At HIMSS, GE Healthcare reportedly confirms rumors that it will phase out its Centricity EHR business line, but then later this week introduces a new financial management product under the Centricity line.
My third day at HIMSS started off with the #HITchicks tweetup at the HIMSSpot in between the exhibit halls. A group of about 50, including a smattering of men, attended to talk and tweet about the role of women as patient advocates and the highlights of HIMSS15 thus far. It didn’t take long for the “booth babe” conversation to take off, with one audience member shouting out HIStalk for bringing attention to the unfortunate trend a few years ago, and consistently calling out those companies that choose to hire pretty faces in tight-fitting spandex to shill their products. I thought it was especially fitting that me, Lorre, and friends of HIStalk added the badges below to our HIMSS15 wardrobes. Kudos to HIStalker Steve Blumenthal, business and corporate law attorney at Waller Lansden, for supplying them. He’s got a pretty sharp sense of humor for a lawyer.
The tweetup had not one but three highlights for me: University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers CIO Sue Schade – CHIME’s CIO of the Year – stopped by the voice her support for the group. Kym Martin, a four-time breast cancer survivor and patient advocate (not to mention the lovely wife of HIStalk Blues Brother Ross Martin, MD), shared her story of patient advocacy and journey as a four-time breast cancer survivor. Last but not least, ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD stopped by to share her experience as a woman who has worked in academia, public health, and now on the national political stage.
My next stop was the ONC press briefing, where staff gave a run down of the office’s accomplishments over the last year. Interoperability and partnerships were definitely the overarching theme. DeSalvo took the briefing as an opportunity to announce the availability of $1 million in grant funds to support health IT projects for the Community Interoperability Health Information Exchange Program. The program will award funds to 10 organizations, including those that are not eligible for MU incentives. Applications for the program are due June 16.
We didn’t get too far into the Q&A before someone brought up the patient engagement crowd’s (including Farzad Mostashari, MD’s) uproar over the decision by CMS to change the Stage 2 requirement so that providers now have to show that one patient, rather than 5 percent of their patients, accessed their information online. DeSalvo calmly stressed that ONC is absolutely committed to ensuring that patients have access to their health data, adding that she is encouraged that a dialogue is taking place on the issue. She also reminded reporters that this is a proposed rule, and that formal comments on the rule are encouraged. I understand why some might call this a step backward for the MU program, but I can’t help but think many providers are breathing sighs of relief. You can’t force people to use the Internet, especially those that don’t have access to a computer or reliable WiFi. As DeSalvo reiterated throughout her response to this question, the true challenge will be a cultural one, not necessarily one solved by technology, which is why it’s so important for the ONC to partner with other federal agencies as they attempt to evolve their focus beyond EHRs.
My next stop after a quick lunch in the press room as at the Emdeon booth, where I moderated a panel discussion with Emdeon’s Gene Boerger and CareCloud’s Albert Santalo on fueling product innovation with big data. I was slightly jealous of the stylish and super-comfy shoes the Emdeon staff were sporting, not to mention the cushioned carpet in their booth. I enjoyed wandering around both sides of the exhibit hall afterwards, snapping pictures of those that had unique designs, catchy marketing gimmicks, and bustling crowds.
My remaining time at the conference was spent at our booth, where I got the chance to witness The Walking Gallery converge, courtesy of HIStalk’s good friend Regina Holliday. I especially loved the vibrant color of Farzad Mostashari, MD’s jacket. Let the data flow ….
My day concluded with a quick stop by the Patientco party, where I ran into Caroline Wood and Sherry Farrugia of Georgia Tech. Talk soon turned to a company called Evidation Health, launched last month by GE Ventures and Stanford Health Care to improve health outcomes with evidence-based digital health tools. Their excitement about the startup was palpable, so I may have to crash the road trip they’ve got planned to go out there later this year.
After that it was on to the Edifecs #HIMSSandHers meetup, where I happily talked shop with Politico’s Ashley Gold. I left with a T-shirt and a selfie stick, my favorite piece of HIMSS swag so far. Despite being thoroughly exhausted, I’m already looking forward to seeing what my final day of HIMSS will bring.
From Thinking Ahead: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. How can we sponsor next year’s event?” Contact Lorre. I think this year’s sponsors feel they got their money’s worth since it let them have a “party within a party” that offered cool exposure that impressed prospects, but didn’t cost them much since the fixed costs were spread over several sponsors. I question my sanity in assuming so much work and financial risk just to throw a free party where I don’t know all of the attendees, but for at least one evening per year, it almost seems worth it. I haven’t fully decided about doing it again next year.
From Donnie Brasco: “Re: Epic. Announced that Care Everywhere is free until 2020. The $2.35 per patient per year Epic to non-Epic exchange fee was eliminated. Haven’t heard start date or other details.” Epic was taking in only a tiny bit of revenue anyway, and given the negative (and often inaccurate) press as well as the occasional Congressional scorn, it’s a smart move to just waive the small fee rather than defending it.
From GE Hellcare: “Re: Centricity Enterprise. Announced as retired during HIMSS. No more inpatient EHR. They haven’t decided whether to sell it to another company or retire it.” I hadn’t heard that, but then again it’s not exactly a force to be reckoned with either way.
From Tom Terrific: “Re: MedCity News referring to HIStalk as ‘the National Enquirer of health IT.’ I may never read that site again!” I was peeved that a snarky report that recapped HIStalkapalooza made it sound like HIStalk is some kind of tabloid journalism site that isn’t respected or trustworthy, which seems a bit ungrateful given that the writer enjoyed their evening at my expense and filled some of their news space recapping the Jonathan-Judy portion of it (which, now that I think of it, sounds a lot more like ‘National Enquirer’ celebrity gossip masquerading as news than anything I write). I’ll compare experience, issues analysis, news relevancy, and rumor accuracy with anyone.
From Lincoln: “Re: Allscripts. I heard UCI is dropping Sunrise for Epic, the last of the UCs to do move there.”
Centura Health SVP/CIO Dana Moore’s dance card is filled for his 10 until noon time slot in our booth Wednesday, but if you’re willing to donate $500 to DonorsChoose to get 20 minutes of his undivided attention, Dana says he’s willing to stick around later. Remember that we also have an anonymous vendor that is matching that amount, so each 20-minute taker sends $1,000 to underserved classroom projects. One vendor’s executive says she doesn’t really have anything to pitch to Dana, so she’ll use her time to teach him how to make balloon animals. See Lorre in the booth Wednesday morning.
News: the Senate passed the SGR doc fix bill late Tuesday without ICD-10 additions, requiring only the President’s signature to avoid cutting doctor payments (at the expense of adding another $141 billion to the deficit).
Announcements That Are Kind of Interesting
Arcadia Healthcare Solutions announces $13 million in new funding.
InstaMed offers its payment network customers the ability to charge patients using Apple Pay.
We had The Walking Gallery in our booth this afternoon. Each painted jacket tells a story of suffering and loss amidst a struggle with a sometimes uncaring, bureaucratic, paternalistic, or inefficient medical establishment. You should care because it’s about patients and we’re all a patient at one time or another – working in healthcare doesn’t protect you or your family from its problems.
Our favorite attorney Steve Blumenthal (on the right) hung out in the booth today and handed out swag. He tried to get approval to give away little bottles of whiskey since his company is in Nashville, but being lawyers, they scotched the idea (no pun intended) fearing mass litigation from conference attendees who might injure themselves in an alcoholic stupor. He made himself a badge labeled “HIStalk Booth Babe” that featured a silhouette of a reclining obese male (he’s pointing at it in the photo). He says he’s pretty funny for a lawyer but it’s not exactly a high bar, so I’m not sure if the “bar” part was an intentional pun.
I still haven’t received any of the HIStalkapalooza photos or video folks were taking for us, but here’s a great band shot from Nordic. Guys loved those red dresses. I should have Lorre check the band’s rider and production details to see if they intentionally installed a hair-blowing fan to make the angelic-sounding ladies look more model-like – I noticed their tresses were undulating fetchingly in the apparently intentional stage breeze.
Want to see the big HIMSS conference keynoters? Plan on sticking around longer than you should since HIMSS backloads the big guns – George Bush is at 4:30 Wednesday and Karen DeSalvo isn’t until 8:30 Thursday morning after everybody who has real work to do is already back doing it.
I remember when vendors weren’t allowed to offer food from the exhibit hall, not even packaged candy. Now you can get just about everything – I’ve had margaritas, mini hot dogs (the sauerkraut was smelling up the adjacent booths), and of course the amazing scones from MedData – my favorite was on tap today, peach with passion fruit icing. Seriously good. I would have had a second one with my HCI-provided beer except they ran out. MedData even delivered some scones to our booth. I’ve heard a scary rumor that Las Vegas doesn’t allow ovens in the exhibit hall and that’s a problem for next year’s scone supply.
Tip: if you want to take UberX back to your hotel, they can’t pull into the taxi loop at the door and the app won’t let you call a car – instead, walk a block or two to the right and then place your Uber request. Even with surge pricing I was able to get back to Bridgeport for $13 this afternoon.
I meant to check out NantHealth since last year I couldn’t figure out what they do even after the booth people tried to explain it to me (clearly they didn’t really know either). I haven’t found their booth so far.
The companies that seem to be on a growth rocket ride, at least from their conference presence, include Access and CoverMyMeds. I’m sure there are others, but those made my radar.
