New Town Hall Phone System to cost $65K, too much?

business-phone-systems

In the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, MA. Their committee just voted in favor of upgrading their old, outdated town hall phone system that they are currently using.

Well, using is stretching it a bit. They’ve been having some issues with the phone system over the past year. Over the last few months they haven’t be able to receive any voicemails and the calls are then disconnected after a few rings.

Finance Director Jennifer Petit said because of the failing state of the town hall phone system, the town opted to bring an article to Town Meeting in April instead of waiting to fund the upgrades in November.

“The voicemail isn’t working, so we need to get this done right away,” she said.

Committee member Susan Smith suggested that the new system could be installed even sooner if the project were paid for with reserve funds. Ms. Petit said that would not expedite the installation, however, as a plan is still being worked out for how to switch out the existing system.

Committee member Peter J. Hargraves asked if the new system will be compatible with phone systems in other town buildings. Mr. Lowell said that it will, thanks to town buildings’ connection to the OpenCape network. The fiber optic network has enabled high-speed Internet connectivity. Voice-over IP operates over the Internet.

Source: New Phone System To Cost $65,000

The town hall manager, Julian M. Suso, felt that repairing the current phone system would have been “poorly spent” to try to fix the almost extinct phone system. The parts to fix the current system are not available anymore and any new parts would have to be installed.

falmouth-ma

They initially estimated funds to replace the old system be around $30,000 to $50,000. But the new number of $65,000 will cover the purchase of 90 phones and software for a VoIP system, at $45,000 and then the remaining $20,000 would cover the cost of wiring and installing the new system.

Their police and fire departments have already went through some upgrades to their phone systems, with the library slated for next on their list.

A VoIP system that costs $65,000 installed, is it worth it? Well. according to the people in Falmouth, absolutely! One of my favorite quotes from committee member Susan Smith was

“Ninety-year-old people don’t go to the website”

Source: Committee Insists On Fixes To Town Hall Phone System

No mention of the current system they were replacing after 15 years. What’s your best guess?

Click here for More Business Phone Related News and Tips

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Cisco Leading The Digital Transformation in Healthcare

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The advances in technology are all around us.

We have mobile devices phones that have replaced and combined everything from your phone, computer, web browser, email and music player, to self-driving cars and drones dropping off your online order minutes after you order.

But there are still a few areas it seems technology is having a hard time breaking through to.

Those are usually the tried and true mega institutions that have been around for a long time, have a long history and find it hard to turn over their tried and true method to some “new” tech, that may bring it all crashing down around them. Which seldom ever happens, but that’s their fear anyway.

Those behemoths were technology is slow to make progress are your government agencies, your education systems and of course the healthcare industry.

Cisco is actually helping to lead the way in that last category. Recently Cisco has teamed up with Pure Storage to revolutionize the world of data storage.

Cisco is excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with partner Pure Storage to revolutionize the world of data storage. FlashStack combines Cisco UCS with industry-leading flash storage in one powerful package. This is especially good news for for customers of Epic, the leading EHR software vendor in the U.S., because FlashStack is Epic-compliant. It meets – or exceeds – Epic hardware specifications.

When customers build Epic on FlashStack, they get an instantly upgradable platform for Epic deployment. Additional capacity and capabilities can be added seamlessly in minutes, with no need for rip-and-replace upgrades. A simple, unified management interface gives the IT team the ability to manage UCS and Pure Storage resources using familiar Cisco management tools and processes.

FlashStack gives facilities the ability to scale on-demand, drive always-on high performance for Epic (even under heavy use), and deploy a cloud-like infrastructure for flexible growth. In fact, FlashStack is already making waves in the industry. One early adopter achieved a 234% ROI on a VDI deployment with all-flash storage from Pure Storage.

Source: Cisco and Pure Storage Announce Data Storage Solution

 

Cisco is also looking to “Empower healthcare innovation. Simply and securely transform experiences and outcomes.” They have several healthcare offerings that can help do just that.

