From Mr. H
My body is totally confused after a long week, a redeye flight home, lack of exercise because of overpriced Harrah’s facilities, and not having to make yet another trip to the Venetian. And here I am working on a Friday night nonetheless, with the large Monday Morning Update to write Saturday. I hope everybody makes it back OK with all the weather disruptions going on.
Bettina Dold of Acusis captured this moment on the show floor, which she titled,” HIMSS Men at Play.” People were having a blast (no pun intended) at these Merge Healthcare arcade games every time I strolled by.
Here’s the most exciting news of the week – the original OnBase magician was back! I’m telling you in all seriousness that this is the funniest and most talented guy working in Las Vegas this week, and that includes show lounge performers. I can’t really explain how masterful he is not just doing jaw-dropping magic tricks, but working the crowd, adding humor on the fly, and moving his audience into the booth for sales attention when he is finished. I look forward to him every year. Whatever they pay him isn’t enough. I wanted to ask him about his background since he seems to know a lot about OnBase and the industry in general, but you’ll never find a time that he doesn’t have a crowd around. Way to go, magic dude! You were the highlight of the conference as usual.
I don’t know what this means since I never did figure out how to find Booth 12953 in the poorly marked and laid out Hall G, but I suspect that if companies were paying HIMSS for “hidden gem” booth space, this sign isn’t going to pacify them.
Inga, Dr. Jayne, and I have individually listed our “how to work a booth as a rep” ideas. As a public service, I’d like to put this together into a checklist for HIMSS exhibitors: don’t sit on the job, don’t talk to your co-workers, etc. This is a potentially important masterwork to help guide the youngsters trying to make a place for themselves in healthcare IT, so help me out with your ideas. You don’t need to include the “confiscate all smart phones” item since that’s a given.
Thursday Booth Notes
- Lots of folks bailed on Thursday, so it was much quieter. I still say many of the serious prospects don’t come by until then, so it’s a shame that so many of the reps were sprawling, screwing around on their phones, and conducting animated and sometimes profanity-laden conversations among themselves as passers-by tried unsuccessfully to get their attention. In on area, I counted reps on phones and iPads in seven of eight booths, then four of six in the adjacent space.
- Cumberland Consulting Group caught my eye by having their HIStalk sign out, but they had probably the best consultation area that I saw, with nice seating and a net-like drape to separate areas off without making you feel like you’re in a box.
- Practice Fusion had some cool shirts and a great pitch. Kellie told me they have 32 million patients in their system and that quite a few of their physician users have stopped by.
- I decided to challenge Suzanne in the MobileMD booth, asking her innocently tough questions like, “Why did Siemens buy your company?” and “How do you like working for them?” She gave perfect answers.
- Krina at Ingenious Med, you were very good and engaging me and giving me a good, concise explanation of mobile charge capture for rounding physicians when I pretended I didn’t know anything about it.
- Salar had a row of candy jars and was making custom bags of treats for attendees. That was fun.
- Charlie Cook, president of Orchestrate Healthcare, set a great example for the troops as he engaged me in the booth periphery, got me to pause, and then moved quickly to the bullet lists of why I should care. Although I admit that I was looking at the HIStalkapalooza-winning shoes on display over his shoulder, courtesy of winner and company CEO Megan Cook.
- It takes special talent to be a theater barker to get people to move off the pedestrian highway to sit down for a demo or presentation, but the best I heard all week was Becky from VMware. She was fresh and funny, even though this was in the waning exhibit hall hours on Thursday.
- Good idea, PC Connection – putting out a sign that attendees could print their boarding passes at your booth. Well done.
- I was entertained at Network Hardware Resale, which was giving away a remote-controlled helicopter as a prize. They gave it a test drive all the way to the high ceiling, then promptly crashed it from 40 feet up and in all its lit-up glory directly into the head of an attendee.
- T-System gave me a nice overview of what they do. I already knew, so they passed the test.