Speaking of growth, here’s a project for all you analytics people. Get copies of the HIMSS exhibitor guide from the previous couple of years. Assign weighting factors to each vendor in the exhibit hall that are both positive (bigger booth, more desirable location, consecutive years of exhibiting) and negative (dropping out of exhibiting or taking a smaller booth). Who is trending up or down? Who stopped showing up at all? How many first-timers returned? How many companies shot their financial wad on one big HIMSS presence and then sank without a trace?
I took a look at Medhost’s YourCareEverywhere, which is sort of a patient portal for hospitals that run its systems. It looked pretty good.
I thought Marshfield Clinic had given up trying to turn its CattailsMD ambulatory EHR into a commercial product, but they’re back with a new cloud-based version. I watch part of a demo and it looked OK but nothing special. I don’t know why with all the EHR vendors out there someone would buy from a provider, but Farzad was checking it out, so maybe it’s cooler than I thought. They only ever sold 34 Cattails systems and now those users have to move to the new one.
PeraHealth says it has grown a lot and they list a bunch of big-name academic medical centers as customers for its Rothman Index patient early warning system.
The Anthelio folks say they’ve grown a lot. I liked them.
I got a quick look of PerfectServe’s slick Synchrony secure communication app. They’re planning to expand it to cover nurses.
I sat through part of a demo of Oneview Healthcare, which offers a cool tablet-controlled in-room patient display where patients can order meals within their prescribed dietary restrictions, input questions that employees are prompted to answer, view educational material (which can be prescribed by clinicians), and a lot more that I couldn’t stay to see. It’s worth a look.
It was bad enough that the exhibit hall is divided into two wildly non-linear sets of booths, but today I found that way down on one side is a real no-man’s land housing the cybersecurity, disaster recovery, and HX360 tracks. You go through some depressing loading dock type doors into what looks like a truck garage and there are a bunch of nondescript booths, mostly free of people, energy, and buzz (although the Leidos cybersecurity speaker had a pretty good crowd). I felt bad and strolled through all the aisles trying to raise spirits by just having a visitor poking around, but the reps had mostly already flatlined their interest and were counting down the minutes until quitting time. I figure some of the products back there surely have a chance to be eventually successful, but the HIMSS setup as so awful that it was creepy just hanging around back there, so I bailed. Here’s how remote it was: there were a ton of empty soft couches, tables, and chairs with no takers. Haul that messy barbeque sandwich there at tomorrow’s lunch and you’ll have a place to eat it instead of spilling it on your shirt and shoes.
I saw a display that offered, in large letters, a “Wellenss Kiosk.” I didn’t have the heart to snap a photo to run here.
Speaking of food, we had a great CMIO lunch today in Bistro HIMSS in the Lakeside building near the exhibit hall. The buffet was really good, the lake view was nice, and it was comfortable and reasonably quiet. Anybody can stroll up and buy lunch for $24. Thursday’s menu sounds excellent and we have a handful of leftover tickets, so maybe I’ll buy someone lunch if I’m in the mood. The CMIOs seemed to enjoy getting together today with Lorre.
Cerner takes direct aim at Epic on one of its booth signs.
This prize must have had the nerds salivating.
Clever badge ribbons.
I thought I might learn something about the just-announced IBM Watson Health, but this guy was way over my head with P53 genetic variants.
IBM’s Watson team announces Watson Health, a partnership with Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic as well as the acquisitions of Explorys, a data analytics startup and Cleveland Clinic spinoff focused on spotting patterns in diseases, and Phytel, a software vendor focused on reducing readmissions.
I made it to Chicago despite an extremely turbulent flight, opting to take an earlier route to Midway instead of O’Hare. The taxi queue was epic and made me long for the organization of Las Vegas. I did run into several friends in line, although none we headed to the same hotel. Although I’m usually annoyed when my taxi driver talks on the phone while driving, this one was lecturing his high school daughter on her GPA and the importance of getting into a good college, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
Besides catching up on new products and doing research, the main reason I come to HIMSS is to catch up with colleagues. It’s nice to be able to chat in person and the event brings so many people together. A friend who has missed the last couple of HIMSS conferences met me and we enjoyed the long walk to the convention center for registration. Other than a few sprinkles, the weather was gorgeous. The only thing that could have been better would be if Google Maps had not been providing walking directions that felt like we had been bar-hopping first.
While waiting outside the opening reception, I ran into a CMO friend that I hadn’t seen in several years and we talked about her new work with the VA system. Our employed specialty physicians provide a lot of care to veterans outside the VA clinics, so we talked about some strategies for making sure all the information is shared not only within the VA but with the community physicians who deliver increasing amounts of care for veterans.
The reception opened a bit early and there were plenty of bars and buffets set up. The band was named The Fat Babies and was playing to the backdrop of scenes from The Untouchables on the video screens above and behind them. I haven’t seen it in years and the younger Kevin Costner and Sean Connery reminded me that I’m not getting any younger either. I’ve officially been in healthcare IT for more than a decade. Had you asked me at the start whether I’d be doing it full time, I’d have thought you were crazy.
The reception brought some interesting characters my way. Since I was there early enough to grab a table, I made a good target for solo attendees looking for a place to set their drinks while they ate. People aren’t afraid to just introduce themselves and start talking, and my wing-man got to see me almost choke when one of the random people started talking to us about absolutely ridiculous things. Despite the titles on his badge, he had only a loose grasp of some of the key concepts in health IT, so we educated him on the Direct protocol and how physicians need to incorporate received data into patient charts – not just leave it in some email box. I had to leave my wing-man after the reception, but he promises to share many stories about other characters on our upcoming stroll through the exhibit hall.
After the reception, we headed towards the river with a stop at Rebar at Trump Tower. It has a beautiful view and apparently also was hosting a get together for Healthfinch, so we enjoyed seeing celebrities come and go. After a quick dinner we headed to the Divurgent/Experis reception at Roof on the Wit. I was traveling with a pack of party animals who decided to have a contest to see how many people each knew. The competition was stiff and I was quickly reminded that even though I’ve been around a while, I’m but a young pup when it comes to networking. I did run into Nordic’s Drew Madden who showed off what must be the year’s hot accessory – snazzy socks. He informed me that he brought a special pair of shoes for HIStalkapalooza.
On the way to catching my beauty rest, I happened upon the Aventura team at the Palmer House bar. I didn’t make it to the HIStalk sponsor reception (it’s a little tricky to do that and remain anonymous) but they promised a pair was waiting at their booth. I’m excited and think I’ll sport them at Quipstar rather than the sparkly numbers I brought.
HIStalkapalooza took up a lot of my time yesterday, so I didn’t even have time to post. This will be a dribs-and-drabs version – I’ll have more time the rest of the week to get organized. Let me know if there’s something I should make sure to see since I’m just flailing around for the most part.
From Anonymous Vendor President: “Re: Dana Moore and DonorsChoose donations. We will anonymously match whatever total you raise up to $5k. Let’s make this thing really work! Many of my family and countless within our company have ties and heartstrings attached to the cause.” Centura SVP/CIO Dana Moore will be in our booth Wednesday, meeting with vendors for 20 minutes each in return for their $500 donation to DonorsChoose. I’ve scheduled six sessions with him so far, meaning with with the very generous anonymous matching funds, we’ll be donating $6,000 for individual classroom projects via DonorsChoose. I have a bunch of teacher thank-you emails to get through from the projects already funded. Next up is the fun of funding new projects. Thanks to everyone involved.
From Kaboodle: “Re: MedStar in Maryland. You failed to mention their GE Centricity EHR crash, where all clinics were down and back to paper. But, but mind you, care was not affected!” Unverified. I haven’t heard anything about it.
I haven’t had much time to do the post-mortem on HIStalkapalooza since I didn’t get back until well after midnight. House of Blues was perfect and ran things with great skill, the food and bar service was really good, and the band was as outstanding as I remember them from last year. I was backstage the whole time so I didn’t experience the event as an attendee this time around, which I sort of regret, but I could feel the energy and excitement. Some notes:
Lorre Wisham worked on the event for many months going back to last spring. She arranged everything you saw or did as an attendee, wrangling an enormous list of to-do items (contracts, menus, sponsors, band details, banners and signs, etc.) The many hundreds of hours were in addition to her doing her “real” HIStalk work.
I would have gone seriously broke without the financial help of the event sponsors since we had to sign band and venue contracts almost a year ago, putting me at complete financial risk if sponsors hadn’t participated. Thanks to Elsevier, Santa Rosa Holdings, Divurgent, Sagacious Consultants, Aventura, CommVault, Falcon Consulting Group, Greenway Health, PatientSafe Solutions, Sunquest, Thrasys, and Validic for making it happen. Those who had opera boxes seemed to be enjoying themselves as Lorre checked in with them several times through the evening.
Sagacious did a superb job checking people in (and apparently, according to their report, keeping quite a few people out who showed up but weren’t supposed to be there). HOB says we had close to 1,000 people in the house (of 1,500 invited), meaning their folks got everybody in professionally and cheerfully. Elsevier ran the red carpet and I heard people enjoyed that.
The House of Blues staff was super professional and treated us like the big-name acts they host there.
Rocking doctor Ross Martin kicked it off in style despite a technical snafu that prevented us from enjoying the big finish of his freshly updated Interoperetta. I’ll try to get something on audio or video from Ross so we can hear the full version.
Barry Wightman and Jennifer Lyle were great hosts on stage. It’s harder than it looks to engage a huge room full of partygoers and managing the people and equipment on stage.
Special thanks to Judy Faulkner and Jonathan Bush for presenting each other awards on stage in a funny but classy manner.