 

 

Check out their cool infographic they:

VaS-infographic-sat

 

They are even creating content, solutions and documents to help any healthcare facility make the switch. Here’s one they created for those getting started with telemedicine. According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), more than 15 million Americans receive some kind of remote medical care, and that number is only expected to grow.

Ready to join the telemedicine revolution? One key to your success is getting everyone in your organization excited and on board with your plan. Here are a few tips to overcome barriers and hesitation.

1. To get buy-in, communicate value: not only to the C-Suite but also to providers.

Consider all the stakeholders who could be affected by your plan. Be prepared to share answers to the following questions:

What are the organization’s goals with telemedicine? Is it to reduce costs, increase convenience, improve patient outcomes, reduce physician burn-out, and/or grow the business? Share details. (These are all potential benefits of telemedicine – visit the ATA to get more information.)
What ROI are you expecting as an organization in one year, five years, 10 years? Help them visualize the long-term benefits.
How will you help keep liability risks low for providers? Is your insurance policy up to date? Are there any concerns with licensing? How will you address security? Knowing these answers may help ease provider anxiety.
2. Get a champion (or a committee of champions).

Seek out providers who are enthusiastic about telemedicine and encourage them to share information with colleagues. These folks can also serve as your implementation committee once your telemedicine program is off and running.

3. Run a patient education campaign.

Study after study shows that patients want telemedicine but don’t know where to get it – or don’t know if their insurance policy covers it. Make sure they not only know it exists but also understand how to access it.

4. Have the right technology – or a plan to acquire it.

Can your network handle the increased bandwidth – and is it secure? What about video quality? How will your system operate with other technology already in place? It’s critical that you ensure a smooth transition for your end users.

Source: Four ways to overcome telemedicine hesitation

Are we there yet? Nope! We are still waiting for those flying cars.

Are there still hurdles to overcome? Absolutely, but Cisco is helping get a foothold and prove to the healthcare industry that the tech works and with that, hopefully continue to pave the way. Allowing for more technology, better systems and efficiencies that can help us all.

Visit us here for more HealthCare IT news, tips and posts.

Largetst Trove of Government Secrets Ever Stolen

Over 50TB gov’t classified data stolen

Government cyber security measures are front and center again with the latest news a former NSA contractor, Harold Martin, as a Booz Allen Hamilton employee, stole the largest trove of government secrets ever.

And yes you are correct, Edward Snowden also worked as an NSA contractor AND was employed by Booz Allen Hamilton as well, but unlike Snowden, the government is tight lipped on whether or not he actually did something with the data.

Former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin was indicted today on 20 criminal counts for stealing government documents and data in his capacity as a Booz Allen Hamilton employee, according to Reuters . Each of the 20 charges carries with it a sentence of up to 10 years.
Source: NSA contractor indicted for stealing more than 50TB of government secrets

His security clearance allowed him to steal documents from the CIA, the US Cyber Command, and the National Reconnaissance Office.

Just goes to show most major breaches, usually originate with someone with extremely close proximity.

Visit us here for more information on Government IT and Cyber Security

Avaya Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, What Now?

avaya-business-phone-systems

Avaya, after much anticipation, finally made it official by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

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Avaya is one of the recognized leaders in providing global solutions for customer and team engagement, business phone systems, unified communications, networking and a host of other telecommunications products.

The move was made in an effort to get out from under some massive debt. According to Avaya’s CEO, Kevin Kennedy:

“We have conducted an extensive review of alternatives to address Avaya’s capital structure, and we believe pursuing a restructuring through Chapter 11 is the best path forward at this time. Reducing the company’s current debt through the Chapter 11 process will best position all of Avaya’s businesses for future success”

Source: Avaya Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Protection

Now what does that mean for all the Avaya customers and partners? According to Phil Edholm, President and Founder of PKE Consulting, which consults to end users and vendors in the communications and networking markets, the outlook is a bit cloudy, but not too gloomy:

“Considering all of this, what does the bankruptcy mean for Avaya customers? Clearly, the path forward is now very cloudy (pun intended). However, I do believe that, regardless of the bankruptcy’s outcome, the Avaya businesses will go forward in some form and customers can be assured that their investments will continue to be supported and useable.”

