From Evil Knavel: "Re: HIMSS. Do you get special treatment from companies at HIMSS, especially sponsors like athenahealth that seem to get a lot of PR? It seems like it." Guess you missed the part about eating burgers in the hotel and at McDonalds. Only one sponsor knows who I am, so the answer is absolutely not. I am an anonymous peon at the conference, so I’m seeing it just like everyone else (intentionally – I don’t want favors, but yes, I’m sure I could milk the heck out of it if that interested me). In fact, anybody with CIO in their title is going to get treated a lot better than me since they have their own off-limits meetings, vendor giveaways, and fancy event invitations that I don’t get (disclosure: I went to the Cerner CIO event as an anonymous guest of someone, which was cool to a day-jobber like me). FYI, athenahealth is not a sponsor (and disclosure there: they don’t do much marketing, but decided to be an HIStalk sponsor about a year ago just to be nice. I turned them down because that was right after the HISsies and it would have looked suspicious, which we both agreed was the right decision).
From Christi: "Re: reception. I’m ever so grateful to Ingenix for hosting the party. The Trump Towers staff was over the top on customer service – every single staff person was incredible! When I’d ask for directions to something they’d not only tell me where it was, they’d walk me all or part way to it! And the ballroom we were in was gorgeous. What a lovely site and lovely party – thanks for being so cool as to have someone who wants to throw money into doing this." Thanks to Tom for sending over the pictures.
That’s it for me – I’ll be heading home first thing Wednesday morning. I saw quite a few people with suitcases in the hotel lobby today, so I’ll guess that the exodus already started. That astronaut doing the closing keynote tomorrow afternoon may have had more people in his Mir space station than will be in the audience.
My verdict on the conference: nicely done. I actually didn’t mind the weather as much as I thought, but the Saturday start in April really threw me off. The logistics were as good as ever and Chicago and the convention center were fine. My only remaining gripe the cost of hotels. I really wish I had bypassed the Ambassador people and just used Priceline since I paid too much, but couldn’t cancel and re-book without a penalty.
My favorite giveaway (other than the foam slippers): the tee shirt above from Solution Q, vendors of the Eclipse project portfolio management system. It’s not new humor, but I hadn’t heard it in a while and never from a tee shirt.
VC firm Psilos Group will raise a $450 million healthcare IT fund.
It’s probably just as well that Cerner opted to stay out of town this week since an ugly PR episode might have resulted. This article says that four Chicago mental health centers closed today as a result of billing glitches in the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Cerner system caused it to lose more than $1 million in state funding when bills backed up for over six months.
Someone asked me about ARRA and innovation. They are mutually exclusive terms. ARRA was designed to dump a lot of taxpayer dollars into private hands quickly and forcefully, yet it requires CCHIT-certified products that would take years to develop from scratch. For that reason, it will just boost sales of the same old stuff. If anything, it stifles innovation because all the prospects who might have decided to sit tight and hope for better products will have to spend sooner to get their cut. The most valuable asset any company can have right now is a CCHIT certification, whose value went up multiples with ARRA.
I was chatting with someone earlier this week and he said he hated Citrix. I made my usual comment that it’s like a Denny’s restaurant – always a compromise from what you really wanted. His theory is that the availability of Citrix allowed old, primitive applications live on, providing another layer of workaround that gave vendors an easy out for bad system performance, difficult maintenance, poor security, and lack of a true thin client or Web strategy. The healthcare-only combo of Citrix-MUMPS-Cache is everywhere, of course, and there’s no customer indignation to replace it because it works.
Some guys talking on the escalator this morning said that Rob Kolodner got a standing ovation in his final HIMSS appearance as ONCHIT (and deservedly so). I would be shocked if he isn’t in Atlanta next year, but in the booth of a consulting firm or vendor instead. He confirmed that he’s retiring, but looking for other opportunities. By all accounts I heard, he’s a good guy, humble and fun.
I want to get the autograph of Gay Madden, CIO of The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, since she’s on the shuttle bus TV every morning (in a Sprint commercial, I think).
I went to a session this morning on digital pathology that was pretty cool. It’s interesting that systems exist to convert slides to massive images that can then be manipulated and studied in a cockpit of monitors rather than through a microscope. The speaker said his company had licensed satellite image processing technology since it works about the same on the cellular landscape as it does the terrestrial one.
UPMC chooses chooses the clinical research management system from mdlogix (the annoying all-lowercase name is their doing, not mine).
Ingenix announces its Care Tracker EMR, priced at $5,000 per year for a solo practitioner. Also announced: RAC software and services that help hospitals comply with the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program by providing alerts of claims likely to be audited.
Someone told me of an overhead conversation this week in which national drug chain VP said his company hoped to cobble together a simple EMR (enough to claim minimal use) just to get stimulus money.
