From BD: “Re: finds from the show. Warm and fuzzies all around us.” Funny, I noticed those exact items too. I was picturing a criminal lifer in the back seat of a cab fingering his .45 nervously, but then being scared off upon learning the news that blasting the cab driver might lead to punishment. Apparently New Orleans has a target audience of literate and easily influenced would-be cabbie killers.
From IVANS to Tell You…: “Re: IVANS. ABILITY Network to acquire IVANS. Press release out tomorrow.” Unverified. Both companies are involved with Medicare/Medicaid connectivity.
From Tweeter and the Monkey Man: “Re: Jardogs acquisition by Allscripts. That effectively eliminates Jardogs from 80 percent of all deals as their portal is no longer agnostic. Will a Cerner community buy an Allscripts product? Doubtful. Watch for a rebrand.”
Wednesday of HIMSS week is always kind of a letdown. Everybody’s tired, sluggish from too much food and drink, and many (or most) of them head out for home later in the day. You could feel the energy sucked out of the exhibit hall, which I left early because my feet were tired (I think I’m coming down with a cold) and I had pretty much seen everything (four trips back and forth the length of the hall today alone.) Above is a typical booth view, with everybody heads-down on their phones.
— HIMSS (@HIMSS) March 7, 2013
I attended an early ONC session that wasn’t interesting enough to hold my admittedly short attention span. At the end, some douchebag PHR vendor CEO charged the microphone in pretending to ask a question by orating endlessly at the ONC panel, then went off in a long, pedantic description of how wonderful his thumb drive PHR product is (including histrionics like waving it around in the air) and claiming it could replace HIEs. If there was one of those bank teller panic buttons, I’m sure one of the ONC people would have pressed it to have him forcibly removed, but without it they could only smile through gritted teeth hoping he would accidentally come up for air so they could interrupt his infomercial. I was afraid I’d get trampled as most of the theater joined me in fleeing for the exits. I wish I had noted the company’s name to award them the appropriate level of public ridicule.
I hate it when people ask their long-winded questions after a presentation. I’d much rather let them use index cards or tweets so I don’t have to listen to their life story instead of the speaker I came to hear. Why are they encouraged to introduce themselves since nobody cares? Why doesn’t someone hold the microphone and yank it away when they refuse to shut up? When I see the self-important folks sprint over top of each other to line up salivating for their turn at the microphone, I make an equally speedy beeline for the door knowing that the interesting part of the session is officially over.
I say it every year, but the best asset of any vendor is the Hyland magician outside their sports bar exhibit. Not only is his magician’s patter amazing (“Wanna see something cool?” which is probably equally good as a pickup line) but he then works the crowd and talks knowledgably about how the OnBase product connects to Epic or Cerner or whatever. There’s no way he could memorize all that, so he must be an employee who just happens to be a magician. Whatever they pay him isn’t enough.
People keep asking me whether Epic should join its competitors in CommonWell. My answer: I wouldn’t, at least not yet. My understanding is that the participants signed a non-binding letter of intent and kicked in up to $2 million each to perform vaguely described interoperability work on an undefined timeline. Set an Outlook reminder for a year from now and let’s see if these large publicly traded companies can actually accomplish anything that benefits patients in ways that existing interoperability and HIEs haven’t. By apparently not inviting Epic initially, at least part of their agenda is pretty clear. The HIMSS timing raises the possibility that it’s more of a marketing program than it seems, to the point that I heard that Allscripts didn’t even sign up until Sunday night (Paul Black wasn’t present at the announcement, maybe for that reason). If they can actually make progress quickly, then Epic can always join at that time since they claim membership will be open to everyone. Being in favor of patient-benefiting interoperability doesn’t necessarily mean signing up for CommonWell, and if the market demands such participation, more companies will get on board.
I heard many people today complaining about having eaten too much very rich food this week. Nobody even wanted the beignets vendors were handing out from their booths today. I was glad that I had a delightful river view tapas dinner with a new friend Tuesday night since I was overloaded with gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, andouille sausage, fried oysters, and bread pudding. My serum Tabasco levels are off the chart.
A pet peeve: sales guys wearing white lab coats. I don’t think they realize how offensive it is to clinicians (me included) who worked hard to earn the right to wear them in appropriate situations. Maybe next HIMSS I’ll don priest vestments to listen to their pitch.
Bill Clinton drew the largest keynote crowd I’ve seen at a HIMSS conference, totally filling the main hall and darned near overwhelming the huge lobby that served as an overflow area (above). It was like Billstock. I heard that people were so packed inside the hall that they had to clear some of them out because all the blocked aisles were a fire code violation. I guess he was OK in a big picture kind of way, and it’s always fun to get a little bit of inside baseball knowledge from a former president. There were snickers when one of his stories involved “walking down the street with my young intern,” but he clarified that it’s a guy.
Live from the HIStalk Executive Lounge(that’s how Medicomp labeled it) at HIStalkapalooza – attendees issue their predictions for 2013.
Impact Advisors sent over some pictures from their Monday night event at the Grand Isle Restaurant.
