Get to Know the Personal Connected Health Alliance, A Growing Star in the HIMSS Galaxy

By: Denise Silber, PCHAlliance HIMSS17 Collaborator


HIMSS17 is not just an annual health IT event. HIMSS17, a baby boomer at 55, is an American not for profit organization dedicated to the advancement of healthcare through the best use of health information technologies. HIMSS has 64,000 individual members, 640+ corporate members, and over 225 not-for-profit organizations!

The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) is a division of HIMSS. As a PCHAlliance Collaborator for its next event, which will take place during the HIMSS Annual Conference in Orlando, February 19 to 23, 2017, I seized the opportunity to chat with John Sharp, a senior manager at PCHAlliance, responsible for patient engagement technologies. 


Having first met John Sharp when he was in research informatics at the Cleveland Clinic and communicating with him recently online and at WoHIT in Barcelona, I knew that he could provide some unique insights.


DS: Let’s start John at the beginning. How did the PCHAlliance division of HIMSS come into existence? Many people would be interested to understand the origin of the name as well.


JS: Great questions, Denise. PCHAlliance grew from two initiatives that were acquired by HIMSS three years ago: the annual mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C. and the Continua Alliance, an international pioneer in the development of industry guidelines on interoperability concerning personal health devices.



DS: Could one say that the historic participant of HIMSS events is the health IT systems manager centered around EHRs and system security, and the PCHAlliance participants would be people from “new tech” mobile and connected devices, the “global personal connected health community?”


JS: Yes, that’s our community, but the goal is to help the two groups converge, and the way we do that is by encouraging and helping the personal health device people develop the evidence that health systems need in order to support the integration of these devices.


DS: Agreed. That convergence is sorely needed, if we want digital health to advance. I see that PCHAlliance is a growing group.


JS: Yes, PCHAlliance is growing and has recently combined operations with the Wireless Life Science Alliance (WLSA) from San Diego. Pharma is beginning to get involved, thanks to their interest in remote monitoring of clinical trials. PCHAlliance collaborates with the European Connected Health Alliance.


DS: PCHAlliance is hosting four events during HIMSS17, each categorized by a different set of speakers. Can you tell us about those?


JS: The Digital and Personal Connected Health Forum will feature talks by providers, patients, and others with the users’ perspective. The Venture+ Forum will provide a 360° view on investing in start-ups. The HX360 Innovation Leaders Program will feature specialists of innovation, and finally, Startup+ is a workshop for early stage entrepreneurs. And there is an exhibition area, the Connected Health Experience with potentially 50 demos to see for those who visit.


DS:  That is incredibly rich. I also noticed that there is an effort to bring in patient speakers and participants. 


JS: Most definitely Denise. We agree on the importance of listening to the patient first! It’s the patient and it’s “personal.” PCHAlliance is the voice of personal connected health


in health and IT meet.