During the week of October 21, 2019, healthcare data and analytics practitioners from across the U.S. and Canada descended upon Ann Arbor to participate in the annual conference of the Healthcare Data & Analytics Association (HDAA)—hosted by Michigan Medicine. The theme of this year’s conference was The Art of Data & Analytics.
Almost 400 attendees from more than 140 health-care institutions participated in the conference. Beginning with a Meet and Greet on Monday night, attendees spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and a half-day Thursday taking in panel and roundtable discussions, poster sessions, and breakout sessions. This year, attendees had almost 50 breakout session topics to choose from across many diverse topics, such as Building an Analytics Center of Excellence, Data Concierge at Michigan Medicine, Bayesian Learning from Clinical Text: The Potential of EHRs to Inform Care Proactively, and Making a Case for Data Vault Modeling at Cleveland Clinic.
Attendees included data experts and those just starting out in the field, from data analysts, and data scientists to systems analysts, data warehouse developers, and more. Physicians and nurses were also in attendance as more clinicians recognize the importance of analytics in serving their patient populations.
Two University of Michigan PhDs and a Michigan Medicine MD shared keynote responsibilities across the three days, ensuring an inspirational start to each morning:
- Eric Schwartz, PhD, shared research and experience with using machine learning to remediate lead exposure in Flint and beyond.
- Karandeep Singh, MD, MMSc, presented seven habits for implementing effective predictive models derived from what he described as “the clinical trenches.”
- Bhramar Mukherjee, PhD, spoke about her statistician perspective on using observational big data for health-care research.
“After attending my first HDAA conference in 2014, I knew this was something I wanted Michigan Medicine to sponsor, as it draws some of the healthcare analytics industry’s most serious practitioners,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Michigan Medicine’s chief information officer. “In the past three years, the conference has doubled in attendance, and the Michigan Medicine all-volunteer staff of planners and implementers—all from the Health Information Technology & Services (HITS) team—can be proud of the professional stamp they have left on this event for future participants.”
Bruce Douglas, Director of Data Analytics and Integration at Emory Healthcare, Inc., and a HDAA board member and conference attendee also appreciated the Michigan Medicine effort.
“The logistics, the setting, the content: all flawless,” commented Douglas. “I want to commend the entire team for the outstanding work they did before, during, and after the conference. Even with attendance nearing 400, Michigan Medicine managed to preserve that HDAA feel of collegiality and collaboration, which is hugely important to us.”
In addition to annual draws of the conference content and a series of vendor presentations, this year’s conference featured, for the first time, an Executive Session. Designed for C-level participants from numerous health-care institutions, these attendees gathered to discuss healthcare data and analytic strategies and the challenges and opportunities facing these disciplines. All conference-goers were encouraged to take advantage of free transportation on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to enjoy Ann Arbor’s nightlife, with the networking pièce de résistance featuring a private event held at the renowned University of Michigan Museum of Art.