- I sat in on a presentation by Andres Jimenez, MD of ImplementHIT, who talked about using Nuance’s Dragon with Allscripts. Seems like a nice guy, a surgeon finishing a PhD in education. A quote: “It’s not about Meaningful Use with the government. It’s more about going home to have a meaningful dinner with my wife.”
- I spent much of Thursday downstairs in Hall G because I felt bad for the vendors HIMSS put down there. On the other hand, several I talked to said they had been quite busy, so hopefully attendees found their way down.
- Carstens was playing classical music in their booth. I think Dr. Jayne or Inga mentioned this, but it really was effective.
- My favorite booth person of the whole conference was Colleen at the 1Call booth in the Mobile Health exhibit. They do secure messaging for mobile devices. I felt bad for her since she was sitting in the equivalent of a hidden telephone booth, but she was just as sweet and fun as she could be, plus she explained their product effectively. If I’d had a trophy in my pocket, she would have gone home with it.
- iSirona was hopping in Hall G. They gave me a short overview of their medical device connectivity product. They also gave me a tee shirt.
- Megan at Intelligent InSites gave me a really nice overview of their RTLS solution when I pretended to not even know what that means, telling her I stopped by only to “see what the colorful diagram on the monitor is.” OK, I’m good at playing stupid, which maybe isn’t something to brag on. She moved me right into benefits and competitive advantage without breaking the flow and without blowing me off since I clearly wasn’t a prospect.
- I cold-called Holon Solutions, asking “what do you do.” They told me pretty well.
- The Apixio guy was fun in a SoCal way, drawing me in to see their EMR search solution. They also gave a free trial, which I need to try since it’s sitting in my e-mail inbox. I asked an obvious questions he couldn’t answer, though: he only demonstrated searching by patient name, which is not only impractical but dangerous, and hadn’t heard of the idea of searching by medical record number. He was still cool.
- Inga misspoke on the Blue Hair Girls. I kept wondering why I didn’t see them in the SIS booth as she wrote, the reason being that it was The SSI Group.
- I tried several times to figure out what RL Solutions does since they had a very cool, Apple-like booth on the far end of the hall, but every time I trolled, their reps were deep in conversation only with each other and refused to react to eye contact. They’ve missed their window of opportunity since I now don’t even care.
- Ruckus Wireless had a really creepy stuffed dog in the booth.
- Barco had the best beer I’ve ever seen on the show floor. Joe the bartender was professionally handing over fresh-from-the-ice bottles of great European beer like Hoegarden, Stella, and Leffe. It was superb.
- My new best bud rep is Joel from Fixmo, a Toronto mobile device security company. I was drinking my Hoegarden from Barco and we started talking beer talk, to the point that I went down and got him a Hoegarden of his own so we could emulate a bar setting as we elbow-leaned and swigged. He gave me some brands to try: Rickard, Brador, and Steam Whistle. I saw him interacting with passers-by and he is very engaging and friendly. I just didn’t feel that invisible shield between us that keeps you from really engaging with a rep.
- I was hanging out with the Medicomp folks as the exhibits closed at 6:00 Thursday evening. I’ve never stayed past closing time, so it was interesting to watch armies of workers and equipment immediately tearing down all that glitzy magic you enjoyed (or tolerated) all week. They were pulling up carpet almost before the last people exited, and by the time I left at around 6:45, the hall had mostly bare concrete floors, all the booth lighting was powered down, and exhibit people were tearing down the village they had built earlier in the week. By the time you read this, there’s probably another conference in that same space that looks like it’s been there forever.
- Here’s another recognition. I wandered in a cul de sac deep in the bowels of Hall G (or is that Hell G?) Eight small booths facing each other, with seven of them featuring reps sprawling and Facebooking. One booth stood out with a sentry-like presence in Lanette Fugit, who was fronting the Mobile Iron booth. She was like a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: ramrod straight, eyes unwavering, ignoring the people around her who were mostly just screwing around. She engaged me, went smoothly into a short and obviously well-rehearsed but not overly glib informational pitch, and then steered me to the two technical guys working with her as the handoff for geek talk. I verified that she’s a contract person. Her pic is below, but despite her obvious attractiveness, I wasn’t even thinking that – I was thinking she’s the one person who cares enough to be professional when she could have gotten away with less since she’s not even an employee.