I can’t really say anything about Party on the Moon because if you were there, you already know how electrifying they were, and if you weren’t, words alone can’t describe it. Lorre had vendors coming up to her wanting to know how to book them for their own events. The 13 band members came all the way from Atlanta on their tour bus to spend the evening with us. You know a band is killing it when, as one attendee pointed out, you have nerdy IT guys so anxious to participate that they dance with each other. There were some great moments out there in the audience. According to one attendee, “Easily the best party I have ever been to, as good or better than any fraternity party.”
We have photos and video coming from several sources that I haven’t had time to review yet. Stay tuned and we can all relive the evening all over again.
Neil Versel took some good pictures of the Judy and JB show, even though he annoyed me by dismissively referring to HIStalk as the “National Enquirer of health IT.”
A nice HOB exterior shot by Rudy Flores. The stencil over the light that shines the logo — I now know having ordered three of them for this event — is called a “gobo,” just in case you want to increase your vocabulary.
Somewhat Interesting News Announcements
IBM creates Watson Health with the announced acquisition of Explorys (analytics and population health management) and Phytel (population health management). The company also announced health partnerships with Apple, J&J, and Medtronic.
Surescripts creates a National Record Locator Service along with EClinicalWorks, Greenway, and Epic that will allow providers to locate and exchange patient health records using the Carequality trust framework.
InterSystems announces a vendor-neutral, interoperable patient portal.
HIMSS turns the work of its interoperability workgroup into a certification program for EHRs, HIEs, and HISPs, run by ICSA under the name “ConCert by HIMSS.” I don’t think of HIMSS as the group that should be certifying products, but apparently their opinion differs from mine.
KPMG acquires Beacon Partners, as was predicted in an HIStalk rumor report a couple of weeks ago.
Peer60 publishes a free report titled “Will mhealth Drive Patient Engagement?” that questions whether EHRs provide adequate mobile support to meet consumer expectations.
Today in our booth (# 5371)
All day (I think): Regina Holliday will be painting 11:00 Funny lawyer Steve Blumenthal will be handing out swag and dry humor. 2:00 NVoq will hand out Garrett Popcorn (it’s the great Chicago kind that costs a fortune in the airport). 3:00 Your HIStalkapalooza host Barry Wightman will be autographing copies of his book “Pepperland” (which I enjoyed a lot). 4:30 The Walking Gallery will meet.
I forgot that we intended to auction off Regina’s HIStalking original painting from which we made the scholarship winner tee shirts. Make Lorre an offer if you are interested. Maybe she can post the highest current bid on an index card underneath it or something.
My Fitbit shows that I walked 12 miles Monday. It felt like I wasted a lot of time just walking around, but that’s par for the course on the first day of the conference.
The folks at XG Health Solutions (a new HIStalk sponsor that I haven’t announced yet) invited me to a breakfast briefing covering their new apps. It’s a Geisinger spinoff that will sell software based on work done there to present clinicians with a better view of EHR data and collect additional information to make it easier to quickly understand patient problems and concerns and to document additional specialty-specific findings (rheumatology is the first one). Partnerships were announced with Epic, Cerner, and Athenahealth, whose EHRs will exchange information with the XG apps using SMART on FHIR. They have four apps going to beta testing by summer and plan to roll out six over the next 18 months.
From the hallway conversations I heard and my own opinions, here are the positives: Geisinger has developed a lot of expertise and content that’s less ivory tower than most big academic medical centers, they put some thought into involving the patient in the use of their apps, and the SaaS-based subscription means new best practices can be put into place quickly. Negatives: the company has significant venture capital ownership (they aren’t Geisinger, in other words), you might suspect that Geisinger applied soft pressure to the newly named EHR vendor partners to get on board with uncertain future commitments, and so far they’re a company that hasn’t done much to dent the market other than to do Geisinger stuff and make announcements. Success in commercializing hospital software is elusive, and while Version 1.0 is easy, it’s Version 2.0 that gets ugly with upgrades, design decisions, and testing. The first non-Geisinger betas will be important.
Some notes from my circuits around the exhibit hall (actually both of them – it’s a split hall that ensures confusion and uneven booth traffic). My badge is intentionally unimpressive to vendors, so I get the same treatment as everybody else.
Trying to find a given booth even when you know its number is maddening given the gerrymandered aisles. The printed floor layout is laughable – you would need a high-powered microscope to read any part of it except the anchor booth companies (which may be the intention, come to think of it).
Booth reps were screwing around with their phones literally from the moment the exhibits opened. It was depressingly easy to find booths where every single person was staring in rapt attention at their phones while prospects passed by without even being acknowledged. Vendors are really stupid in not coaching and policing their people.
Even the fake patient in the hospital bed was surreptitiously killing time with her phone while waiting for her next scene. Check her out in the photo above – I wasn’t quite sure what was going on under those sheets until I came around to the head of the bed.
I have three mandatory HIMSS kickoff rituals – I have to stroke the sultry curves of the latest Enovate cart; I have to have amazing scones from MedData (the orange chocolate chip were great, but I swung by later for one that had ham, cheese, and what looked like chives); and I have to see the magic guy in Hyland’s booth (above), who is simply amazing not only magically, but in snarky humor and getting people to come closer. I don’t usually like that kind of stuff, but he has been my favorite part of HIMSS for a bunch of years.
Amazon Web Services had a little booth, which was interesting.
A guy from Network Detective for Healthcare pitched their product that analyzes the network looking for HIPAA-related problems. It seemed pretty cool, especially the report showing the results in plain English with cross-references to HIPAA sections.
Scotland-based Nugensis had guys in kilts and bottles of Scotch on the shelf.
I tried to use the HIMSS app, but it locked up, spammed me with some guy’s endless and boring motivational quotes, and then started pushing ads as notifications. Big waste of time. The conference is basically just one giant advertising platform already.
The NextGen booth was very cool with clear walls and a waterfall.
Elsevier demoed their Tonic iPad app that collects information from patients. One of the cool aspects is that it can steer patients to automatically log on to the patient portal without their even realizing that it’s a separate app, which is nice for Meaningful Use. I didn’t see many products Monday, but this one was my favorite. That’s my bad iPhone picture of it above with the beer mug.
The nice folks at zCover gave me a new iPhone case to replace the one they gave me a couple of HIMSS conferences ago. Stop by and they’ll even put it on for you.
The FHIR puns were plentifully irritating. IT geek humor doesn’t usually work.
Kforce was giving out pretty decent pizza way back in a low-density corner of the hall.
Sagacious had their fun HIStalkapalooza posters out.
InterSystems had a huge audience for one of their presenters. Their presence was significant.
I stopped by the Microsoft booth and, as happens every single year, the reps were too busy yapping at each other to even look at all those prospects invading their space. As also happens every year, I stood patiently in front of a display (mobile devices and Surface this time) and the nearest Microserf stormed by scowling while nearly pushing me out of his way. Perhaps that’s why, unlike years past, their booth didn’t have much traffic.
The Georgia display featured the sign I had made for them a few months ago following Atlanta’s HIStalk poll win.
Bathroom capacity and seating space were ridiculously inadequate. I hiked forever down a long hall following the restroom sign, only to be met with the dreaded “pardon our dust” sign that said to find another restroom without actually saying where one might be. Another one had a grand-looking entrance, but inside was just one stall and one urinal. I’m thinking of one of those parking space type apps where I hire people to sit in the very few actual seats where people can relax or eat, then providing an app for attendees to find and buy their seats. It makes me uneasy to watch guys in crisp white shirts slopping down a wildly overpriced commissary barbeque sandwich while standing in front of a trash can.
Tahoe Forest Hospital (CA) names CIO Jake Dorst as interim CEO. He’ll also continue as CIO.
The outcome of dueling lawsuits between Allscripts and Medfusion may hinge on interpretation of the use of an Oxford comma in their agreement, which is pretty fascinating.
A reader wants to know if anyone else thinks that having costumed female entertainers at the HIMSS opening reception crossed the border into sexism territory. I wasn’t there, but if they didn’t have any men, that might at least make me think about it. I noticed fewer obvious booth babes in the hall this year, so maybe the “skin to win” sales approach is finally and deservedly dying off. It would seem especially inappropriate to have a provocatively clad model pretending to be a company rep in trying to get the attention of a female CEO, CIO, or CMIO.
A terribly written and insight-free Forbes article click-baitingly titled “Two Dirty Little Secrets About Electronic Health Records” says EHRs are “a threat to freedom of speech and academic freedom” in claiming that EHR vendors (and Epic specifically) requires customers to sign non-disparagement clauses. The author works up righteous indignation for Bob Wachter, MD, who the author says had to get Epic’s permission to write about a UCSF medication error and to use Epic’s screenshots to illustrate it. The problem is the author just made stuff up rather than asking anyone involved and Bob had to correct him – Epic doesn’t include non-disparagement language in its contracts, although the screenshot part is true and Bob’s not thrilled about that (he emailed me to clarify that the author was wrong on the first point and has since changed the story). The second big secret is that EHRs are designed to help with billing and management. The author magnanimously proclaims that, “I’m not against EHRs,” which would be comforting except nobody’s ever heard of him and his mastery of the subject is clearly minimal.
That’s all for now. I’m headed over to McCormick Place later than I’d like.
I can’t even begin to break down my second day at HIMSS without first mentioning the highlight: the now-epic pie-throwing incident at HIStalkapalooza involving Judy Faulkner and Jonathan Bush. Both were good sports, and both had only gracious things to say to one another as they accepted their respective HISsie Awards. More on the party towards the end of the post.
