From Mr. H
Update: I’ve posted Inga’s recap here.
You could feel the energy suck out of the convention center as the ONC Meaningful Use Stage 2 Road Show took over the conference rooms and discussion subjects. I felt bad for anyone – vendor or provider – who came to the conference for other reasons since those were unceremoniously shoved out of the way. ONC said they tried to get the Stage 2 stuff out last week but got held up. I would have suggested waiting another week instead of cramming it into the HIMSS agenda without having anything tangible to put out, like detailed PowerPoints or the draft wording. They didn’t even have room assignments since they usurped the schedule at the last minute, so those had to be read out in the first presentation on Wednesday. It’s almost like when a vendor pre-announces a product that isn’t finished just to keep a competitor from getting attention in the mean time, except what could have been getting attention was more immediate concerns than draft legislation that won’t really kick in for a couple of years.
But I will say that the entire ONC crew came across as personable and occasionally amusing, even if Farzad didn’t attend HIStalkapalooza like he’d said he might (I’d guess he was too busy wrapping up the legislation.) Overall, I feel good about the whole process, other than the timing and the fact that I don’t like my tax money being used to buy equipment for private businesses. It sounds like Stage 2 gets closer to benefiting patients than just setting the theoretical stage as Stage 1 does.
I went to a few educational sessions today. All were unremarkable, which is pretty much par for the HIMSS course. What I blame: having to submit abstracts almost a year in advance, sessions that are really too long to stay interesting in many cases, and button-down presenters who do presentations as they learned by observation, i.e. badly (reading from PowerPoint bullet lists, over-preparing, and not making any attempt to engage attendees.) I saw some of my pet peeve behavior – attendees who grab the post-presentation microphone under the guise of asking a question, but then pontificate endlessly with obvious pride in their own wonderfulness. I honestly wish presenters wouldn’t even allow questions at the end, other than to provide me a cue to sprint for the door.
Heard from a moderator in a session today: “Please turn off your Palm Pilots.” I need clarification of whether he was being ironic or was ill-advisedly displaying a profound lack of contemporary technology knowledge.
Stand by on the Booth Crawl winners. I have the list, but I need to clarify a couple of things before we can post it.
I know I keep saying it, but ESD did a super job with HIStalkapalooza. I wanted to hug every of those green-dressed ladies for giving up their evening to keep things running smoothly, but since I couldn’t, I compromised by giving Brittanie a couple. She almost made me mist over a little because the whole event obviously meant so much to her and to ESD. Do me a favor – drop by their booth (#4616) and say thanks. You have an ulterior motive as well – they had a full professional video crew filming everything and the polished final version is running in the booth. If you were there, you may well see yourself on the video since they got a lot of crowd shots. If you weren’t there, you’ll get to see some of the stage antics. At least I feel justified on having Mrs. HIStalk assemble all those beauty queen sashes due to my lack of time since everybody had fun flaunting theirs.
Check out these fun badge ribbons from Liaison Healthcare. Ambitious attendees may strut around with their CIO or presenter badges, but I’m happier with my Meaningfully Useless one.
One of our sponsor lunch attendees wanted to commend Duke University Hospital CIO Art Glasgow for speaking there. “He was excellent. Gave a great perspective on how valuable the site is for a CIO.” Art was the classy part of the agenda. Inga, Dr. Jayne, and I just stammered around looking silly in our costumes, so it went downhill fast once Art finished up. We’re delighted that he (and our sponsors) attended. It’s kind of overwhelming for anonymous, amateurish bloggers to see a roomful of industry experts like that since we’re used to working in empty rooms with computers. We’re somewhere between smarter than we sound in person and dumber than we sound in writing.
A reader reminded me about the Pub Nights that Encore Health Resources always puts on at HIMSS (he didn’t exactly remind me since I didn’t know about it, but it’s an Ivo thing that’s fun.) “Rather than do a party one night at HIMSS, Encore Health Resources does Pub Nights every night. I’ve been Sun and Mon and each night had several hundred people there. Seems to be the place where CIOs like to congregate after hours. Free beer and wine and funky psychedelic mugs. Lagasse Stadium – Lower Level of the Venetian. I don’t think you need an invite. I ran into Ivo and took this pic. He said it was the only title he ever deserved.”