Some Booth Crawl Winners
Here’s Franklin Crownover, pharmacy informatics coordinator at Tufts Medical Center and Booth Crawl contestant, accepting his iPad from Chris from Shareable Ink. Some of the contestants obviously check e-mail regularly and like iPads immensely since they showed up almost immediately to pick it up after I e-mailed them that they’d won, which I like since it indicates that they were excited about it. Facebook post here. Thanks to all those who played for visiting the booths of the sponsoring companies. Winner Dan Williams e-mailed me to say, “It is a great way to see everything and especially to meet the HIStalk sponsors.”
Another iPad winner – Jonathan Rubin MD of Froedtert Hospital-Medical College of Wisconsin. His prize came from Surgical Information Systems, which commemorated it on their Facebook. I note his enthusiasm as evidenced by the blurred thumbs-up gesture, caught mid-stream as he welcomes his new electronic family member.
Another Booth Crawl winner – Anuj Desai, director of business development for New York eHealth Collaborative. Why was the photo taken in front of the HIMSS bookstore, you might ask? Because the presenter is Guy Scalzi of Aspen Advisors (on the right), who co-authored the book IT Governance in Hospitals and Health Systems, published by HIMSS this month. You may remember Guy from his former lives as an FCG senior vice president and CIO at New York-Presbyterian.
Rick Beberman of Fulcrum Methods seems to be just as pleased to be holding our HIStalk sign as he does to be presenting a brand new iPad for the enjoyment of Jim Hetherington, HIE applications manager at Catholic Health Initiatives. I swear even the boxes Apple uses are sexy. Jim also e-mailed me a photo he took in one of the education sessions, in which a young lady was wearing a coat that was almost identical to the one work by Evan Frankel at HIStalkapalooza. I’m not running it since she might not appreciate the comparison although it’s definitely there.
Cynthia Hartmann, come on down! To Vitera Healthcare Solutions, that is, which presented Cynthia (of University of Mississippi Medical Center) with her shiny new iPad.
Apple loves AirStrip Technologies and is always putting their cool remote monitoring solutions into their commercials and on-stage announcements, so it’s only fitting that Donna Morrow, chief of client operations officer for the company, presents Anthony Schuster MD with an iPad. Tony is CMIO with the outstanding H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. I note with pride that his LinkedIn profile indicates that he’s a member the HIStalk Fan Club, which I swear had nothing to do with his victory.
Here’s a brilliant idea. We still have a few iPads to give away since we didn’t have enough successful Booth Crawl contestants (more info to follow on the additional winners) but ICA drew their winner from entrants in the food bank donation project. Congratulations to Lisa Lyon, clinical informatics coordinator at Cherokee Nation of Pryor, OK. They were the first tribe to earn an EHR incentive payment from the state’s Medicaid program. That’s Lisa on the right in the group shot above as they accepted the incentive payment last July. Thanks for the work you do and enjoy your iPad, courtesy of Informatics Corporation of America.
Gabe Davis, Booth Crawl winner from Texas Health Resources, e-mailed me to say that he had a ton of fun, and that “I can honestly say that I made several connections with vendors that I wouldn’t have normally spent time with. It was a great idea.” Gabe’s iPad came from API Healthcare.
If you missed HIStalkapalooza, check out the video above from ESD. Now that I think about it, I stayed in my one little spot most of the evening and didn’t get to see all the other fun stuff going on. It makes me so happy to see so many people having a fun time! The fashions — from the shoes to the gowns to the tuxedoes — were fantastic! A year from now when Mr. H and I are pulling our hair out with our pre-HIMSS activities, I will pull up this video and remember it was all worth it. Many thanks again to ESD, our emcees, our HIStalk Elvis, and our judges for making it a magical evening.