My second day at HIMSS started off with a quick trek in the rain to the shuttle stop, followed by a pleasant conversation with Intelligent Medical Objects President and CTO Regis Charlot. (Note to HIMSS newbies: Shuttle rides, elevator rides, and lines can be great opportunities to strike up a conversation with your next client. A simple “Good morning. How are you enjoying the show?” typically kicks off great conversation.) Charlot waxed poetic about the challenges providers are facing when it comes to transitioning to ICD-10, though he did reiterate that IMO’s clients (and the general populace) are in good shape. Providers have accepted their fate and seem to be working diligently to prepare for the October 1 switch. His crystal-ball predictions for healthcare involves Intel’s Edison platform, a “[h]igh performance, dual-core CPU and single core micro-controller that supports complex data collection,” and that seems like it will help drive super-computing in the wearables space. Seems like it might have a unique play in telemedicine and the quantified self movement.
My next stop was the morning keynote, which included a rousing performance by a local gospel choir and a not-quite-so rousing introduction from HIMSS Paul Kleeberg. “This sounds like an infomercial,” was one audience member’s description of Kleeberg’s contribution. The real meat of the keynote was given by Alex Gourlay, executive vice president of Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Walgreens . It was engaging, as keynotes go. He emphasized the role of retail clinics and pharmacists in achieving the Triple Aim, outlining the many partnerships Walgreens has entered into (WebMD, PatientsLikeMe, Qualcomm Life, MDLive) in an effort to take e-prescribing, telemedicine, medication compliance, and better outcomes to the next level. Gourlay also announced that the company will be launching a medication reminder app for Apple Watch next month.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to two women from MultiCare Health System (WA), both of whom seemed very excited by what Walgreens is doing in the mobile space. Debbie Embree, director of applications, and Brenda Bowles, RN director of clinical informatics, told me they were going to spend their time at the conference looking for ways to push their patient engagement strategy beyond their Epic MyChart portal and out into the retail space. Personal device integration via mobile apps is likely their next step.
After a mind-numbingly slow exodus from the keynote with 3,000 of my closest friends, I made it to the HIStalk booth. I spent a great five hours in the exhibit hall meeting and greeting loyal readers and attendees who had never heard of us but just couldn’t resist picking up a bag of Garrett’s Popcorn, courtesy of our friends at nVoq. I finally got the chance to spend time with The Walking Gallery Founder Regina Holliday and our HIStalking patient advocate scholarship winners, who, despite a few hiccups with registration, seemed very excited to be at HIMSS. Regina’s live painting was definitely a crowd-pleaser, and I appreciated the opportunity it gave us to talk with attendees about the importance of patient advocacy in the world of healthcare IT.
Several hot topics bubbled up in my booth conversations with providers: The majority of them seemed to be wandering the exhibit halls looking for solutions and strategies around security and privacy, patient engagement, and ICD-10. Not a one had anything positive to say about the education sessions. As Dr. Jayne explained to me, the sessions suffer from the fact that they had to be submitted nearly a year ago, and have likely lost their luster in the preceding 10 months or so.
Other booth drive-bys included a chat with AJ Montpetit from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, looking quite dapper in bowtie and pink mustachioed socks.
I also had a chance to meet Modernizing Medicine CEO Dan Cane and his colleagues. The company, which made headlines a few weeks ago for its partnership with IBM Watson, is busy expanding office space and hiring new staff. You can read my interview with Cane about the Watson partnership here.
I managed to do a quick walk-about, and ran into the #IHeartHIT meetup at the HIMSSpot. It was great to see patients and HIMSS15 social media ambassadors like Linda Stotsky share their healthcare IT stories. There definitely seems to be a stronger patient presence at this year’s conference. I’m really looking forward to reading about the HIMSS15 experiences of our HIStalking team.
It was great to see the Georgia Dept. of Economic Development and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, sponsors of the morning keynote, proudly displaying the sign we awarded them earlier this year for being nominated as “the Nation’s Capital of Health I.T.”
After my jaunt through .05 percent of the exhibit hall, I spent a final hour at our booth then rushed back to my hotel to change into HIStalkapalooza-worthy attire. As I mentioned above, the party was amazing. (Check out the #HIStalkapalooza hashtag on Twitter for great pictures and recap.) Our sponsors did a tremendous job of making sure everyone got in, got fed and watered, and got on the dance floor. Party on the Moon was phenomenal. I must have danced for an hour-and-a-half straight, which does not bode well for my feet during the rest of my time in Chicago!
I even managed to snag a few dances with “Jenn’s Secret Crush” Cynthia Porter, who, despite holding the stuffy title of president of Porter Research, really knows how to have a good time.
Lorre and I were not the only ones decked out. This year’s HIStalk King and Queen were definitely worthy of their titles, and displayed just as much dancing prowess as they did fashion savvy. All in all, my second day at HIMSS was a blast. I appreciated the opportunity to chat with readers at our booth, dance with sponsors at our party, and finally rest my swollen feet at the end of the night.
Former ONC lead Farzad Mostashari, MD spoke out against CMS’s recent decision to strip MU2 of its five percent view/transmit/download requirement, saying “If this proposed rule stands, it would roll back a lot of progress that’s been made incorporating patient engagement into workflows. To meet even a low threshold, providers have had to change their processes to engage patients.”
Freeware EHR vendor Practice Fusion announces a program sponsored by AstraZeneca in which COPD and Asthma patients in Practice Fusion’s system whose care does not meet evidence-based clinical guidelines will be identified and their care providers alerted.
Ah, HIMSS. This year marks my fifth, and like the previous four, I doubt it will disappoint. There’s just no other event that can offer up such a unique mix of nonstop networking, educational sessions catering to every HIT acronym under the sun, exhibit hall #HIMSSanity, sleep deprivation, and over-the-top caffeine consumption. I genuinely enjoy it every year, mainly for the relationships made and fostered. HIMSS 2010 in Atlanta was, in fact, where I first heard about HIStalk and Mr. H’s predilection for walking around with a paper bag over his head to keep his anonymity in tact.
Speaking of Atlanta, my day started well before the sun rose on an overbooked Delta flight full of folks en route to HIMSS. Honeywell, Oneview Healthcare, Patientco, McKesson, and Gozio Health were all represented. I didn’t even attempt to enter the always notoriously long taxi queue at Midway in Chicago, instead opting to reach my hotel via a 20 minute subway ride that cost all of $3. I found myself further impressed with Chicago when the clerk at my hotel allowed me to check in at 10:30 a.m. A 30-minute lie-down after a 4:45 a.m. rise wound up being essential to staving off the aforementioned #HIIMSSanity.
Refreshed, and with a few hours to spare, I spent time wandering around Chicago’s Museum campus and nearby lakefront. The weather was slightly warm and sunny, with just a hint of the city’s famous wind. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time eating my first “Chicago-style” hot dog while people-watching on a park bench. It’s not often that I get to while away an hour and a half doing not much of anything. The lure of the convention center came soon after lunch, and I found myself walking three short blocks to grab the shuttle to McCormick Place. (Is it just me, or does the shuttle drop off in the dark bowels of the trade center remind anyone else of the Lonely Mountain?)
After grabbing my press pass, I ran into Sara Zellner at Health Data Consortium giving away “I Love Health Data” buttons. (I’m a sucker for fun “pieces of flair.”) She reminded me that HDC’s annual Health Datapalooza is coming up at the end of May in Washington, D.C., with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt scheduled to speak.
From there, it was a quick quarter mile (kidding, it was probably only a fifth) to the Venture+ Forum, a day-long event featuring startups pitching in three-minute lightning rounds to a panel of devil’s advocates. I came in at the tail end of the forum, only getting to see full pitches from Heal, Medivizor, Sensentia, and Open Health Networks. Heal’s app for on-demand house calls caught my eye, as did the realization that anyone thinking of speaking in public should avoid saying “um” at the end of every sentence and remember there is a slide deck to scroll through at the beginning of the presentation, rather than halfway through. It seemed like the Forum was at capacity of around 150 or so, which probably means it will warrant a bigger space next year.
A number of other pre-conference symposia took place on Sunday, including the inaugural Revenue Cycle Solutions Summit. Patientco’s Josh Byrd sent me this report:
The Revenue Cycle Solutions Summit provided over 200 attendees with thought-leading presentations from providers who are paving the way for what the revenue cycle of the future will look like. The common thread weaved throughout was a focus on patient-centered care after the episode of care. Highlights included:
Mike Simms, VP of revenue cycle at Cone Health talking about how to choose vendors who align with your key revenue strategy;
Leigh Williams, director of revenue cycle at University of Mississippi, who shared how they engaged physicians in using HIT to achieve financial success;
Andrew Ray, manager of physician revenue cycle operations at Stanford Children’s Hospital, who talked about how to centralize and automate the revenue cycle to increase reimbursement and decrease denials; and
Key members of the HIMSS Revenue Cycle Improvement Task Force, who shared insights on how they are working together to bridge the gaps between payers, vendors, banks, providers, and other key stakeholders to create a better patient financial experience.
Josh told me that the attendee mix was mostly CEOs and CIOs, so it will be interesting to see how many CFOs attend next year’s event. Could HIMSS be looking to give the HFMA ANI conference a run for its money?
After a quick change into Roaring 20s-inspired flapper garb, I put in an appearance at the opening reception, which I found surprisingly well attended given the amount of smaller HIMSS symposia receptions taking place at the same time. The jazz band was great, and definitely got me excited about performances by Ross Martin, MD and Party on the Moon at HIStalkapalooza.