Seriously, vendors – make your reps turn in their smart phones when they show up for work on the exhibit hall floor. You might as well give them a Gameboy for all the time they spend screwing around with them instead of actually trying to provide a professional impression to folks you’ve paid dearly to impress. I realize that everyone under 30 can’t survive more than two minutes without checking to make sure something earth-shattering hasn’t been posted on Facebook or that they haven’t been Twittered about, but it’s just embarrassing to see this on such a wide scale. They have living, breathing prospects right in front of them – nothing on that phone is more potentially valuable to your company enough to warrant carrying it around and I guarantee they won’t be able to keep their hands off it.
I think the strong fashion interest of Inga and Dr. Jayne is rubbing off on me. I saw an impeccably dressed guy in the exhibit hall and thought Inga and Dr. J would enjoy his photo if I could snap one surreptitiously. I couldn’t, but I ran across him later in his booth and explained why I wanted his pic. It’s Mike Mosquito, president and CEO of HealthNovation, an Atlanta-based company he founded that offers technical compliance tools and services for meeting HIPAA and NIST requirements. I wish you could see the razor-sharp creases in the pocket handkerchief that matches his tie and cufflinks, not to mention his really cool-looking Italian shoes (Delli Aldo, which are super inexpensive, so extra points for thriftiness). On top of being an extremely sharp dresser, Mike was maybe the friendliest, most fun person I’ve met at the conference – he reads HIStalk and said we’d mentioned him before when he wore some outlandish golf attire (was that redundant?) to a tournament on a dare. It would be fun to surprise Mike with a bunch of visitors at the booth on Thursday, so if you’re inclined to participate in a timed-release flash mob, drop over to Booth #3869 and say hello to our new BFF. Hopefully he won’t disappoint by deciding to slack off with shorts and a tee shirt.
A reader asked for a picture of the $1.99 foot long hot dog I mentioned in my first conference post (kind of an odd thing to want details about, but I’m not judging.) It’s from Casino Royale, a low rent but fun casino between Harrah’s and the Venetian. I bought one this evening just to get a shot for the reader. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and I had just finished an icy Blue Moon draft beer courtesy of the Forcare booth folks, so I couldn’t resist downing this particular snouts-and-tails tube steak even though I wasn’t planning to. It was OK given appropriate expectations and pre-lubrication with the same place’s $1 Michelobs, so that’s a $3 lunch or dinner that would appall doctors of all specialties. They have ketchup, but nobody over age 10 should be putting that on a hot dog no matter how many $1 beers they’ve downed (as I constantly remind Mrs. HIStalk when she does it.) Sriracha would have been good, though.
Inga was a celebrity player in Medicomp’s Quipstar game show held on the exhibit hall floor. She joked that to protect her anonymity and to stroke her needy ego, she would need bodyguards, a limo, and Van Halen-style M&Ms of a single color (green.) They played along, so here she is egressing her limo as heat-packing muscle protect her from the adoring throngs (other than the paparazzo who got this shot.) She didn’t win, but her charity of choice did, courtesy of a $5,000 donation from Medicomp. The funny thing is that in Las Vegas, public behavior apparently would have to be a lot more bizarre than this to warrant anyone’s attention.
Here’s a pic of Orchestrate Health CEO Megan Cook, showing off her awards (Best in KLAS, Inga Loves My Shoes) and as the company says, “showing off our love for HIStalk.” Cool!
Lady Pharmacist sent this picture of a jewel-encrusted skull at the entrance to the Palazzo. Very tasteful.
A reader didn’t like my comment that Hall G (downstairs) has some small and weird booths, thinking I was criticizing the companies there. I wasn’t – I’m criticizing HIMSS for selling space that is just not getting traffic equal to the upstairs booths (I asked the people downstairs, who had plenty of time to chat since I was one of few people strolling around there). The oddball booths I mentioned aren’t vendor booths – they have colleges down there, government agencies, member organizations, and a bunch of other stuff that is hard to figure out (not to mention vast cafeteria and Bistro HIMSS spaces.) It’s not the fault of the vendors there, and I’d certainly make the trip down this week since there are definitely vendors worth checking out (which I did today.) I think they would be glad to see you if you drop by. It’s hard to find from inside the other halls, but if you go outside the halls and then down a level in just the right place, you can get there. It’s not quite as hard as trying to figure out how to escape the main exhibit halls, which make it really hard (maybe intentionally) to find the doors out to daylight.