Many kind folks have forwarded notes expressing their thanks and appreciation for both HIStalkapalooza and our sponsor luncheon. Here is a sampling:
Our team had a lovely time at the HIStalk luncheon. Thanks for recognizing your sponsors and the contributions you make to the industry.
Just wanted to thank you for the invite to last night’s event. I had a great time and got to catch up with a lot of folks I hadn’t seen in a while.
Thanks for the IngaTini(s) and the fantastic hospitality tonight.
Best party at HIMSS year after year.
Another awesome HIStalkapalooza! Jonathan Bush was as simultaneously irreverent and insightful as always. Whoa, those HISsies!
I posted a number of photos from the party on the HIStalk Facebook page, including many of the shoe fashions. I am happy to report my shoes were deemed attractive enough to capture the eye of our shoe judges.
I am hoping someone filmed the HISsies as well because Jonathan Bush was on his A game yet again. He’s funny, smart, doesn’t hold back, and is pure entertainment. And he drinks very large beers.
HIMSS says that as of Friday morning, attendance hit 37,032 attendees, surpassing HIMSS11’s 31,500 attendance figure. A total of 1,123 companies exhibited.
There is nothing hotter than a guy in a pink tuxedo with lights. That’s Trey Lauderdale of Voalte, the company known for their pink apparel.
I didn’t get too many trinkets this year: a couple of t-shirts (including an XXL one from Medicomp – whoops); a couple of hats (I really like the Trustwave one); chocolate; and a few pens. Though not swag, the Intelligent InSites people made sure I received the above poster. I love it! Intelligent Insites offers an RTLS solution that requires less walking for nurses to find equipment and therefore allowing them to switch to the hot shoes like the ones pictured. I just like gazing at the shoes.
Speaking of shoes, despite mostly wearing flats all day, my poor little feet are swollen and have blisters. I am thinking it will be a barefoot weekend.
My brain as well as my feet are exhausted, so that’s it for now. All in all, it was a great week and a great conference.
From Dr. Jayne
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Inga play Quipstar yesterday afternoon, although I must say I was quite jealous of the hardcore security detail that was outside her dressing room (complete with ear pieces!) and the paparazzi that were on hand to capture her entrance. Medicomp did it up right and even had a shoe-cam to focus on her seriously spiky stilettos.
There seemed to be a bit more buzz in the hall – brighter faces and a shift in the general tone from Tuesday’s eerie quiet. Maybe people are doing well in the casino and it’s making them more chipper. I noted huge crowds at the Nuance booth as well as at ICA, where I dropped my entry to win cash for my local food bank. Lots of friendly folks there who just wanted to chat.
I connected with a couple of specific people to get answers to some technical questions about products that I had posed earlier in the week. It was nice to have follow-up and know that people understand this is a time for many of us to accomplish a lot of data gathering in a short period of time.
But alas, all good HIMSS must come to an end and for me today (Thursday) was the last day. I had to sprint home to prepare for a Big Meeting tomorrow with some physicians who take a dim view of being rescheduled for what they perceive to be merely another trade show. I found a forlorn little post card in my mailbox, urging me to visit the ANX booth to pick up my special “hangover kit” and experience a special photo op inspired by “Hangover.” I hope they’re inspired to follow up with their marketing team to find out why their mailing wasn’t postmarked until February 16, which made delivery prior to HIMSS nearly impossible.
I was happy that my suitcase only gained a pound and a half during this Vegas trip – probably because I took a lot of smart phone photos of interesting materials to reference, rather than picking them up. The airport was full of HIMSS survivors and I spotted several FormFast fedoras as well. I’m looking forward to New Orleans next year (better have some beignets in the booths, people!) but right now I have to cozy up with the Stage 2 proposed rule in all of its 455 pages of black and white glory.