How curiosity birthed a thriving professional development organization

June 11, 2024 |  Industry Leaders, Health IT, Events

How curiosity birthed a thriving professional development organization

Kim Weiss and Cynthia Clark of Scottsdale Institute with Rachel Wilkes of MEDITECH at the 2024 Scottsdale Institute Annual Conference

The Scottsdale Institute began with a vision of the future. Founded by executives Stan Nelson and Don Wegmiller in 1993, the not-for-profit professional development organization was ahead of its time as a bridge to facilitate knowledge sharing around the application of IT. Stan, a credited visionary of his time, anticipated the evolution of isolated hospitals into integrated health systems and how IT would be instrumental to that advancement.

In 2023, SI celebrated 30 years and looked back on how their vision has transformed into a vehicle of innovation, mentoring generations of healthcare professionals. Focusing on the next phase of health IT, SI honors their inaugural mission by outlining three value pillars: collaboration, education, and networking.


Today, the Scottsdale Institute supports a flourishing community of over 60 not-for-profit health systems and academic medical centers along with sponsors and strategic partners. By tapping into the well of knowledge available through their community, they’ve cultivated a savvy group of industry leaders eager to share.

MEDITECH and SI align on several mission values and share a passion for collaboration, so we were eager to find a way to work with the organization. MEDITECH became a sponsor in September 2022 and has since participated in various avenues across the organization.

MEDITECH thank you sponsorship slide at the 2024 Scottsdale Annual Conference

MEDITECH sponsorship acknowledgement at the 2024 SI Annual Conference.

As one way to stay informed, SI created an advisory board stacked with executives from their members, sponsors, and strategic partners. Helen Waters, Executive Vice President & COO at MEDITECH, holds a position on the board to offer insights on market drivers from a vendor viewpoint. 

The advisors guide the roadmap of next year’s topics, shaped around member needs, industry challenges, and prospective opportunities. Targeting those common industry challenges in particular, the board supplies firsthand knowledge of a wide array of solutions tested across the health IT spectrum. Every health system is different, but starting with a blueprint helps ease the pressure of starting with a blank page.


SI’s education pillar stands as a testament to the founders’ penchant for curiosity and seeking out unique viewpoints. Harnessing the diverse talent of their community, they open up the floor to different perspectives, with a specific focus on bringing new voices into the conversation. 

Every year, SI publishes and facilitates a wide variety of educational materials –  webinars, fireside chats, white papers, analysis reports, and more – around the transformation of healthcare pertaining to information technology. Their most popular resources, the educational webinars and fireside chats, reached a record 17,000 member associates last year, of their over 100 videos produced annually.

MEDITECH Customer Webinars

As a sponsor, MEDITECH can organize webinars for members, and we jumped at the opportunity to embrace SI’s values by providing valuable information. Similar to SI’s community, MEDITECH customers are a diverse, innovative collective made of health systems of every size with an enthusiasm for creative solutions.

Check out some of the topics presented by MEDITECH customers:

All webinars and corresponding audio/video files are available on-demand for SI members. If you are a member, consult the archives for these webinars.


Accommodating all avenues of collaboration, SI organizes several yearly events for an opportunity to connect with peers face-to-face.

In April, I attended the SI 2024 Annual Conference with the theme Co-Creating Change: Empathy, Relationship, Intelligence. For three days, Scottsdale, AZ became the epicenter of healthcare progress as attendees gathered to have thoughtful discussions about leadership, health system strategy, equitable access to care, and the responsible use of AI.

Janet Guptill and Gail Donovan of Scottsdale Institute on stage welcoming attendees to the 2024 SI Annual Conference

Janet Guptill, CEO (left), and Gail Donovan, Executive Strategic Advisor (at podium), welcoming attendees to the 2024 SI Annual Conference.

Timely considerations around affordability, accessibility, and equitability were woven into talking points across the panels and small discussions. The healthcare industry is heavily regulated and standardized, yet care settings prosper when personalized to their local markets. Which posed the question over and over: how can health systems find a balance between regulation and authentic curation to deliver the best care possible to their communities?

Attendees explored their own paths to success by comparing and listening to open dialogues, such as how other health systems disperse technology across their facilities and how to outline responsible AI framework. The event’s intent was clear: we are our greatest resources. 

At the heart of it all was a shared passion for optimizing the patient and clinician experience, and MEDITECH is proud to have a seat at the table.

Spreading the vision

Even non-members are welcome to enjoy the benefits of SI via the Health IT Benchmarking Program. Executives are faced with budget challenges on the regular, but what if finding a solution could be as easy as comparing costs against similar sized facilities? 

Thanks to the participation of organizations across the industry, executives can access a high-level overview of IT costs and staffing based on authentic data. SI gathers the data points by inviting organizations to participate in their free Health IT Benchmarking Program. All submissions remain anonymous unless requested otherwise, and participants retain full rights to their information.

MEDITECH customers have already benefited from the program, gaining invaluable insight into how they could be restructuring their IT strategies for elevated, cost-effective results. If you’re interested in learning more, check out their program overview.

It’s an impressive feat to maintain professional relevancy in a fast-paced industry like health IT, and the Scottsdale Institute celebrates continual growth by embracing their role as a liaison between thought leaders and those eager to learn.

Get exclusive access to the Scottsdale Institute webinar The Innovation Advantage: Harnessing Transformative Power to Drive Technology Adoption, featuring Mile Bluff Medical Center.

Watch The On-Demand Webinar


Written by Rachel Wilkes, Director, Marketing, MEDITECH

Rachel Wilkes is the Director of Corporate Brand and Lead Generation Marketing at MEDITECH. She oversees MEDITECH's corporate communications, branding, events and market research, and serves as executive sponsor of MEDITECH’s generative AI efforts. Over the course of her MEDITECH career, she has also served in various roles in Marketing and strategic Product Management. Rachel is a Certified Product Manager and holds an MBA from Bryant University.