This week on the HIMSS Exhibition floor, one of my former colleagues who swung by the CommonWell Health Alliance booth said to me “HIMSS is like a family reunion.” That is so true. You reunite people you haven’t seen in years. You meet new friends who are connected to someone you know. And you share stories as you catch up on both personal and professional happenings.

Besides what we are working on at CommonWell (which is pretty awesome!), what’s cool about working with CommonWell Health Alliance is that my health care “family” is expanding beyond my traditional industry and company affiliations. At CommonWell, my colleagues are from Allscripts, athenahealth, CPSI, Cerner, Greenway, McKesson, RelayHealth and Sunquest. Not to mention the addition of CVS and MEDHOST to our growing family. It was very rewarding to welcome these newest members on our booth –we even had Jonathon Bush join us in spirit (and headshot) while he is enjoying his sabbatical.

From left to right – John Hammergren, chairman, CEO and president – McKesson; Tee Green, CEO & president – Greenway; Richard Atkin, president – Sunquest; Craig Herrod, president-MEDHOST; Rich Elmore, VP- Strategic Initiatives – Allscripts & CommonWell Vice-Chairman of the Board; Jeremy Delinsky, CTO-athenahealth & CommonWell Chairman of the Board; (photo in photo) Jonathan Bush, co-founder, CEO, and president – athenahealth; Scott Tierney, Senior Director of Pharmacy Services – CVS; Bob Humphrey, director-Regional Extension Centers – CPSI; and Bob Robke, VP, Cerner Network & CommonWell Board Treasurer

Prior to working with CommonWell, I never thought that I would see competing vendors like McKesson, Allscripts and Greenway standing side by side in a booth presenting a shared technology service. How great was it to watch a live demonstration of patient records being shared across disparate EHR systems!

It also was pretty amazing that after only being live for a few short weeks on CommonWell services, three executives whose health care practices opted to be one of the first CommonWell clients were sharing their positive experiences with our solutions at HIMSS.

From left to right: Janet Marchibroda, Executive Director, CEO – Council on Health and Innovation and Director – Health Innovation Initiative; Dr. William R. “Tripp” Jennings, System Vice President, Medical Informatics Officer – Palmetto Health; AnnMargaret McCraw, CEO – Arcis Healthcare and Midlands Orthopaedics, PA; and Randy Williams, Director of Information Technology – Maria Parham Medical Center

Overall, my favorite part of HIMSS was the chance to share what amazing things our not-for-profit, vendor-led trade association is doing to improve the delivery of health care through ubiquitous interoperability. While my cheeks still hurt from smiling and my feet still tingle a bit from standing all day, what will stay with me well beyond this week is the amazing people I met, the enthusiasm from other vendors wanting to join our initiative, and the stories I heard and saw though the Faces for Interoperability (#ForInterop) effort.


Looking forward to seeing everyone at HIMSS15 in Chicago!


Jennifer Smith is a senior strategist at Cerner Corporation and marketing chair for CommonWell Health Alliance.