Source: Avaya Bankruptcy: Good or Bad for Customers?

 

In fact it looks like only the US subsidiaries will be affected and it’s business as usual for the UK and the other foreign entities.

Avaya B159 Conference Phone 700501530

Ronald Rubens, VP of Avaya’s Europe North says he actually thinks it’s a good thing and not just business as usual.

“If we hadn’t got a bankruptcy protection then that would have meant our operation was compromised.”

Source: Avaya's bankruptcy protection is a 'good thing,' says Europe North veep

Avaya is hoping this will get them back on track. John Sullivan, CFA, VP and Corporate Treasurer, Avaya Inc. actually wrote an article addressing the move and how they arrived at chapter 11.

So even though this may look like it’s deja vu all over again, I’m thinking this time around, with the Nortel history as reference, Avaya should do fairly well after all the dust has settled.

And we are wishing them all the best.

Hospitality Industry – Top 10 Communication Trends in 2017

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If you’ve been inside of any hotel, motel or other hospitality business in the last few years you know that they are, technologically, light-years ahead of anything you parents may have booked back in their day.

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(Is this one of those “places” you can’t help believing? I don’t think so.)

Most now are great little hubs for activity ranging all the way from family-friendly vacations to business seminars, with the occasional night-club thrown in for the locals.

In order to stand out they are willing to do whatever they can to entice their customers. The folks at mitel created a cool post about the latest trends that will be coming to the forefront in 2017. If you aren’t aware of what they are, it’s a great idea to go check out that post and check out the link for an in-depth review of each trend and see how you measure up.

We’ve created a little graphic for those wanting a sneak peek:

rqcommunications-preview-20170127

Speaking of “back in the day”, here are some examples of some of the hospitality technology that’s still being used today. (and this was back in 2014!)

Visit this link for more information on the Hospitality Industry Technology and Telecommunications

Government IT Still Ok Despite Trump Freeze?

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With President Trump making news with his latest signing, freezing government jobs. It looks like it’s not ALL jobs are affected. The Government IT jobs will be a bit tougher to get because of the signing, but it’s still very possible for those in the Defense and Cybersecurity positions.

Defense agencies are big users of IT and appear to be unaffected by the freeze. Cybersecurity hiring is a major impetus at civilian agencies and, depending on how broadly the government defines IT jobs related to “public security,” there could still be quite a bit of hiring.

Cybersecurity-related hiring was a top IT priority in the last year of President Barack Obama’s administration. It follows high-profile government breaches, including some 20 million records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Source: Trump's federal hiring freeze won't kill government IT hiring

As to be expected, not everyone is on board with a government hiring freeze. In fact an independent watchdog, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GOA), issued a report stating that a hiring freezes had very little effect on actual federal employment levels and it was unknown whether they even saved the government money.

The last time there was a federal hiring freeze was in 1982.

Check out this section for more Government IT News and Notes 

Top 10 Higher Ed IT Issues for 2017

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Educause, the largest technology association for higher education, released their annual list of top 10 issues for higher education information technology professionals.

This is an in-depth report that we will breakdown for you, but if you just can’t wait, here is the first part.

The 2017 EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues are all about student success.

Information technology in higher education continues to have many priorities and serve numerous constituents. IT service catalogs comprise hundreds of services to meet the many needs of faculty, students, and staff in various fields: the humanities; social, biological, and physical sciences; law; music; theater; art; business; and healthcare and allied professions.

You name it, higher education offers it, and the IT organization supports it.

Every academic and administrative area makes its own, separate demands on the IT organization, at any time and from any place. Despite the many and disparate requirements of each user and each technology, a predominant focus has risen to the top for higher education information technology in 2017, and that focus is student success.

Colleges and universities are concentrating on student success to address concerns about the costs, value, and outcomes of higher education.