Someone from Microsoft apologized here for their employees texting and ignoring booth attendees, so I figured I’d give them another chance. I walked up to the very same station, stood still and made eye contact, and a MSFT guy who was texting walked very slowly away from me, like he wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere except away from me. I was then intercepted and engaged professionally and cordially by Sarah, but then again she’s the healthcare marketing executive and you would expect her to be excellent (and she was.) Still, it was a much better experience.
I assume the Microsofties and others who have minimal booth personality are technical people and you can forgive them for that. At the opposite end of the spectrum was the utterly delightful young lady at the Tellennium booth. I told her there’s no way she’s a real employee since she was just too upbeat and magnetic and she proudly said that she’s a “brand ambassador.” I liked her instantly.
Here’s a shout out to Chelsey from Radianse, who had the best engagement style I’ve seen so far this week. She wasn’t arrogant, forceful, or overly rehearsed, but she also wasn’t scared to go shoulder to shoulder into the details of their product. Nice job. She pulled me in off the aisle I was walking down and actually taught me a few things that were good to know.
Spectralink had a pretty cool “man down” phone that automatically opens a call to hospital security if the wearer either drops it or starts running. The call is initiated in speakerphone mode, so if there’s something going on or the wearer is unable to reach the phone, the person on the other end will hear it.
Salar’s booth was in a terrible location behind the menacing adjacent booth that loomed up into the rafters, but Greg Wilson did a nice job engaging me, probably just happy to see an actual person in the HIMSS no-man’s land the company assigned the company since it started over on HIMSS points after being acquired a couple of times. Our sign was out there, which is what caught my eye in the first place.
I saw our signs out at the booths of PDR Network, VitalWare, Divurgent, and SuccessEHS. Thanks to those sponsors.
Here’s a rare HIMSS sighting of Cerner’s Neal Patterson, who I noticed as he entered the Motion Computing booth this afternoon right after the Bill Clinton break.
Here’s a video of Dr. Jayne playing Quipstar in Medicomp Stadium.
Some of my favorite people are the ESD crew, who not only sported a fun and beautifully green booth that coordinated with our sign, but who were a blast at HIStalkapalooza this week, sponsored last year’s event in Las Vegas, and might reprise that role in the future. They dutifully posed for a picture. The company really is a great supporter of our work, going way beyond just mailing in a check.
This company always makes interesting shirts.
A reader sent this photo of the cool (but kind of creepy) Greenway smart-alecky avatar. The reader says its name is Christo.
I admire this ingenuity and dedication. Strata Decision Technology is a brand new sponsor and came on board too late for us to make them a booth sign. They e-mailed to say they took a picture of someone else’s, added in their own name, made their own sign, and proudly displayed it in their booth. That is just cool and it honestly moved me, like a lot of things our sponsors do to support our work. I dropped by and chatted anonymously with the folks there, who pleasantly explained what they do when I asked (a single financial platform for capital and operational budgeting, financial decision support, performance reporting, etc.) They didn’t mention it, but I see they announced a new StrataJazz customer today, St. Luke’s University Health Network (PA).
Charlie from Orchestrate Healthcare sent over this picture of our front-and-center sign. Nice.
- Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center (NY) chooses Allscripts Financial Manager.
- We already stated that the VA’s big $543 million RTLS project involves CenTrak and Intelligent InSites, but CenTrak makes it official.
Mr. H’s Ten Commandments for Booth People
- I will either turn my phone off and leave it off or, better still, put it away out of easy reach before commencing booth duty. If I can’t stay focused on doing the job I’m well paid to do for a handful of hours without screwing around with my phone, I should quit and let someone more motivated take my place.
- I will stand at all times, sitting only if accompanying a booth visitor.
- I will maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from the nearest fellow booth person to avoid the temptation of making co-worker small talk that will discourage visitors from initiating contact.
- I will not interrupt my fellow booth person who is speaking to a visitor, even though I might be tempted to help them complete a thought or help out with a demo. Trying to follow two people talking over each other is fatiguing.
- I will suggest that the most engaging of our people work the perimeter, with the assignment of quickly engaging passersby and then quickly handing them off to less-gregarious experts who can take it from there. Only the most personable people should serve in this prospect picket role.
- I will start conversations with pleasant chit-chat and not an overly rehearsed set of facts or questions no matter how many times I’ve delivered the spiel. Nobody likes to be bombarded immediately.
- I will approach every person who pauses, looks at anything in the booth, or appears lost. People of various personality types may signal their potential interest in a variety of ways.
- I will have a 10-second answer ready for the inevitable “what does your company do” question.
- I will not discriminate how I engage with visitors on the basis of job title or organization except perhaps in the case of a direct competitor. You never know who will be an influencer, either in their current role or down the road, and my time isn’t so valuable that I shouldn’t speak at least briefly to anyone who is interested.
- I will remember that visitors have walked miles and are probably carrying several pounds worth of vendor giveaways, so if I convince them to watch a demo, I will personally make sure they have a seat and a place to lay down their bag.