My next and final stop of the evening was the HIStalk Sponsor’s Reception, which was a great opportunity to meet and greet the people behind the companies whose support makes HIStalk happen. I can’t thank them enough. Special thanks to the lovely folks at Aventura who gifted me with these classic kicks, which I may have to put on tomorrow once the HIStalkapalooza red carpet shoe-judging festivities have concluded and the dancing is ready to begin.
Stay tuned for more updates. I’m off to get some shut-eye, still debating whether or not to start my morning off with some YogaEspresso. Down dog and healthcare IT seem like a natural combination, don’t you think?
HHS publishes a revision to the Meaningful Use program that shortens the 2015 reporting period to just 90 days and reduces the requirement that five percent threshold for view/download/transmit to just a single patient.
ONC submits its congressionally-mandated report on EHR vendor information blocking, acknowledging that there is only anecdotal evidence of information blocking practices, but also establishing a list of behaviors it would interpret to be detrimental to national information exchange efforts, including charging for information exchanges and developing systems in non-standard ways. In its conclusion, ONC recommends field-based certification requirements and mandated data exchange features.
HHS proposes to shorten the Meaningful Use attestation period to 90 days for 2015 in an announcement released, as always, late on a Friday (they also seem to like to put out big news right before the HIMSS conference). It also proposes removing requirements that are duplicative or no longer needed. Interestingly, HHS wants to reduce the five percent threshold for view/download/transmit to just a single patient – if even one patient retrieves their information, then the capability has been proven and the requirement is met. That addresses the argument that providers can’t force patients to access their data who are unwilling or technically unprepared to do so.
From Hermanically Sealed: “Re: Evan Nordgren lawsuit against Epic for not paying overtime. Stories reported that the employees were encouraged to donate their settlement money to the health center where Judy Faulkner’s husband works as a physician.“ Unverified. I haven’t seen anything about donation requests. Sounds unlikely to me and easy enough to prove if you’ve received such suggestions.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
I’ll be posting differently this week, with less emphasis on the clutter of questionably interesting announcements and more on the conference. I may post more than once daily and Jenn will post separately, but I’ll probably send just one email blast daily to avoid overloading inboxes.
I VRBO’ed a little apartment in Bridgeport, south of downtown within a few blocks of US Cellular Field (the unfortunately and opportunistically renamed Comiskey Park, which was a replacement for Old Comiskey Park). It costs less than a boxy hotel room, is in a cool neighborhood with interesting restaurants within walking distance, and is a short Uber ride to downtown or McCormick place. It’s much better having a kitchen, plenty of room to spread out, and a bay window looking out at White Sox fans heading down the sidewalk to the game than sitting in an airless room in a sterile building packed to the gills with lost, badge-wearing geeky HIMSS peers clogging up slow elevators and chattering way too loudly from being jacked up on exhibit hall adrenaline.
Saturday was stunningly beautiful in Chicago, with temperatures in the mid-60s with blue skies and sunshine. The trees are still denuded, but the grass has greened up and daffodils are poking up. I did some site checking of the House of Blues (looking great there), walked around the river, took a boat ride, and went to the Bulls game courtesy of a reader who invited me. I even Uber’ed back after the game, got picked up quickly near United Center, and didn’t even get hit with the dreaded surge pricing.
I downloaded the HIMSS15 mobile app and found it to be pretty buggy, requiring a bunch of iPhone restarts and confusing password prompts that didn’t make it clear whether it was the HIMSS website password or a new one (I’m still not sure since I had to do a password reset just to get it going). It has pretty good information, although I’m not sure the educational session list will replace the need for the little spiral-bound book that I always carry, assuming they’re still printing them. I used to study the agenda carefully and plan which educational sessions to attend weeks ahead, but they’ve been disappointing in the past few years (too much vendor involvement, boring presenters, too much reliance on PowerPoint, etc.) and I’m going to fewer and fewer of them.
Response has been brisk to the gracious offer of Dana Moore, CIO of Centura, to meet in the HIStalk booth with anyone willing to donate $500 to DonorsChoose.org in return for 20 minutes of his uninterrupted attention. Six companies have donated and I’ve funded the first wave of classroom projects that their $3,000 is supporting. The donations paid for the full cost of these projects, all of which are for classrooms in high-poverty areas, most of which involve Teach for America teachers, and many of which include matching funds from other charitable organizations:
Two Fire HD devices for a middle school reading program in San Diego, CA
A projector for a kindergarten class in Erie, PA
Professional development books for kindergarten teachers in Charlotte, NC
A Chromebook for an elementary school class in Toppenish, WA
Algebra calculators for a high school class in Auburn, WA
A sand and water table for K-2 children, all with multiple disabilities, in Rosamond, CA
Headphones for K-2 classes in Portland, OR
A drawing tablet for the iPad for grades 3-5 in Lockhart, TX
Three iPad Minis for a sixth grade class in Oklahoma City, OK
I’ve already received appreciative emails from most of the teachers (it seems to be a pattern that good teachers work through the weekend) and I’ll follow up with photos, teacher comments, and student thank you notes once they put the materials to use. I also have quite a few more projects to fund given the generous response. A couple of companies have taken the “top spot” banners at the top of the page in the next week and most of that money will go to DonorsChoose as well.
Poll respondents favor disbanding ONC’s certification program after Stage 3, although a few folks wouldn’t mind seeing ONC keep the program alive but with more input from previously attesting users. New poll to your right or here, for those who aren’t attending the HIMSS conference: will you be working more, less, or about the same this week?
I’m puzzled at companies (HIMSS Analytics, among them most recently) that proudly boast via a grandiose press release of having redesigned their websites. People who already follow the company will see for themselves, while those who don’t aren’t likely to rush to the nearest browser to gaze in wonderment. More self-congratulatory marketing run amok.
Last Week’s Most Interesting News
The Texas Medical Board, protecting the interests of its members, prohibits prescribing medications for patients who have been examined only by telemedicine.
Health IT issues once again make ECRI Institute’s list of top patient safety concerns.
Allscripts agrees to pay $10 million to settle a shareholder class action lawsuit claiming the company’s executives misled investors with overly positive comments following its 2010 acquisition of Eclipsys.
FTC warns ONC about unintentionally limiting consumer choices in setting or approving interoperability standards.
April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.
SSI Group will announce Monday that it has acquired patient access management software vendor Provider Advantage. Readers who reported the rumor earlier almost got it right – the only part they missed is that SSI Group was the acquirer rather than the acquiree (and SSI’s response to my inquiry was truthful – they weren’t going to be acquired). I call that a win all around.
Parallon promotes Curtis Watkins to CEO of its technology business unit.
Truven Health Analytics hires former CMS Healthcare.gov official Kirk Grothe as VP of its federal government business.
Announcements and Implementations
MedEvolve, Salar, and Net Health choose VitalWare’s ICD Sherpa as their ICD-10 partner.
ARC Devices and Orchestrate Healthcare launch ARC VitalConnect, which transmits readings from ARC’s non-touch digital thermometer to EHRs.
Senior care software vendor PointClickCare joins the Surescripts network.
Government and Politics
ONC delivers its congressionally mandated report on information blocking, defining the term as when “persons or entities knowingly and unreasonably interfere with the exchange or use of electronic health information.” I’m not quite sure how a company could “reasonably” interfere with information exchange, although ONC later mentions possible patient safety concerns that I would take to mean mental health information. ONC admits that it doesn’t really know how extensive information blocking is since stories are anecdotal or how that practice could be assessed other than by in-the-field product reviews. ONC is clear on practices it considers detrimental to information exchange, including contractual restrictions, charging for information exchange, developing or implementing systems in non-standard ways that increase interoperability difficulty or cost, and practices that lock users in with regard to a particular technology (from vendor’s standpoint, good business practices, in other words). ONC’s recommended actions: start in-the-field testing as part of certification, tighten technical standards, increase product and vendor transparency (although ONC admits it can’t do much in that regard), mandate sharing, clarify to providers what information sharing is allowed under HIPAA, and refer obvious cases for review under anti-kickback statutes or even to law enforcement agencies where appropriate.
The problem with provider information blocking is that only patients could report it and they’re not likely to call up ONC to complain. Vendor practices, whether contractual or technical, are easier, so it seems to me the most effective way to move the market is to call them out publicly (800.ONC.BLOK, anyone?) It would also be nice for ONC to provide suggested contract boilerplate language for providers, especially medical practices that seem inclined to sign everything shoved in front of them by a exuberant salesperson without even reading it, much less altering it favorably. That’s assuming that providers even care about sharing information, which is the biggest unknown of all. I’d like my local paint store to electronically exchange information on textures and shades with their competitors so I have more freedom of choice, but I doubt they share my enthusiasm.
Medicity CEO Nancy Ham pens a blog for HFMA entitled, “Do You Know Where Your Patients Are?”
MedData launches major upgrades to its client reporting portal and iPhone app.
Navicure releases an upgrade to its billing and payments platform.
NVoq offers “The Link Between the Simple Checklist and Improved Patient Safety.”
Experian Health/Passport launches a video contest to show how its solutions have helped improve client organization’s patient access processes.
PatientPay produces a video detailing its new solution that enables practices to get real-time pricing for patients who call to request estimated visit costs.
A PDS blog, “When I Was Your Age: The Challenge of Generational Patient Engagement,” is featured in the HIMSS15 blog carnival.
PMD offers “Apple’s Most Important iOS Security Update.”