Random Booth Observations
- eClinical Works had our sign out. Thanks!
- The Sunquest booth had a cool spiral staircase going upstairs, and like they do every year, they had the coolest tote bags on the show floor. These are seriously cool beach bags, way above the quality of anything else I saw.
- Encore Health Resources had a fake fireplace in their booth and were looping slides with consultant bios.
- API Healthcare had our sign out and I had a nice chat with a couple of the reps there. They were on point, engaging me easily within seconds.
- Digital Prospectors had our sign out. These were some fun guys.
- A new exhibitor called Innovatient had an interesting electronic whiteboard for patient rooms that fed into a nursing station monitoring app, complete with video feeds.
- Nuance had our sign out. They announced the winner of the 2012 Mobile Clinician Voice Challenge as the iPad-based SparrowEDIS (video here.) I was one of the judges and will have more later, including an interview with the winner. The announcement also describes the other apps that were in the final group. It was a fun contest.
- Nuance e-mailed to say that it is awarding HIMSS attendees who upload Instagram photos with the hashtag #HIT12 with a $125 prize. Check it out here. I’m not sure they listed all the rules since surely not everybody gets $125, but someone will clarify I’m sure.
- FormFast was giving away cool Frank Sinatra-style fedoras. I wondered where people were getting those. Like a man’s shirt, they look strangely alluring on women.
- I had a very nice chat with the people at Companion Data Services.
- I got a demo of SOTI, a mobile device management system (monitoring, security, policy enforcement, remote control, etc.) They’re offering a 30-day free trial. Hospitals will probably need something like this if they’re going to pursue a “bring your own device” mobile policy.
- Harris had a full gelato bar in their booth. The mango flavor was excellent.
- Intelligent InSites had a booth downstairs in Hall G. They had our sign out. Thanks!
- Kony is downstairs too, running workshops on how to develop mobile device apps using their IDE. I chatted with one of their partners and she said Kony basically owns the apps development market.
- Etransmedia is in Hall G too, and with our sign out besides (thanks!) They’re partnering with Costco to sell MyWay for $499 per month, but they also do HIE stuff. I asked the guy if they were getting a lot of traffic and he said it was pretty good, but he was surprised that so many potential investors are showing up cold to see what the company’s doing. That’s an interesting observation – I guess quite a few investment types cruise the booths looking for potential investments. Another good reason to exhibit, I guess.
- The HealthUnity people had some really cool green scarves on the ladies and diamond pattern sweaters on the men.
- Allscripts had a good idea for their demo stations – a folding tent sign that said “Private demo in progress” to prevent pushy passers-by from hijacking a demo.
- John at CTG’s booth gave me a good overview of their consulting services.
- athenahealth’s theater presentation schedule had the ICD-10 sessions marked out with an explanation: “Postponed due to widespread industry failure.”
From Dr. Jayne
With all of yesterday’s activities, I didn’t get to give as full a report on the exhibit hall as I would have liked. This year’s HIMSS exhibitors are quite subdued compared to last year. I saw far fewer quirky costumes (although there were a few, which I will detail) and a general lack of buzz. Maybe it’s because ONC’s release of Meaningful Use Stage 2 somewhat upstaged everything, maybe it’s a downturn in budgets, who knows. No contortionists or booth reps throwing moon pies this year. Many booth reps were generally apathetic – I was actually ignored at a couple of booths while reps played on their iPhones.
I toured the hall yesterday with HIStalk gadabout Evan Frankel. Full credit is given to Net Optics, who lured us from our wandering with the promise of a 90-second presentation in comfortable seats. Although it went much longer than that, I enjoyed the presenter’s hand motions and breathy sarcasm every time he said the name of the product, Phantom.
