This is the first time in many years that I won’t be going to ANI.
Maybe that lead-in wasn’t entirely accurate. I’ll still be part of HFMA’s annual gathering of healthcare finance leaders in June. But the conference no longer goes by the initialism that was so well known for so long—as it turns out, mostly to insiders. (Longtime members said, “A-N-I.” New folks asked, “What’s Annie?”) Now we’re calling it HFMA’s Annual Conference—simple, straightforward, and—we hope—welcoming to all.
The name is just one of the new ideas you’ll see coming to life at this conference. They aren’t really our new ideas—they’re yours. We listened, watched, and learned from you, and we’ve reimagined the Annual Conference experience accordingly. For starters, there will be less “sage on stage” and more opportunity for dialogue and discovery as you sit at round tables in sessions. (Tip: There will be fewer opportunities to doze off during PowerPoint presentations in darkened rooms after lunch. Consider skipping dessert.)
You’ll also have an opportunity to take a deep dive into a “wicked problem.” (Tip: Wicked problems aren’t evil per se; they’re considered difficult or impossible to solve, which is almost as bad. Take heart, though; according to the Harvard Business Review, they can be tamed.) The wicked problems being tackled at this conference include reducing the total cost of care, creating a consumer-centric healthcare delivery system, and applying business intelligence and analytics. If those don’t suit you, you can immerse yourself in guided sessions focused on one of five other content areas. Or you can go freestyle and hop around, joining in case study reviews, peer-to-peer smart talks, and table conversations.
Learning extends to the Exhibit Hall, site of our Innovation Hub, which will showcase healthcare start-ups that offer promising solutions to the aforementioned wicked problems. (Tip: Many of you have heard me say that disrupters will solve industry problems if traditional stakeholders don’t. Take this opportunity to learn from disrupters before they come to your town.)
Also new this year, the Career Connection Experience includes interview strategy sessions, executive coaching, career builder opportunities, job board assistance, and last but not least, headshots. (Tip: If people make polite comments about how different you look in your headshot, it’s time to get a new one.)
Amid all the new features, some things haven’t changed: the opportunities for networking, camaraderie, connecting with old friends, and meeting new ones. We realize that’s a big part of the reason many people come back to this conference year after year.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have provided feedback on ANI in years past. When we say that your feedback helps us plan future conferences, we mean it. So please take a little time to complete evaluations while you’re on site. And don’t hesitate to stop, say hello, and share your impressions of the new Annual Conference with me. I’m reasonably sure you’ll be able to recognize me from the headshot that accompanies this column. See you in Las Vegas!
Follow Joe Fifer on Twitter: @HFMAFifer