Talksoft’s Hamilton, NJ office is featured in the local paper in a piece about recycled office spaces.
TeleTracking asks, “Are U.S. Hospital Operations in Need of an Operation?”
An HIT Moment with … is a quick interview with someone we find interesting. Eyal Ephrat, MD is founder and CEO of MedCPU of New York, NY.
What are the shortcomings of clinical decision-support modules of EHRs?
Decision support technology was designed with the best intentions, but accuracy remains a huge problem. Prompting the clinical staff with inaccurate or redundant prompts rapidly leads to frustration, alert fatigue, and loss of reliance on this feature. In most instances I’ve seen, decision-support prompts are ignored or turned off by a busy clinical staff, often because inaccuracy makes them unreliable and therefore unusable.
Roughly 70 percent of the patient’s clinical information exists today in free-form format such as dictations, follow-up notes and discharge summaries. As physicians, we just cannot communicate the clinical picture and plan of care through simple point-and-click pull-down menus and structured fields, so we opt for free-form notes. However, the computer cannot read free text, so the decision-support modules don’t see the 70 percent or 80 percent of critical information that exists exclusively in the free-form formats.
The clinical reasoning and thought process cannot be captured through simplistic “If-Then” rules. If the patient’s hemoglobin is 8gm/dL, it’s wrong to fire a simple prompt that alerts the physician to do something with it. There could be many reasons for such a low hemoglobin, ranging form chronic hereditary conditions that warrant no action to acute conditions that require emergency response.
How do you get the necessary data, including free-text information, to perform decision support?
The industry’s current technologies used for data sharing between systems – HL7 via interface engines and Web services – are not enough. They don’t provide all the data required, in real-time, for the accurate performance of the decision support modules. To resolve this critical barrier in information availability, MedCPU developed a unique Reader technology to collect all the data entered into the organization’s EMR via an API with the operating system (Citrix server, etc.) on which the EMR runs, without touching the EMR itself, without consuming computational resources, and without requiring integration to the EMR or the hospital’s IT infrastructure.
This allows us to see, for the first time in healthcare I believe, all the data entered in real-time. Combined with a limited use of HL7 feeds for getting information entered in the ancillary systems, such as dictations, radiology, and discharge summaries, MedCPU is achieving a complete picture about the patient, in real-time, from history until the present encounter.
What results have users seen?
I’ll give you a couple of examples. One hospital that was an early adopter of our VTE prophylaxis module has seen a significant improvement in compliance with the CMS’s VTE prophylaxis guidelines (above 90 percent from about 50 percent prior to the deployment of MedCPU) over a period of a couple of months. Another health system using our radiology module has seen a significant decrease in the amount of inappropriate imaging performed based on the ACR appropriateness criteria while generating higher revenues because of better appropriate documentation.
But we’re most proud of the daily events we see where the system actually prevents clinical errors. Seeing in the logs how the physician or nurse made a certain decision, got a prompt that the decision may be wrong, and as a result cancelled this decision and reverted back to the appropriate care path makes our huge efforts worthwhile.
What effort, expense, and expertise is required to deploy MedCPU?
The effort, expense, and expertise required is extremely low compared with the typical IT deployments we all know and have traditionally experienced. Using our Reader API, we request very little IT involvement on the part of the hospital, approximately 50 hours. The overall one-time deployment of the MedCPU platform in the organization takes about three to four months, during which time we also work with the organization’s clinical leaders in reviewing the best practice protocols contained in our decision support modules. The ability to deliver low-resourced deployment is critical when dealing with the often-overloaded IT departments.
What is the direction of the product and company going forward?
We want to become the high-precision decision support layer each organization critically needs on top of their existing EMR/IT infrastructure. We’re also really excited about our new initiative with the Health Management Academy. We’re launching a multi-health-system initiative that will foster collaboration in finding and testing advanced solutions in order to bring major improvements to their point-of-care clinical, operational, and financial performance.
For those readers attending HIMSS who might want to check out my shoes, you can catch me at the Medicomp Booth (# 2318) on Monday afternoon. This year’s celebrity contestants include Jacob Reider, Lyle Berkowitz, and Ross Martin. Medicomp will again be making donations to our favorite charities and I’m honored to have been invited back. They offered bodyguards to protect my anonymity as well as a swanky backstage green room, which should make for a fun afternoon.
After I get my game show on, I’ll be heading over to the Meditech booth for the official launch of their Web Ambulatory product. Quite a few legacy vendors seem to be trying to embrace the cloud, so I’m eager to see their take on it. Plus they’ve promised champagne, although I wonder if they’ll be sneaking in the good stuff given the typical trade show restrictions on food and beverage service. I spent a fair amount of time sorting through press releases and booth invites today (nearly all of them via email) and can report that misspellings of HIMMS are leading HIPPA 3 to 2. I’m definitely not putting those organizations on the priority list.
I received the final instructions for the HIMSS Wellness Challenge. It will be measured in steps taken on Monday and Wednesday and in distance walked for Tuesday. Entrants must be present at the Connected Patient Learning Gallery to win – times are 5:30 for Monday and Tuesday and 3:30 for Wednesday. Those times border on my social schedule, so I think I’ll have to take a pass. If you decide to hang in there, the prizes are $300 gift cards.
Our leadership is hoping that CMS uses HIMSS as the prime time to release the rule making official a 90-day reporting period for 2015 Meaningful Use. Regardless of when it happens, I suspect that quite a few organizations will be planning to attest as late as possible so that they maximize their timeframe for upgrades and workflow changes they might need to be successful. We’re historically conservative and planned for full-year reporting, so our monthly status reports continue to be amusing reads as providers have decided they don’t need to be compliant just yet.
I had a brief trip in the Wayback Machine this week when our newly-acquired community hospital started including me on its email distribution list. Apparently they can’t convince their physicians to actually use electronic charting, so they’re going to pilot scanning hand-written progress notes starting next week. They reminded physicians to “change the dial on the charts to yellow which will alert the staff to scan the note.” It’s been so long since I actually used a paper chart, I had forgotten about the colored dials and sliders we used to let unit secretaries know we had written orders.
On Monday, CMS opened the Dispute Period for Open Payments. Drug and medical device makers are required to report payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals and physicians have the opportunity to review the data for accuracy. The review period is open for 45 days. Although I have all the logins, I discovered reviewing the data isn’t as easy as it sounds. Physicians have to register for both the CMS Enterprise Portal and the Open Payments system. Enterprise Portal accounts are locked if there is no activity for 60 days and deactivate at 180 days. Based on other demands for our time, I doubt that too many physicians will be personally reviewing their data. Maybe CMS could try sending us our data using DIRECT addresses.
Earlier this week, Mr. H mentioned the ECRI Institute list of top patient safety concerns. Of course health IT-related issues are hot topics, but I was surprised to see managing patient violence as number three. Our hospital was on lockdown multiple times last fall and it’s always unsettling, but the high-profile events aren’t the ones I’m most worried about. I’ve been threatened several times by patient family members. I suspect some of our outlying physicians may have firearms at their offices despite our official ban.
What are you doing to keep your staff and patients safe? Email me.
The FTC sends a 14-page letter to national coordinator for health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD commenting on its interoperability roadmap, agreeing that its full implementation has the potential to benefit patients and providers, but also warns that both health systems and vendors may resist.
Cerner unveils an app for the yet-to-be-released Apple Watch. The app is designed for patients and will capture biometric and activity data and integrate it into their patient portal and EHR. It will also send health-related reminders and support disease management.
The Federal Trade Commission likes ONC’s interoperability roadmap for the most part, but observes that interoperability will continue to be hampered by the competitive interests of providers and vendors. It also gently warns ONC that its strategy of using policy and funding levers to create interoperability demand might encourage less innovation than if the government instead created market forces as a payer (i.e., Medicare). FTC says that its experience shows that vendor participation in creating standards and certifying products causes anti-competitive behavior, such as withholding certification from a competitor, excluding new products from meeting prior standards, rigging the standards-setting organization with vendor-friendly members, and not paying enough attention to patient rights. FTC is also worried that vendor-recommended standards will lock consumers onto a platform that may have been created with the intention of stifling competition. Lastly, FTC is concerned that any standards ONC chooses will be treated as law, so if they really want to get into the standards-setting business, they had better choose carefully.
From Pulpit Bully: “Re: Georgia Medicaid Fair. Here’s a free training event for those who want to get some insight into why our industry is hopelessly complex. I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but this is an ENTIRE DAY of sessions about how insurance companies and the government make it difficult for people to manage their health.” It doesn’t sound like a target-rich environment for booth swag.
From Nasty Parts: “Re: CPSI. Heard there is an ‘all hands on deck’ meeting on Monday and they have rented a large facility. Wonder why would they do this during the HIMSS conference?” Unverified. At least some of their hands won’t be on deck in Mobile unless they vacate their HIMSS exhibit. It’s probably their user group meeting in Sandestin, which is also next week.
From Beaker: “Re: self-ordered lab tests. This should end well.” A just-signed Arizona law that will take effect in July will allow people to order their own lab tests without a doctor’s involvement. It was pushed by Silicon Valley lab high-flyer Theranos. I like the patient-centered aspect, although certainly Theranos has executed a smart business coup in removing physicians as its sales bottleneck. The obvious unknown is how consumers will react to receiving abnormal results – treat themselves inappropriately, pester their doctors, or demand that their insurance pay for tests of questionable medical usefulness. Doctors serve both as clinical and utilization gatekeepers and it’s a brave new world when those roles are removed and consumers are turned loose with minimal knowledge.
