Special report: At CHIME13, health IT leaders had money on their minds

By Gienna Shaw

Sessions at the annual College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) conference in Arizona last week ran the gamut from governance and leadership to patient identifiers to data analytics to federal initiatives such as Meaningful Use. But one common theme emerged time and again throughout the week: Money.

It was the sole focus of a well-attended session titled "Surviving the economic downturn," which featured Edward Marx, CIO of Texas Health Resources, Jon Morris, CIO at Georgia's WellStar Health System and Joan Hicks, CIO of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System. During part of that discussion, Marx talked about applying data analytics to health IT department finances as a way to take the emotion out of budgeting.

But money also came up during a panel discussion about patient matching that included Bill Spooner (pictured), CIO of San Diego's Sharp HealthCare.

Spooner talked about the costs to organizations and the potential benefits of finding a standardized, national method of identifying patients.

Meanwhile, former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, unfettered by official talking points, spoke for the first time since leaving office--and opened up about ONC's budget woes and how the shutdown is affecting national health IT efforts.

CHIME CEO Russell Branzell also had money on his mind during a Q&A session with Mostashari, who asked him if hospitals have a financial incentive to coordinate care. Branzell's answer: Not yet.

Follow the links below for financial-themed highlights from the sessions and to hear what these health IT leaders had to say about the costs and benefits of health IT.