A New Member’s Experience Attending the HIUG Interact 2022 Conference
By Erin Festerman
SCM Systems Support Analyst, UPMC
I joined UPMC, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in 2015 and held a variety of operational roles in Supply Chain Management before transitioning to my current role as an analyst on the SCM Systems Support Team, which is responsible for maintaining an accurate database of information, supporting users of SCM applications, performing ongoing system maintenance and enhancement functions and, ultimately, bridging the gap between clinical, functional, and technical teams. Oracle PeopleSoft is the primary application utilized by UPMC to effectively accomplish SCM functions and activities.
As a new community member, I arrived at the HIUG conference unsure of what the experience would mean to me. I expected my biggest gain from attending the conference would be learning about new and upcoming technologies that can assist us with supporting our SCM Operations teams and processes.
Although I certainly did learn a lot from the experience, I quickly discovered that the focus and intent of HIUG goes far beyond my initial expectation. It was clear from my first day of attendance that HIUG is focused on enabling its community members, composed of users, administrators, and specialists of all backgrounds, in the Healthcare Technology, Supply Chain, Human Resources, and Finance industries to share knowledge and experiences, discuss challenges and opportunities, and collaborate in a productive and supportive space.
As a first-time attendee to the HIUG Interact Conference, I took advantage of a variety of sessions and events that were offered. I am a Supply Chain employee, so I chose sessions which focused on SCM topics. The sessions were offered in differing formats, including those described below, and each provided a unique experience and benefit.
Roundtables – Group discussions were held for topics such as Bill Only Purchase Orders/Requisitions, Match Exceptions, and Vendor Mergers, where open discussion was encouraged and several SCM peers shared pain points, asked questions, described possible solutions, and shared feedback on existing approaches to these problematic scenarios. These sessions encouraged all attendees to participate and included members from both function and technical teams, which provided perspectives from all users involved in these processes, not just a singular team or group.
User-Led Practical Sessions – Users from a variety of healthcare organizations presented on their experience with various process and technology implementations and upgrades. Sessions attended included topics such as Dynamic/Perpetual Inventory Tracking using RFID Technology, Mobile Inventory and Package Tracking Technology, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Technology and Application. These sessions provided others to see actual cases of application and gain valuable insight into important considerations involved when implementing a specific technology and/or process change or enhancement.
Vendor Led Technology Sessions and Exposition Booths – Technology vendors, including Oracle and Deloitte, held informational sessions which detailed application roadmaps, upcoming features, and technology/data analysis potential for future planning and process management. In addition, several vendors of valuable services and applications were available in the vendor hall for individual discussion and questions.
Social Networking Events – Social events, such as the Havana Nights Dinner, Yoga and a Guacamole/Ceviche demonstration and tasting, and vendor-hosted gatherings, were offered throughout the conference. These events enabled community members to meet others, build relationships, and enjoy informal time spent among colleagues and peers of various backgrounds and experiences.
Keynote Speakers – Individuals from leadership, clinical healthcare, and technology roles offered unique perspectives that created a visualization of how these three sectors converge in the HIUG community space and influence policies, processes, and information management.
Overall, a profound takeaway from this event was the sense of community, collaboration, and understanding from like-minded people who are in similar positions but also have considerably varied backgrounds, education, and experience. For me, the HIUG community has provided a welcoming and comfortable space to grow and learn as a new member and first-time conference attendee. It was very clear from the events – whether during the sessions attended, social gatherings, or just milling about in common areas, that the focus of HIUG is bringing people together to learn from one another and promote success across all healthcare organizations.