From Epic Doesnt Market: “Re: Epic marketing. Not sure if you’d consider the $2 million that Epic pays KLAS as marketing, but I do.” I would. Every company does marketing. Epic is different only in that it’s a bit lower key about it and it doesn’t place actual ads most of the time. Marketing isn’t the same as advertising, as everybody who has taken an MBA marketing class knows, and while Epic does little or none of the latter, it does quite a bit of the former under the label of “events.” It milks its KLAS results hard, as anyone who has seen the giant displays plastered on its HIMSS booth knows, and those billboards didn’t just jump up on the wall without help.
From Epic Does Too Market: “Re: Epic marketing. If they don’t market, someone forgot to tell their employees, or maybe they don’t control the ones who have left. At least eight former Epic employees identify themselves as marketing people on LinkedIn and one career marketer (who has since moved to another vendor) says she reported directly to Epic’s CEO. They’ve had several spokespeople quoted. I see the work Epic produces on their website, fact sheets, slide presentations, dance numbers, etc. Whether they call it marketing or not, they must have full-time people engaged in producing it all.”
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Recondo Technology. The Denver-based revenue cycle technology company’s patented, no-touch ReconBots find and assemble critical payer information to speed up eligibility, authorization, and claim status transactions. Its business office products cover claim data integrity, claim adjudication status, and payer follow-up, while the company’s patient access solutions include eligibility, registration quality assurance, point-of-service patient financial responsibility statements, prior authorization, and a real-time dashboard for reporting KPIs. Recondo’s rules, legacy integration, and data mining are used by 900 hospitals and 500 payers to ensure proper payments and financial clarity. You probably know industry long-timers CEO Jay Deady and Chief Growth Officer Ralph Keiser. The just-released Gartner report “Cool Vendors in Healthcare Providers 2015” notes Recondo as providing health systems with innovative technologies to help solve their evolving problems. Thanks to Recondo for supporting HIStalk.
Also supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor is Practice Unite, which offers a customizable, HIPAA-compliant mobile platform for delivering real-time care (secure communications, clinical data display, and customized workflow). Clinician-friendly communication and collaboration tools include consults, secure text, lab results, patients, on-call and hospital directory, news, events, and several others. Customers have reported six-times-faster inpatient-related communication, a 20 percent ED wait time reduction, easier MU Stage 2 compliance, and reduced network leakage. Check out the case studies. Thanks to Practice Unite for supporting HIStalk.
Every year I tell vendors how stupid they are in listening to clueless marketing people who advise them to hold their big announcements until HIMSS conference week, which ensures they’ll sink without a trace in all of the confusion and real news happening there. Finally they’re seeing the light and making significant announcements this week instead. Reporters are too busy partying excessively or wasting time doing cookie cutter executive interviews to pay attention to self-serving HIMSS week announcements.
This week on HIStalk Practice: PointNurse partners with Swarm Fund to offer clinicians new telehealth business model. New York’s physician profile website stays alive. Montana Primary Care Association taps eCW for HEDIS help. AMA makes no bones about who it won’t support in the presidential election. Maryland creates a new accelerator for healthcare IT startups. Aledade CEO Farzad Mostashari, MD hints at the EHR features he’ll be looking for at HIMSS15. Thanks for reading.
This week on HIStalk Connect: ONC launches a resource center for states interested in incorporating digital health tools into care delivery. Rock Health releases its quarterly funding report on the digital health industry, noting a slight decline in funding this quarter compared to Q1 2014, but still generating $600 million in new investments. An MIT student is building the Stack Overflow for mental health in his new startup Koko. Weight Watchers acquires fitness social media platform Weilos for an undisclosed sum.
Dana Moore, SVP/CIO of Denver-based Centura Health, has generously offered to collaborate with me on a purely charitable HIMSS conference project. He’ll be in our booth (#5371) Wednesday morning 10 until noon. Vendors (or anyone else, for that matter) can have 20 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time with Dana in return for a $500 donation (I chose that value) to DonorsChoose.org since Dana and I both like funding education projects. Then, he and/or I will recap his impressions about your pitch right here on HIStalk to a pretty big audience. Contact me if your company is interested and we’ll book a time. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than trying to get his attention and then flying to Denver to meet there, you’ll be benefitting a classroom, you’ll get prime HIStalk real estate, and Dana just might be interested enough in your pitch to want to speak further (startups take note).
April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Specialty EHR vendor Modernizing Medicine signs a lease for new office space in Roseville, CA to expand headcount from 24 to up to 70 for the former Aesyntix Health, which it acquired in December.
NextGen parent Quality Systems, Inc. acquires healthcare analytics vendor Gennius.
UnitedHealth Group will pay $12 million in damages after a federal jury finds that its OptumInsight subsidiary infringed on physician efficiency calculation patents held by Cave Consulting Group, which offers several products including the CCGroup EfficiencyCare physician efficiency measurement module.
YourCareUniverse chooses VisionWare for master data management.
EvergreenHealth Partners (WA) selects Wellcentive to coordinate care of 400,000 residents served by the 500 physicians of the clinically integrated network.
Announcements and Implementations
McKesson announces Conserus, a vendor-neutral diagnostic imaging interoperability lineup that includes workflow, work lists, image repository, and data exchange.
Cerner will integrate visual analytics from Tableau Software into its enterprise data warehouse and analytics products.
Validic announces that it integrated with 27 additional digital health devices in Q1 and is beta testing its connectivity with Apple HealthKit. The company has also released a developer platform that provides API access to its marketplace.
MEA-NEA adds HIPAA-compliant email encryption from Virtru to its information exchange, storage, and attachment solutions.
ZeOmega adds a medication management module to its Jiva population health management system.
Awarepoint announces a Bluetooth Low Energy RTLS platform.
Caradigm’s latest release includes new modules for condition management and utilization management.
Aventura will offer biometric authentication for electronic prescribing of controlled substances.
Lifepoint Informatics offers free trial of an API toolbox for medical necessity validation and ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalk.
The non-profit, hospital-focused Center for Medical Interoperability, funded by a $10 million grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation, names its initial board of directors.
Government and Politics
The Texas Medical Board is considering barring doctors from generating prescriptions for patients they haven’t met in a face-to-face visit, although the wording seems vague on whether “face-to-face” excludes video consultations. Dallas-based telemedicine provided Teladoc says the state is moving backward in prohibiting use of a technology that can help solve access and cost problems, but others think it’s the state’s job to avoid creating a double standard that devalues the traditional office visit and relies on new technology.
Privacy and Security
A painfully long and overwrought Wired article with the obligatory “click me please” headline (“Drug Pump’s Security Flaw Lets Hackers Raise Dose Limits”) prattles at length about the purely theoretical possibility that hackers could alter the drug libraries of smart IV pumps, meaning they couldn’t do much of anything other than altering the minimum and maximum allowed doses (not a given patient’s actual dose). Sometimes security analysts find real, previously undocumented security holes of major importance, but sometimes their announcements are more boastful than useful.
Innovation and Research
NPR covers the use of telemedicine by Houston firefighters, who instead of driving people with non-emergent needs to the ED, can instead connect them with a doctor using iPad video. They can assess the patient and connect with a doctor in real time to decide whether an ED visit is warranted, and if not, schedule them for a regular doctor’s appointment (including a free cab ride). The project addresses the fact that 40 percent of Houston ED visits are for non-emergent primary care issues.
Surescripts and Accenture join HL7’s Argonaut Project.
Box integrates with Carebox to support EHR integration and patient portals.
Doximity announces a secure clinician communication app for the Apple Watch that sends the user to their iPhone for more detailed information (since Watch does nothing without being connected to an iPhone). In a bizarre “only in healthcare” intermingling of old and new technologies, it will alert doctors when they receive a fax.
Cerner will release an Apple Watch version of its HealtheLife that will offer consumers push notification health reminders and data tracking while collecting biometric data to send to Millennium.
In an HIStalk Practice interview, former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD (now CEO of Aledade) says he’s surprised that the certified EHRs he now has to deal with personally “can’t perform in a real clinical setting” and he’s happy that ONC is considering field testing and a mechanism to deal with EHR customer complaints. He says he’ll be cruising the HIMSS exhibit hall to look for systems for his participating practices that create “practice happiness,” meet MU requirements in a workflow-friendly manner, and are sold by vendors who are willing to work with third-party health applications. He adds that EHR vendor interfacing charges are “outrageous” and that every public and private HIE should offer ADT notifications. On fuzzy, buzzwordy topics like patient engagement, population health management and precision medicine, Mostashari says vendors should have embraced Meaningful Use enthusiastically as a roadmap that would have gotten them there, but instead took a compliance-only approach that frustrated their users.
Here’s a smart idea from HCS since HIMSS badges don’t make it clear what kind of organization an attendee works for: they’re offering badge ribbons that denote long-term care, behavioral health, and long-term care acute hospitals so that attendees with similar interests can find each other. Not to take away from HCS’s efforts, I had a similarly great idea for identifying attendees by their personal characteristics, but I’m hampered by limited attendee demand for badge ribbons that indicate “Self-Important Douchebag,” “Incompetent Despite Appearances,” “Obliviously Intellectually Challenged,” and “No, This Isn’t the First Sales Job I’ve Lied In.” Perhaps I should instead have them manufactured in the “Kick Me” back-attached variant that could be applied by observers who are more situationally objective than the wearer.