Our next stop was Precyse, where Evan posed with what I assume was supposed to be an “I Love Lucy” model handing out chocolate. I’m still not sure how it tied into the theme of the booth, but at least they were reaching out to connect with the crowd.
We stopped by Apixio to look at their population management tool and there were some funny quirks to their demo, which I enjoyed. The simulated scanned patient documents included off-kilter scans with occasional speckles, hospital documents with mis-transcribed words, and even a coffee cup ring.
Quest Diagnostics had a cowboy doing lasso tricks at their Care360 booth, but he was wrapping up as we came by. We were intrigued by a man speeding by in what looked like a Wilderness Scouts outfit and wanted to trail him to his booth, but it turned out he was just hustling to the men’s room.
I liked HipLink’s cool pit crew shirts. The company does integrated paging and mass notification – in another word, outreach. You’ll notice they differentiate themselves from other booth staff because they are actually doing outreach – facing the aisle, looking to engage, and NOT staring at their phones.
As a sequel to last year’s Indiana Jones hats, this year FormFast was giving out kicky fedoras, a la the Rat Pack. Starting to wear down a bit, we had to stop by the Harris booth’s Gelato Bar and I was impressed by my new sidekick’s ability to predict what I’d order.
PACSmate had this cute cart that would look adorable in a pediatrics office.
Mr. H mentioned that he ran into me toting a blue martini, courtesy of MEDecision. I was surprised to see them serving martinis at 1 pm and although grateful for a little refreshment, quickly discovered that their secret recipe seemed to only include two ingredients: Everclear and Powerade.
After the ONC update this morning (which I must admit made me feel largely queasy) it was back to the exhibits again. Vendors seemed a bit more eager to engage, but I was kind of creeped out by one who responded to my “thanks, but not now” rejection of his pitch with an offer of free hugs. Not exactly professional, dude.
The staff at Inspire WiFi were engaging and friendly two days in a row and today were downright helpful. They’re located in Booth 5061 (look for their “pain in the gluteus” graphic) which happens to be right next to an exhibit hall map. When I stopped to locate a booth, the staffer asked if he could help me. It’s good to run across genuinely nice guys. They offer exclusive patient/guest networks for hospitals (as well as hotels and apartments) with no upfront capital expenditure, which is appealing.
The razz of the day goes to LexisNexis, whose booth was entirely empty when I came by. I was going to ask them about their white paper on the role of organized crime in healthcare, which does bring up some interesting points.
DrFirst had their superhero manning the booth, the DrFirst Defender. He really should have worn those boots to HIStalkapalooza!
Speaking of coulda-shoulda-woulda, this gentleman needs to make sure to request an invitation to HIStalkapalooza next year.
HISsies 2012 Winners
Note: anyone could nominate candidates for all categories. The most-often nominated were placed on the ballot, with voting limited to the HIStalk e-mail subscriber list with one vote per reader. Agree or disagree, voting reflects the opinions of around 1,000 HIStalk reader-voters.
Smartest Vendor Action Taken
Google shuts down Google Health
Stupidest Vendor Action Taken
GE and Microsoft move their healthcare products to a new joint venture
Best Healthcare IT Vendor or Consulting Firm
Worst Healthcare IT Vendor or Consulting Firm
Best Leader of a Healthcare IT Vendor or Consulting Firm
Judy Faulkner, Epic
Best Provider User of Healthcare IT
Most Promising Technology Development
Most Overrated Technology
Most Overused Buzzword
When ______ Talks, People Listen
Farzad Mostashari, ONC
Most Effective Healthcare IT Provider Executive
Ed Marx, Texas Health Resources
Most Effective Medical / Clinical Informatics Professional
Paul Tang, Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Industry Figure With Whom You’d Most Like to Have a Few Beers
Jonathan Bush, athenahealth
Industry Figure In Whose Face You’d Most Like to Throw a Pie
John Hammergren, McKesson
HIStalk Healthcare IT Lifetime Achievement Award
Judy Faulkner, Epic
HIStalk Healthcare IT Industry Figure of the Year
Judy Faulkner, Epic