Student success initiatives are making use of every available resource and opportunity and are involving every relevant stakeholder. Institutional technology is all three: resource, opportunity, and stakeholder.

2017 Top 10 IT Issues

  1. Information Security: Developing a holistic, agile approach to reduce institutional exposure to information security threats
  2. Student Success and Completion: Effectively applying data and predictive analytics to improve student success and completion
  3. Data-Informed Decision Making: Ensuring that business intelligence, reporting, and analytics are relevant, convenient, and used by administrators, faculty, and students
  4. Strategic Leadership: Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as a strategic partner with institutional leadership
  5. Sustainable Funding: Developing IT funding models that sustain core services, support innovation, and facilitate growth
  6. Data Management and Governance: Improving the management of institutional data through data standards, integration, protection, and governance
  7. Higher Education Affordability: Prioritizing IT investments and resources in the context of increasing demand and limited resources
  8. Sustainable Staffing: Ensuring adequate staffing capacity and staff retention as budgets shrink or remain flat and as external competition grows
  9. Next-Gen Enterprise IT: Developing and implementing enterprise IT applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies to achieve agility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and effective analytics
  10. Digital Transformation of Learning: Collaborating with faculty and academic leadership to apply technology to teaching and learning in ways that reflect innovations in pedagogy and the institutional mission

Stay tuned for more on these topics.

Source: Top 10 IT Issues, 2017: Foundations for Student Success

Managing IT – One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost

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It’s probably safe to assume you know that managing information technology (IT) is a critical element of running a successful business.

When it comes to IT, one thing you might not be aware of is “hyperconvergence.”

In our fast-changing technological landscape, it’s not uncommon to encounter a word such as this and not be completely sure what it means. With many businesses implementing hyperconverged systems, let’s quickly understand what exactly it is.

Hyperconvergence defined.

During his time as Chief Technology Officer of UK-based VCE, Steve Chambers noticed that businesses were investing a significant amount of time, effort, and money into combining his company’s three products into what technologists call a “virtualization stack.” In other words, companies were buying computers, storage, and networking separately, then trying to bring it all together themselves.

Chambers helped introduce the term hyperconvergence to the industry in 2012, with the publication of The Infrastructure Continuum.

By combining the three products into one, he and his team thought they could provide better customer service while also making more money.

With hyperconvergence, IT departments purchase everything at once, saving the time and effort they originally put into combining everything. “In one server, you have network, compute, and storage, so it was hyperconverged, and that’s where the phrase came from,” says Chambers, who now serves as CTO of Viewyonder, a U.K.-based tech industry analyst.

Reducing inconvenience and cost.

IT teams consistently look for ways to simplify their infrastructure, not only to save money but also to make things easier for employees who always have overflowing to-do lists. Scott Lowe is CEO of ActualTech Media, an organization of industry experts who provide surveys, reports and blogs to IT professionals. He says hyperconverged products are a critical resource and by simplifying certain processes, professionals can concentrate on other areas that may have more importance.

“One of the primary goals of hyperconvergence is to eliminate the need for separate storage resources,” Lowe says.

And we’re putting that storage into the server container and managing that as a single device rather than multiple devices that we then have to go through and connect together. It eliminates a lot of the complexity and cost in the data center environment.”

For businesses interested in switching to hyperconvergence solutions, Lowe advises looking at solutions holistically, choosing solutions that meet their needs while also being scalable.

Chambers says there’s generally a lower cost of entry to hyperconverged infrastructure compared to traditional configurations because you can make a smaller initial purchase and then grow it over time. If you’re able to fully replace your old equipment, you may eventually be able to save up to 60 percent of your prior infrastructure costs, he says.

Who needs hyperconvergence?

The size of your company isn’t the best indicator that you need hyperconverged infrastructure. How fast your company is growing is more important.

Chambers recommends researching the pros and cons of each “HC” platform so you can nail down your specific IT needs. Nutanix, SimpliVity and the VCE/VMware divisions of DellEMC are considered top vendors in the space. Publications like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems provides detailed information about the outlook for the technology, as well as rating service providers.

