Monday, May 19, 2014

Not on my Radar Screen

Some folks have asked me why I'm not at Conference X, or what it would take to get me to Workshop Y.

When I started working as a software developer many decades (ouch) ago, one of the things that I looked
forward to was going to various conferences and workshops.  Initially, I'd get to go to about one a year.  As I grew more experienced (and older), I was able to get to maybe two a year.  Then I began speaking at some conferences, and the number increased, but the ones I spoke at weren't necessarily the ones I would have chosen to go to for career development purposes (in other words, to have fun and learn something new).  And as I went to more, the number I got to got to for "career development" actually grew shorter.

These days I get to travel to more than a dozen events annually, but the number of events which are "just for fun" (in other words, selected by me to learn something I wouldn't otherwise get in my day job) is still around one annually.

If it doesn't have to do with any of the topics to the right as related to Healthcare Standards or Interoperability, then it is likely not part of my day job responsibilities.  It might be fun, but it fits into the 1-2 that I get to go to for career development every other year or so rather than doing my day job.  And getting into that list is difficult.

Conferences that fall into this category include things like:

Mostly I work on standards, not software.  Yes, I still use (and write) software in my day job, but that demonstrates implementation of standards, not code.  So you likely won't find me at things with names like (even when it might overlap with my day job):

  • ____ Code-a-thon
  • ____ Hack-a-thon

I'm not a policy wonk except where Healthcare Standards intersects with Healthcare Policy.  So you'll not usually find me at policy related events, unless they are totally focused on Healthcare Standards.  And that list is rather short and mostly on an emergency basis.

I'm not an Academic (but I am in school).  You won't likely find me at AMIA for anything work-related.  I might show up this year and next, but if I do, it may well be on my own (educational) dime.  I'm trying to fit this one into my current travel plans as my one career development conference, but when you go to as many conferences as I do, slipping in an extra one is actually harder.

My "standards portfolio" includes EHR and departmental interoperability, it doesn't include imaging, monitoring devices, pharmacy, or payer-side stuff (even though I know a bit more than a little bit about each).  I do cover public health to some degree, as well as quality.  So you won't usually find me at the interoperability showcase at RSNA, will find at HIMSS and am catch as catch-can for various public health events (depending on who you can get to drag me in).

My zone is International, but mostly focused in North America, and specifically US-based activities.  So if your conference is right in my sweet spot, but happening in Europe or Asia, one of my colleagues may likely be there, but not me unless there is another reason for me to appear.

I'm not running a Startup nor employed by one. Somehow, that also seems to rule me out as an innovator, but I don't worry about that too much.  So you won't find me at conferences devoted specifically to startups, or at innovation (unless it intersects with standards).  That's actually OK.  Innovation and Standards are actually two different tracks which have some overlap.  I also don't do "Hype of the Week/Month/Year" club stuff.  So you won't see me at things like:

Where you will find me:

This doesn't mean I'm not interesting in seeing your conference, or even in attending or presenting, but it likely means that I don't have budget (and may not have the time) to attend it.


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