinions?
WH:
Almost 30. I think one of the things we do a good job of, and we always work to improve, is to make sure they’re integrated into the program. Everyone needs to collaborate, since the most advanced health care systems don’t work in a vacuum.

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