Fifer_Joseph_web(1)It's not often that I talk about joining the global dialogue on health care.

Once in a while, it's important to step back and look at the big picture. A narrow focus is productive—but it also can be limiting. That's how TEDMED puts it, and that's why HFMA has partnered with this innovative global community to bring you free livestream access to a conference dedicated to "ideas worth spreading." The annual TEDMED conference—the health and medicine edition of the TED conference—attracts people from all spheres, both geographically and within health care. (Our ANI 2014 keynote speaker, Atul Gawande, MD, gave a TED talk in 2012.)

During Sept. 10-14, HFMA members will have access to TEDMED's new program of more than 70 talks from transformative thinkers in health and medicine. We will be watching along with the National Institutes of Health, the American Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and other leading organizations that share an interest in inspiring breakthrough thinking and insights for improving health. In this country, healthcare organizations are using TEDMED Talks as a springboard for discussion in strategic planning meetings, board retreats, and other ad hoc groups of all stripes and sizes.

The TEDMED conference theme is "unlocking imagination in service of health and medicine." Sessions include a mix of speakers, comedians, musicians, and even acrobats. According to TEDMED, these speakers and performers are collectively seeking to help us:

  • Flip beliefs, question standard operating procedures, discard closely held assumptions, and gain fresh insights
  • Raise controversial issues in health and medicine that many people are reluctant to talk about publicly
  • Explore science and health trends that came out of left field, defied expectations, or simply seem completely off the wall

This is a rare opportunity to experience the view from 50,000 feet. That perspective can help us view our daily challenges and familiar surroundings with new eyes. And it can be a great complement to the focused, relevant, and essential educational programming that HFMA brings you every year, such as our Virtual Conference, to be held Sept. 18-19, featuring solution-oriented sessions on value-focused physician strategies, value-based payment models, and approaches for managing the ICD-10 delay.

I'll be speaking at HFMA's Virtual Conference, and I'll be watching and listening to TEDMED. See you in September.


HFMA members may participate in TEDMED events at no cost via personal computers and mobile devices, individually or in groups. The following credentials will grant free online access to the entire TEDMED program in real time (Sept. 10-12) and on demand (Sept. 10-14). There is no limit to the number of users who may participate.

To register your organization so that everyone can watch the simulcast for free:

  • Go to:
  • Enter your complimentary invitation code: TMLicHFMA14
  • Complete the form.
  • You will receive details about the TEDMED Live Streaming access website and login directly from TEDMED. 

From the President's Desk 

August 2014

Joe Fifer expands on his ideas in his August column.


Publication Date: Friday, August 01, 2014

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