Over a quarter of a century old, the Scottsdale Institute is still young at heart and energetic in spirit. SI has weathered the challenges of a fledgling nonprofit in its early days, a historic recession and the loss of its beloved founder to grow into a strong and highly respected forum for senior healthcare executives to share best thinking around IT-enabled clinical and business transformation. SI continues to evoke a youthful spirit and energy today because it treasures and nurtures the character of its founders in their focus on member-driven, informal and honest dialogue.
Stan Nelson and Don Wegmiller co-founded SI in 1993 and began the tradition of the remarkable SI Annual Conference held at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale every April, a conference that scores of senior executives claim is the best meeting they attend all year. Shelli Williamson was our first Executive Director, starting part-time in 1999 while at First Consulting Group and becoming full-time in 2001, bringing Stan’s vision to life by operationalizing its every aspect and helping it grow into a vibrant, independent not-for profit with a strong focus on member-generated activities.
SI’s “Three SI Pillars” of Education, Collaboration and Networking also incorporated member-led Teleconferences, a series which today draws over 15,000 member participants to 90 teleconferences annually, and the Fall Forum, which SI co-hosted with a member organization at a different city each year, providing an opportunity for that organization to showcase onsite its IT-enabled advances in quality, safety and efficiency. This has since transformed into topic-specific Member Site Visits, drawing cross-functional teams of Members to examine a particular leading-edge practice.
SI also facilitated member-directed collaboratives to develop issue-specific solutions and strategies to IT-related challenges, which has since expanded into a broad array of title- or topic-specific affinity groups to identify challenges that keep them awake at night, identify lessons learned and share best practices. One such member-sponsored initiative launched the uniquely modeled SI IT-Benchmarking program, an “apples-to-apples” comparison of health-system IT investment, offered free of charge to any hospital or system across the country. SI’s robust editorial calendar includes the monthly Inside Edge and quarterly Viewpoint publications, spotlighting leading practice thought leadership on current issues, and interviews with veteran health-system executives and industry visionaries.