Hello from Las Vegas. I always skip the usual HIStalk format during the HIMSS conference, focusing on what I see or hear directly for the most part. I’m holding off mentioning all but the most significant vendor announcements until next week because I don’t have the time or interest to wade through the glut of press releases that companies unwisely held until this week while everyone is too busy to care.
The weather continues to be great in Lost Wages, so folks coming to the conference from cooler climes are going to love it. The trees and grass are green, the sky is blue, and the restaurant patios are perfect for a leisurely lunch. Until Tuesday, that is, when the area is overrun with pasty-skinned, tote bag-slinging HIMSS attendees determined to glad-hand their way out of winter and get in your way at every opportunity.
Here’s a tip if you need to drive to the Sands Expo for exhibit setup or some other reason – use the Palazzo parking garage and self park (don’t valet unless you want to wait to retrieve your car), which has a very busy entrance on Las Vegas Blvd. and less-busy one off Sands. It’s the best parking garage in Las Vegas with 4,000 spots, it’s free, and the escalator will take you right to the casino, from which it’s a short walk to the hall. Also, Uber finally beat the Las Vegas taxi lobby, so there’s that.
Here’s another tip. Just a few hundred yards down the street from the convention center across from the Wynn is Fashion Show Mall, which doesn’t look big, but has 250 stores and restaurants. If you rip your pants or realize you forgot your socks, there’s a Macy’s as well as a lot of higher-end stores right there (even an Apple Store). Good chain restaurant choices there that I can vouch for are Maggiano’s, Kona Grill, and RA Sushi.
I snapped this photo in the conference center hall. It looks as though HIMSS has just over 60 corporate supporters, of which I note that at least 15 are also HIStalk sponsors (my iPhone picture isn’t quite clear enough to read every logo).
I’m impressed every year that HIMSS sells ads on nearly every square inch of available convention center real estate – walls, escalators, tabletops, and even on the floors. Here’s my business model for the only space they missed in the Sands (above): I propose to replace that ho-hum artwork above the urinals with vendor ads. In addition, I will hire someone just to stay in the restroom all day, and once a HIMSS attendee has settled in at his chosen spot, my lackey will sidle up behind him and announce in his ear, “Hi, I’d like to just say a couple of words about your restroom sponsor ABC Tech, which is in Booth #9999. Don’t stop what you’re doing – I’m just going to slip their business card into your pocket. Excuse me if we don’t shake hands.” When he’s not busy, my man will also slip printed collateral under the door of occupied stalls. Talk about your captive audience. It reminds me of the HIMSS conference a few years ago when a vendor brilliantly placed ad-imprinted drain screens in all the urinals, at least until they got busted by HIMSS.
I look forward to only two things about the HIMSS conference: the Hyland magician and MedData’s scones. I had heard previously that the latter might be threatened by Sands Expo rules prohibiting baking in booths (can you imagine?) I was horrified to see actual evidence of this – the MedData booth contains no scone-baking apparatus. If the magician is a no-show, I’m going home.
All of us exhibitors were doing setup today, with the exhibit hall acres covered with palletized equipment, plastic-covered carpet, yet-to-be installed signs and furniture, a few blue-jeaned vendor employees, and leisurely Freeman people with drills and ladders. We carted in our mighty HIStalk exhibit today, which involves two roll-up signs, a tablecloth, and a banner, weighing maybe 20 pounds total. It all fits into a single duffel bag. We have little to give away, nothing to sell, and no real reason to even be back in Booth #5069 by the freight door other than to give our fellow outcasts a place to call home among the multi-storied, fluorescent sterility.
I always ponder as I walk through the Las Vegas hotel equivalent of a mall food court littered with cookie-cutter restaurants bearing celebrity chef names: have those big-name cooks ever actually set foot in the place? My suspicion is that they just license their name out to some dull restaurant chain operator, take their cash, and move on to their next venture. I picture the Venetian having one giant commissary kitchen that makes all the food for every individually branded restaurant using corporate-approved formulas and quality control, with the “chefs” given about as much creative freedom as they would have packaging airline meals or prison food. That’s one more way Las Vegas seems like Orlando to me other than they’re the only two cities hosting HIMSS conferences in the future – unsophisticated visitors can’t wait to try all the chain restaurants they don’t have back home.
Bands coming to town this week that I wouldn’t mind seeing are Iron Maiden, Metric, and Gin Blossoms.
We’re giving away these first aid kits from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions in our booth. If the HIMSS conference gives you a headache, heartburn, foot blisters, or sticky hands (how could it not?), you’ll want one. Arcadia will have them in their booth, too. I snagged a couple of them last year and they’re very handy both during and after the conference.
From Former Bruin: “Re: City of Hope Medical Center (CA). Specializing in oncology treatment. Switching from Allscripts to Epic.” Unverified.
From The Oracle of Alpharetta: “Re: McKesson. All signs point to McKesson EIS to be in Stage 1 Shutdown Mode. Customers continue to leave for other vendors. Horizon conversions to Paragon are at a trickle. InSight users group attendance was abysmal. Customers are angry. EIS senior management have no healthcare experience, but they do have expertise in valuation and slimming down businesses prior to dissolving them. Large RIF likely coming in March. Development and QA rapidly shifting to third-party, offshore workers to reduce headcount and severance and bonus liabilities. Constant reorgs in Alpharetta, Charlotte, and Westminster. MCK will focus on its roots: pharma and med/surg distribution. HIT was fun while it lasted.” Unverified.
Ireland-based Oneview Health plans to go public on the Australian stock market, valuing the company at $200 million.
Next up: HIStalkapalooza. I’ll probably post a brief recap and some pictures Monday night. Safe travels.