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Q&A with Dana Alexander, HIMSS North America Chair

Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | February 21, 2016
Dana Alexander
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HIMSS North America Chair, Dana Alexander, took some time out of a busy schedule to speak with HealthCare Business News and share her background in health care as well as the latest on the Society’s news.

HCB News: How did you get involved in health care?
I felt strongly about nursing, thinking it was where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I’m a registered nurse. I went to nursing school after high school, and then graduated nursing school, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner. Over time, I found myself moving into various roles, including management, and holding positions of chief nursing officer, and then chief executive officer for a freestanding woman’s hospital.

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I became more involved in health information technology 15 years ago. Cerner was my entree into health IT, where I led efforts for clinical transformation during IT implementations. In addition, I’ve always been very active in professional associations: American Nurses Association, and American Organization of Nurse Executives. I’m an Academy of Nursing fellow as well. I have also participated in national efforts related to quality with National Quality Forum and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All of these experiences have positioned me to deal with opportunities and challenges we face in health care.

I’ve had the chance to learn about and work with health care systems that are striving to improve the health of individuals and populations. I’ve been fortunate that health care has been an industry rich in opportunities. It hasn’t just been in acute care. I’ve had responsibilities that have expanded into post-acute care, home health, and hospice as well, to give me a very broad perspective on health care.

HCB News: How did you get involved in HIMSS?
I’ve always had a very strong commitment to associations, and HIMSS has been one of those organizations. Engaging with HIMSS was a natural evolution. I first became active with HIMSS when I was appointed to the Nursing Informatics Committee, whose members address important issues in the field. Another example is the HIMSS Public Policy Committee with active and influential volunteers focused on the policy side of health IT. In addition to serving as Chair of the HIMSS North America Board of Directors, I also hold a seat on the HIMSS Board of Directors, which is a separate board and oversees the entire enterprise including international activities.

HCB News: Why should people consider joining HIMSS?
The right technologies must be in place to support and achieve a health care organization’s strategies, and HIMSS has the depth and breadth to engage in and influence public policy and the transformation of health and health care through IT. I know this, based on where we are in health care today, where we’re going in achieving the national quality strategy, the drive toward population health and value-based care, and evolving alternative payment models.

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