John Kelly

Q & A with John Kelly of IDN Summit and Reverse Expo

April 19, 2012
by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer
Exclusive: IDN Summit

Held biannually, the IDN (Integrated Delivery Network) Summit and Reverse Expo has become the go-to source for networking, educational and informational resources and professional services for health care supply chain stakeholders. With cost-effective patient care as its main focus, the event covers best practices, enhanced communication and improved business processes.

This month’s event takes place April 23-25 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla. DOTmed News spoke with the Summit’s owner, John Kelly, CEO of Bluegrass Media, to get the skinny on the event, themed: “Change Brings Opportunity.”

DMBN: Tell us a bit about the Summit’s background.

KELLY: The tradeshow began in 1986, when the original owner wanted to have a networking event with some of his clients and a few health systems. I particularly loved the reverse expo platform and the unique opportunity this event gives health systems and their suppliers to interact. Bluegrass Business Media purchased the event from NCI Consulting Group in 2008. It’s just grown from there.

DMBN: How has it has changed since you got involved?

KELLY: We have placed emphasis on our content offering for health care providers, suppliers and other interested parties; we want to keep suppliers up-to-date with market trends. For example, we have put a lot of resources into the content for breakout sessions and general sessions. We feel an obligation to ensure when providers come on-site, they get outstanding content they can’t find at other venues. Our attendees get a good cross-section of suppliers that they get to visit and engage with. It doesn’t matter if you are the largest health care supplier in the world or you’re a brand new startup — you’ve got an equal opportunity to get in and state what you think your company can do for these health systems. I think that’s probably one of the biggest changes that has taken place since Bluegrass has taken ownership of the IDN Summit.

DMBN: What’s new at the show?

KELLY: For the first time ever, we will have a knowledge partner present at our event: The Jack Welch Management Institute [part of Strayer University]. The dean of that program, Dr. Trish Gorman, is going to lead three in-depth sessions focusing on the concept of change in health care. Further to this, our Event Reception is going to be devoted to Hope2Others International — an organization that drills water wells in Africa via hand drilling, a very low-cost method. This is a very efficient way of helping a lot of people get clean water. Dave Reierson, the guy who is responsible for Hope2Others, has really impacted a lot of people in Africa with his hand-drilling method. He is an amazing person who works as a full-time pilot for United Airlines. In essence, he also runs this organization full time and goes back and forth to Africa and sets up these organizations to drill these wells. We are going to try to raise money for this fantastic organization at this month’s show.

DMBN: When recalling previous IDN Summit and Reverse Expo events, what stands out?

KELLY: At September’s IDN Summit and Expo, we had executives responsible for mobilizing relief efforts for St. John’s Hospital of Joplin, Mo., which was destroyed in a deadly tornado last May. Staff members from the hospital came to our event and spoke of what they went through in their time of crisis. Our attendees really opened up their pockets and ended up raising over $40,000 to aid the hospital. For me, this was the most memorable occasion that sticks out from all past IDN Summit and Reverse Expo events.

DMBN: Moving forward, what are your future plans for the IDN Summit and Reverse Expo?

KELLY: Something showing a strong trend for us is a bit of a deeper dive for our content into the more clinical side of health care supply chain operations. This has really taken off for us and I believe this trend will continue. I think we are also going to continue the theme of “giving back.”

DMBN: What is your take on health care delivery and how do you think it can improve?

KELLY: Over the last few years, there has been a lot of debate and uncertainty about this marketplace. A lot of this has been caused by Congress and the president trying to debate health care reform. What I am really seeing now is there are a number of health care organizations saying we are going to change our operations and move forward. I think those folks are going to end up being the winners. Meanwhile, some other folks are not reacting to that change and that’s going to be very detrimental to their future. There are going to be some winners and some losers anytime there is change. But I think change is happening, is being accepted and the marketplace is moving that way. We believe change can bring opportunities for health systems to provide better patient care and to improve their businesses or organizations. And we also believe it can be good for suppliers. We want to be on the forefront of that change and help people understand how it can present opportunities for them.