By Jason Free, Features Editor, June 2014
How many resources do you and your company devote to attend, present, exhibit and/or sponsor an industry conference? How much thinking is involved regarding the return on the annual investment of these resources? How satisfying are those returns?
Along those same lines, how many resources do you and your company devote to arranging onsite visits to outside organizations? How satisfying are those returns?
If you perceive an imbalance in how you have been approaching these two opportunities to observe best practices, network, raise questions to industry experts and share strategies and ideas with colleagues relative to the everyday operations of your job, then you should take extra time to consider possible changes to your future plans.
It’s been nearly four months since HIMSS14. The healthcare community is now in a position to determine with a fair degree of accuracy the return on the investment it made either to produce or observe any of the mega conference’s events and exhibits.
How many contacts did you make that you actively engage today? How many lessons did you learn that are incorporated in your operations today?
Not only should such questions be asked for this year, but for the past several years as well. Has there been a general trend, one way or the other, in terms of your overall satisfaction in the return on your expenditures of time, money and effort when traveling to industry conferences?
I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing the HIMSS conference, or any other conference. My only intention is to help to raise our field’s level of consciousness relative to the manner in which we invest and interact with bodies outside our own organizations. If careful deliberations are made ahead of time and then a precise plan of action is generated and executed, an industry conference can be a treasure trove of benefits to individuals and organizations. That being said, it could be argued that by actively researching, approaching and visiting local, regional, national and international healthcare organizations, one can develop more personal, more impactful changes to his or her own company than the all-too-often more passive route of attending an industry conference.
One’s absence from a healthcare position can be justified only if an offsite opportunity has been thoroughly appraised in terms of its required level of interaction and possible applications to an organization’s policies and processes. If an offsite opportunity yields little more than long lectures and even longer exhibit halls, then an alternative should be selected.
I have encountered few companies in healthcare that have taken these considerations so seriously as Orion Health. If you have been following their HMT exclusive Living Case Study series, you should already know how they have managed to leverage their substantial geographic footprint to create a wealth of knowledge and experience that reaps enormous benefits for their clients and, alternately, patients worldwide. Other healthcare organizations should not only seek out Orion Health’s insights but also incorporate their mission to explore opportunities to visit outside organizations. They understand that the best takeaways from any healthcare business trip should not be measured in terms of its warm location, limitless schwag or lavish receptions. Rather, the everyday benefits you bring back to your office, department and, most importantly, your patients are the sole factors to determine the value of your efforts.
As you make your offsite plans for the remains of 2014, carefully consider all your options. Should you really go to Las Vegas, again, or would a visit to an Alberta Health facility be a better option?