Budgeting for hyperconvergence.

Chambers has found one of the biggest obstacles IT departments face relates to budgeting. When everything is separate, companies budget separately for storage, network equipment, and computers. Prior to moving toward hyperconvergence, Chambers advises thinking carefully about procurement.

“It’s an organizational challenge because you’re moving to a new way of spending money,” Chambers says. “You’re going to need someone very senior who can control budgets and say, ‘This is how hyperconvergence works. We’re going to have to rearrange our IT finances.’”

Hyperconvergence solutions give IT departments the option of an all-in-one platform, which helps increase efficiency. When professionals can manage everything in one place, they can operate more productively, increasing the time they can put toward other efforts.

Source: One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost of Managing IT

Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT) Dramatic $700 Billion Impact

technology-media-telecommunications

The savvy CEOs anticipate that trends in 2017 are likely to follow the path of disruptive events in 2016.

Change is the norm. Digital technology will continue to have a dramatic impact on legacy players in the marketplace.

Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT) sectors completed 3,021 deals worth $698.2 billion in 2016, representing a decrease of 4.5% in value and 5.7% in deal count compared to a record 2015, while deal count remained consistent, according to the latest market study by Mergermarket.

The TMT sector accounted for 21.4 percent of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity – that’s up from 18.5% in 2015, and its second highest share on Mergermarket record (since 2001) after 2013 (22.4%).

TMT sector market development

Deal activity accelerated towards the end of 2016, with deals announced in the final quarter of the year (683 deals, $295 billion) marking the highest Q4 value on record.

U.S. M&A activity ramped up in the run up to November’s presidential election, with dealmakers looking to complete business before a winner was announced.

High profile mega-deals, such as AT&T’s $105 billion takeover of Time Warner, the largest transaction targeting any sector globally in 2016, and the $34.5 billion acquisition of Level 3 by CenturyLink, were both announced in the month prior to the election.

Such big-ticket deals consequently led to the U.S. being the most active region last year having recorded its second highest deal value on Mergermarket record with 1,101 deals worth $362.7 billion, accounting for 41 more deals compared to a record 2015 (1,060 deals, $393.8 billion), despite a 7.9 percent decrease in value.

According to the Mergermarket assessment, the outcome of the American 2016 election spurred the markets, with dealmakers hopeful that a more business-friendly climate will encourage more mergers and acquisitions in 2017.

Outlook for the global TMT market

Europe followed in terms of deal activity, with 992 deals worth $168.6 billion reaching the highest annual value since 2007 ($181.8 billion, 933 deals), while increasing its market share to 24% from 19 percent in 2015.

This increase was largely due to a rise in activity targeting Technology (708 deals, $121.3 billion) and Media (199 deals, $29.2 billion), up 72.6% and 107.7% by value year-on-year, respectively.

Virtual and augmented reality software apps will be the TMT sectors to watch in 2017. Moreover, sector dealmakers are expected to invest millions into start-ups that are promising to turn new technologies into commercial opportunities in 2017.

 

Source: Technology, media and telecom M&A hit $698.2 billion in 2016

Healthcare IT’s Most Influential Women

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Seven women from across the globe learned that they are the inaugural recipients of HIMSS’s Most Influential Women in Health IT Award, sponsored by Verizon and EY.

Our distinguished judges, themselves notable influential women, selected our awardees from more than 140 nominations.

I am honored to share this exciting news with you. Each of these women has demonstrated transformational influence in the health sector. They are at various stages of their careers, which was a defining philosophy of our Awards program – that a woman at any stage of her career can be influential and positively change health and healthcare in meaningful ways.

Each Awardee collaborates and innovates within her area of health IT-related expertise.

Each understands, and has acted upon, the power of harnessing the best of IT across many different components of health and healthcare including nursing, pharmacy, medicine, government, public policy, industry and business management. The accomplishments of these women matter not only within their respective organizations, but across the healthcare trajectory.

