With 57 HIMSS Chapters across North America including the United States, its territories, and Canada, HIMSS serves as the connection point for members and policymakers on key health information and technology priorities. As a cause-based organization, HIMSS has earned respect and influence for its patient-focused approach to transforming U.S. healthcare through information and technology rather than advancing the interests of a specific constituency group.

The HIMSS Chapter Advocacy program provides an opportunity for HIMSS chapters to elect members to expand HIMSS priorities through grassroots and grasstops engagement. Chapter Advocates serve as a strong coordinated voice and respected source of information about health information and technology. Advocates, through Researching, Educating, Power Building, and Monitoring, are able to influence state, territorial, provincial and local health information and technology policies.

Over 100 HIMSS Chapter Advocates are engaged in planning and facilitating advocacy and public policy activities within their states, territories or regions. HIMSS supports these efforts through the Chapter Advocacy Roundtable (CAR) program and the HIMSS Federal & State Government Affairs office, under the leadership of Jeff Coughlin, Senior Director.

During a typical year, SCHIMSS sponsors a State Health IT Day  with conference sessions and an Advocacy event at the General Assembly. For the past three or four years we have been successful in obtaining a Proclamation of State Health IT Day from the Governor’s Office. Our goal is to expand the SCHIMSS Advocacy Program, and we are seeking new committee members to help lead the effort as well as new partnerships with other healthcare organizations. Advocacy events are open to all interested SCHIMSS members, and we encourage all members to share in advocating for improving health and healthcare in South Carolina through information and technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Public policy is a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives. Public policy can determine access, funding and eligibility for programs and services, such as Medicaid, 21st Century Cures Act, and state telehealth laws.

Public policy can come from any governmental body, such as Congress, state legislatures, city councils, county commissions, the President or Prime Minster, or governors – to name a few.

Public policy advocacy is any actions taken to influence government policy.

Grassroots advocacy is outreach to elected or appointed officials to influence public policy.

Grasstops advocacy is outreach and relationship building with thought leaders and folks who have connections to officials. Examples are non-profit organizations and their chapters such as the American Public Health Association.

Lobbying is narrowly defined by federal, state, and sometimes local, statute. There are 50 different versions of lobbying laws, but all states and the territories share a basic definition of lobbying as an attempt to influence government action.

Generally, it refers to a person or organization contacting an elected official with a specific support/oppose message on policy currently under consideration. Laws define and regulate lobbying and organizations must adhere to those when engaging in defined lobbying activities.

Public Policy Advocacy is any actions taken to influence government policy. Advocates champion a cause: whether as monumental as women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement or less heralded like safety belt laws and childcare subsidies.


  • Telling a member of Congress how a policy affects constituents
  • Using social media to get the word out about a cause/issue
  • Meeting with a government official to explain how a particular problem/issue is affecting a particular group or organization, the environment, etc.


  • Asking your member of Congress to vote for or against, or to amend or introduce, particular legislation
  • Emailing members of your group asking them to contact their member of Congress in support of or opposition to legislation or pending regulations
  • Generating an online petition asking members of your organization (direct lobbying) or members of the public (grassroots lobbying) to contact their legislator(s) to support or oppose particular legislation

Chapters are encouraged to become familiar with both chapter and national HIMSS organizational values and principles and link them to possible policy directions and state advocacy work that:

  • Provides a process of consensus on broader concepts (shared values and principles) that builds to agreement on specific advocacy issues
  • Provides steps along the way that can be approved by larger audiences (board, staff, membership) to ensure organizational support for advocacy work
  • Creates a ‘check’ for long-term/future advocacy –does this advocacy issue reflect our values and principles?
  • Potentially builds stronger coalitions and engages a wider audience that share values and principles.

HIMSS Chapters select one or more members to advocate on behalf of your organization and community about issues important to furthering health information and technology policies and to ensure state and local government officials are aware of your qualification as a health information and technology subject matter expert.

Tenants of Chapter Advocacy include a Strong Voice, leading to your chapter becoming a Respected Source of information and a Trusted Collaborator. This aims to lead to Policy Impact at the Local, State, Provincial and Federal levels.

Strong Voice · Respected Source · Trusted Collaborator · Policy Impact · Local, State and Federal Policies

Part of your role as a Chapter Advocate is to build relationships at a state, regional and local level. Reaching out to state governments is at the core of this. However, we must not forget the power in collaborating with other organizations who share a similar vision. Often, HIMSS members are members of other organizations. Many of your relationships with these organizations could help bolster visibility of shared issues with key decision-makers.

  • Supporting Care Transformation
    • Quality, Safety and Outcomes
    • Clinical & Administrative Efficiency
    • Interoperability, Health Information Exchange & Infrastructure
    • Innovation & Research
    • Information Privacy and Security
    • Patient Activation and Engagement
  • Expanding Access to High Quality Care
    • Connected Health
    • Equity
  • Increasing Economic Opportunity
    • Workforce development
    • Economic growth
  • Making Communities Healthier
    • Population Management
    • Public Health

Upcoming Events

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