Jonathan Bush was on FoxBusiness this morning after a late night at the Trump (I don’t know how he does it). The site doesn’t support a direct link, but you can search on athenahealth and look for today’s video. The host opens with a HISsies mention, although not by name: "Jonathan was honored last night as the industry’s figure of the year in healthcare technology." He talks about HIMSS and HIT. The company also announced that its eRX module has received Surescripts certification.
Someone mentioned that it’s ironic that Sun is pitching its NHIN capabilities even as its IBM acquisition went up in smoke, implying that maybe it’s not stable enough to hang the NHIN hat on.
A HIMSS location name that sounds like 1999: "Surf the Net".
The digital pathology session talked about IT as a barrier because of locked down PCs. That reminded me of editorials I’ve written lambasting the lazy IT socialism of treating all users equally (badly) in assuming they are all too stupid and irresponsible to have any control over their PCs. Their ought to be a way to gain responsibility points based on need and ability, allowing higher level users with a defined need to perform simple software installations or OS changes.
Seen on Epic’s booth: every EMRAM Stage 7 hospital uses EpicCare. For a company that says it doesn’t market, that sure kicks the competition where it hurts.
I took a look at iMedica’s new/not new Transition product. It’s the existing product with the knowledge base turned off at a 20% discount, giving an easier and cheaper start. If you want the knowledge base later, you just pay the difference.
The last of the booth observations:
- iMDsoft has a Visicu-like ICU monitoring. I tried to learn more, but the reps were too enamored with each other’s company to want any of mine.
- Corepoint Health (the former Neotool) had a nice booth and seems to have grown considerably in capability and ambition.
- iSoft was demonstrating Lorenzo, which isn’t sold in the US. One rep was, anyway. The others were sitting on the demo station stools playing around with their cell phones.
- AT&T/Cisco Telepresence had a conference room setup in the booth with the big monitors in place, which actually looks like have a conference room since the one side of the table is for virtual participants.
- Medicity had a good crowd.
- I chatted briefly with the ICA person, who explained the company’s CDR and clinical portal that can also be used as an in-house clinical workstation to add capability to existing systems.
- I checked out Bistro HIMSS: $23 (including tax and drink) gets you a paper plate on which to load up pedestrian-looking heat lamp Chinese.
- I miss the blue nametags that distinguished vendors from providers, but that was in a simpler, black and white HIMSS world.
- PatientKeeper had a big rack of smart phones and PDAs running their software to show its versatility.
- I don’t know much about Orchard Software, which had some KLAS information on a booth sign that suggested it’s the highest rated lab system. I’d tell more, but nobody there was paying much attention to my eye-catching glances.
- eClinicalWorks had a bunch of people in the booth.
- There was a good crowd at the Sentry Data Systems booth.
- EDIMS had a nice booth and crowd. Apparently they have a EDIS Lite kind of system with knowledge management, but nobody made an effort to talk to me.
I apologize if you e-mailed an invitation for me or Inga to visit your booth or meet you personally and it didn’t happen. We stayed very busy getting information to write each day’s HIStalk, so we ran out of time.
HISsies 2009 Winners
It’s time now to announce the winners of the 2009 HISsies, the Brutally Honest HIT Awards, as voted by the readers of HIStalk. We don’t claim the results are scientific, but they are always interesting.
- Smartest vendor strategic move: Medicity-Novo Innovations merger.
- Stupidest vendor strategic move: GE Healthcare losing unsatisfied clients.
- Worst healthcare IT vendor: GE Healthcare.
- Best healthcare IT vendor: Picis.
- Best provider healthcare IT organization: Cleveland Clinic.
- Hospital you’d want to go to if facing a life-threatening illness: Mayo Clinic.
- Most promising technology development: Software as a Service.
- Organization you’d most like to work for: Picis.
- Company in which you’d most like to be given $100,000 in stock options: Picis.
- Most overrated technology: speech recognition.
- Biggest healthcare IT related news story of the year: Obama’s position on healthcare IT.
- Most overused buzzword: interoperability.
- “When _(blank)___ talks, people listen,” the person who influences healthcare IT the most: President Obama.
- Best CEO of a vendor or consulting firm: Todd Cozzens, Picis.
- Most effective CIO in a healthcare provider organization: Lynn Vogel, Ph.D., associate professor of bioinformatics and computational biology, vice president, and chief information officer, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
- HIS industry figure with whom you’d most like to have a few beers: Tom Daschle.
- HIS industry figure in whose face you’d most like to throw a pie: Neal Patterson, Cerner.
- Healthcare IT industry figure of the year: Jonathan Bush, CEO, president, and chairman of athenahealth.