As many of our nominees demonstrated various characteristics required of the Award, our judges had a challenging time determining our inaugural recipients. The stories and accomplishments are inspiring; one Awardee has positively impacted the lives of millions of citizens, while another has shaped the entire trajectory of the health IT sector. And, we have recipients who have used IT in health settings to utterly transform the ability of a region’s population to remain well, and to receive optimal care when needed.

Inaugural recipients of HIMSS’s Award are:

Shareefa Al Abulmonem, MSc CPHIMS

  • Head of eServices
  • King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Saudi Arabia

Marion J. Ball, Ed.D, FHIMSS, FACMI, FAAN, FAHIMA, FCHIME, FMLA

  • Senior Advisor, IBM-Center for Computational Health, USA
  • Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University

Rachelle Blake, PA

  • CEO and Managing Director
  • Omni Med Solutions, Germany

Christina Caraballo, MBA

  • Senior Healthcare Strategist
  • Get Real Health, USA

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH, MSc

  • Acting Assistant Secretary of Health
  • US Department of Health and Human Services, USA

Karen Guice, M.D., M.P.P.

  • Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
  • US Department of Defense, USA

Lisa Stump, MS, RPh, FASHP

  • Chief Information Officer
  • Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine, USA

When I reviewed the nominations of our recipients, I found consistent references that captured the accomplishments and drive of these seven leaders. As leaders in their respective careers, these seven women also understand the strategic role IT plays in improving health and healthcare. They acted on that knowledge, and as a result, made patient care better, more accessible and more affordable.

Here are examples from the nominations:
Marion Ball has and is mentoring many young women and men in her long career as a national and international leader in health IT.

Dr. Karen Guice’s leadership has already created profound improvements for our military’s fighting forces, and will shape military medicine’s engagement with the world for the coming decades.

With a focus on innovation, Lisa Stump is leading efforts to experiment and roll out new technologies aimed at improving population health, patient engagement, and the patient’s experience with the healthcare system.

Dr. Karen DeSalvo is a physician who has dedicated her career to improving access to affordable, high quality care for all people, especially vulnerable populations, and promoting overall health.

Recognizing Shareefa Al Abulmonem as one of the Most Influential Woman in Health IT will set the female population of her home, Saudi Arabia, ablaze as to an example of what can be accomplished when you put your passions to purposeful use.

Christina Caraballo is highly respected in the community for her passion to move health IT forward, working with other thought leaders and getting involved in her community to learn, share ideas and solve problems.

Rachelle Blake’s critical thinking and problem solving skills allow her to equip professionals to meet policy, business, and regulatory requirements in everyday practice – to take the possible in health IT and make it real.

HIMSS knows that women in health IT seek resources and community:

About a year ago, after surveying over 20,000 women about the current state of women’s professional needs in health IT, we identified a need for expanded recognition of women sector-wide.

Some 83% of respondents said there remains insufficient recognition for the women executives in health IT. And, an overwhelming 85% would find value in a resource recognizing contributions, and supporting the career advancement, of women. Women across all career levels within health IT seek community and resources.

HIMSS is answering that call.

Our resources include a biweekly enewsletter from HIMSS Media and HIMSS webinars, podcasts, roundtable reports and more offered online for anyone ready to enjoy and benefit from this information.

Women have been making a difference in health IT for decades, but their accomplishments and contributions are not often visible to all of us. Recognizing these seven recipients of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award changes that scenario. I congratulate them and encourage all of us to embrace and learn from their collaborative spirit and success.

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Women in Health IT events at HIMSS17:

We will honor the recipients of the Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards at HIMSS 17 on Monday, Feb. 20. You can register for the Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards Dinner and the Women in Health IT Reception preceding the dinner. Both are on Monday evening, Feb. 20 and require a separate fee. Register for HIMSS17 and use the online registration to sign up for both events, which each require a separate fee.

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Source: HIMSS’s Most Influential Women in Health IT Are Most Impressive