A New York Times article examines the trend of insurance companies trying to boost lagging life insurance sales by offering premium discounts to customers willing to share electronic data that includes real-time tracking of gym utilization and overall physical activity via a monitored Fitbit. A privacy expert questions how all of that consumer data will be used, while a law professor ponders whether the program is just a way for life insurance companies to weed out less-healthy customers: “The people who have the time to devote to jumping through all the hoops are likely to be better off than average, and those healthy enough to do wellness activities may be unrepresentative of the chronically ill. I believe that is one reason why there is empirical research severely questioning the value of wellness programs.”
A jury awards $1.38 million to a former billing supervisor of Harrison Medical Center (WA) who was fired after filing a whistleblower lawsuit in which she questioned why she was told to run a monthly Medicare billing program daily instead.
VitalWare earns Service Organization Controls Reports (SOC) 2 Type 1 certification of its revenue cycle private cloud. It also announces that Epic consulting firm E-Volve Health will offer VitalWare’s revenue cycle solutions.
Medhost posts a video describing how its physician advisory board impacts product development.
Logicworks achieves Amazon Web Services partner network healthcare competency.
Extension Healthcare offers “Knowing is Half the Battle – Measuring clinical interruptions with advanced alarm management middleware.”
Impact Advisors posts “mHealth — The Newest Front Door to Your Organization.”
Galen Healthcare asks, “How does Mirth Connect stack up as an HIT Interface Engine?”
LifeImage writes “Medical Image Sharing for Trauma Care.”
Hayes Management Consulting offers “Making the Case for Physicians as Part of the EHR Project Team.”
The HCI Group offers “Technology Partnerships and Data Mergers: Challenges for Small and Medium-sized Hospitals.”
HDS CEO Bill Horne takes a pie in the face to raise money for the American Heart Association.
Healthwise earns certified status for data security and protection of health information.
Holon Solutions offers “Health IT Interoperability Must Be Built From The Bottom Up.”
Liaison Technologies offers “The Right Way to Address Today’s Data Challenges.”
A HIMSS Analytics survey of 119 healthcare executives finds that patient portals are not delivering on the patient engagement needs of customers. Still, a majority of respondents report that the driver for implementing a patient portals was to meet MU requirements, and not necessarily to improve patient services or quality of care. The full study will be published at the HIMSS conference next week.
My HIMSS Was Great — Hope Yours Will Be, Too! By Brian Weiss
So Much to Say… So Few Listening
Back in ancient times when not everything had to support this quarter’s numbers or the next funding round, I took a few college courses that were not directly related to my plans to become a software engineer. I don’t remember exactly which Something Interesting And Not Practical Career-Wise 101 course it was in which we pontificated about whether a tree falling in a forest that nobody hears makes a sound.
I wish I remembered the answer, as I think it may have some implications for vendor press releases on the first day of HIMSS. It may also be relevant for writers of HIStalk columns. But I was probably busy optimizing some assembly code interpreter written in Pascal (which engineering readers will recognize as potentially good material for the aforementioned college course).
Seems that almost every day for the past few weeks someone has been serving up another high fastball over my columnist strike zone. CommonWell and Epic trade barbs, MU3 guidelines are published, everything is “on FHIR,” patient-centric data exchange is all the rage, and the US Congress allocates more time to healthcare data interoperability than most hospital system executives. If you’ve followed some of my previous articles on CommonWell, FHIR, and consumer-centric healthcare IT, you can imagine I have a few things to say about some of this stuff.
But I haven’t yet submitted any of these articles in the making. I’m pretty sure I was the most prolific HIStalk column contributor who published nothing in the month of March. Thankfully, no trees have to fall in any forests each time HIStalk news updates land in my Inbox and I feel compelled to open up MS-Word and crank out my passionate thoughts about “whatever,” only to decide somewhere on Page Two that I don’t have anything dramatically new and insightful to add to what I’ve already said.
Besides, who is going to read this stuff I’m drafting with everyone busy preparing for HIMSS?
So instead, I’ll share with you a few of my thoughts about HIMSS itself. Given that I have only attended HIMSS once in the past (in a rather peripheral role) and this is my first HIMSS as a startup CEO, why would you want to read my HIMSS tips, insights, or analysis?
You wouldn’t! That’s why I’ll leave all that to Mr. H and the HIStalk team and all the others who already helped make sure that searching for “HIMSS tips analysis” returns close to half a million hits on Google. That should keep you busy enough on the way to Chicago, even if you are on the shuttle from Uranus and you need to find parking near the convention center.
Here are some of my somewhat contrarian views on HIMSS, though I reserve the right to change my mind about all of them at the end of next week (or whenever I’m certifiably fully awake).
It’s Floor Wax AND Dessert Topping
If you understood this section’s header, then I suppose you also didn’t have enough on your social calendar on Saturday nights in the 70s. If you didn’t understand, try Google (or don’t worry about it). Point is that HIMSS is undoubtedly many different things for different attendees and audiences. While I speak for nobody (perhaps other than myself — we are still debating that internally) I’m hopeful some of this will reflect other startup participants at HIMSS (and perhaps even some more established exhibitors) and thus, in the intended spirit of this column, provide a view into life “on the other side of the aisle” for those of you on the side with the very sore feet.
I have no idea how HIMSS attendees manage to have a productive visit to the massive HIMSS hall. Those of you who actually make it to the peripheral locations (which the HIMSS rules generally assign to new participants); the small, low-budget booths (that rich startups can afford); or the individual pods allocated to partners in various “sponsored pavilions” (where startups are most likely to be) have my sincere admiration. Not enough to get me to put down my cellphone and notice you, but certainly enough to feel a little ashamed when Mr. H takes me to task on that.
I don’t fully get what you think you are going to learn with all this legwork that you can’t more easily pick up with a tablet, a web browser, and your feet up on the couch. I get the part about collecting freebies, but I’m not bringing any, so it’s probably just as well that I’m polishing my BrickBreaker skills (I will trade in my rusting BlackBerry as soon as I get past level three). But, I’m glad you’re there racking up the steps on your fitness bracelet, because without you, there would be no HIMSS.
My HIMSS Was Great!
HIMSS for me was great. Yes, “was” — past tense. Next week might be good as well, I don’t know. But that’s icing (or floor wax) on the cake, from my perspective.
For me right now, HIMSS is first and foremost a “compelling event” that makes many other things happen in the weeks leading up to it. The value of those things is rather independent of — and I expect will prove to be of far greater value than — anything that happens at the event itself.
First and possibly foremost, HIMSS is the excuse vendor companies like mine need to force a refresh of our slide decks, web site, positioning statements, brochures, demo kits, etc. It even forces our R&D departments to do one of the most unnatural acts in software engineering – release a product version.
Next, and particularly important for a small startup like mine, HIMSS creates a compelling event for our work with partners. My company, Carebox, is going to be part of demonstrations in four locations at HIMSS. Yes, I’m dying to tell you where so I can feel like I’ve gotten free marketing benefits in exchange for writing this column when there are a million other things I’m supposed to be doing right now “before HIMSS.” But even if I caveat that with some clever, self-deprecating line like, “Here comes the shameless plug,” I actually would feel shame (and Mr H might edit it out). So, think of it as a scavenger hunt with no prizes. What could be more fun than that?
Now, where was I? Oh, right, looking for the Carebox presence buried in various booths at HIMSS. The point is that even though I don’t really expect any direct benefit from people noticing our presence in all those locations, I’m thrilled about each of them. Because we now have sales demonstrations and scripts, sandbox environments, and more importantly, working product integrations and/or go-to-market plans with all of those rather important partners.
With the exception of our primary host and partner at HIMSS, Box (Booth # 8714 – I couldn’t resist the shameless plug after all — oh, the humiliation), were it not for HIMSS, I believe we would still not even have started practical product and go-to-market work with the others.
The scheduled press releases for next week mentioning my company that Mr. H will ignore — and might have covered and called out this week, or most any other week, and I thus doubt you will even hear falling in the proverbial forest — matter to me as well. They’ll provide important quotes and links for my web site and presentations for months to come. And they create momentum with the partners that published them and within their internal sales organizations.
The obligatory “Will I see you at HIMSS?” e-mails, dinner invitations, etc. have all given me much-needed excuses to reconnect with dropped leads that are generating significant business opportunities as we speak.
There are many more examples, but I think you get the idea, and I’m well into Page Two of this article which is usually when I start boring myself (yes, and you).
While You’re at HIMSS, I’ll Be Very Busy …
I’ve never (yet?) attended the JP Morgan conference and thus enjoyed Michael Barbouche’s writeup a few months ago. My HIMSS schedule is shaping up a bit like what he described – a series of hourly slots in various locations, some at the event itself, others in nearby hotel rooms, some in local restaurants, and one or two in offices around town.
I still have a little time slotted to actually be “in the booth” as opposed to “in the closed holding cell in the middle of the booth constructed so that we can do conference meetings as if we were in the office and just trying to optimize travel logistics, but have to put up with all the noise around us and the other lousy environmental conditions for a meeting.”
But that’s only because I’m not really important (yet?), in which case you would only see me “in the booth” in the context of a journey to get liquids into or out of my body, or as per regulations for “minimum required time in the yard outside of the cell.”
Most of those meetings are definitely important to me and I suppose those constitute “part of HIMSS” and thus invalidate my claim that HIMSS is “past tense” for me, but I think logical consistency was part of that same course I wasn’t paying attention to back in college, so no worries there.
… With You?
If you think you might be a potential customer, partner, investor, or romantic interest (just kidding!) of Carebox, you can still claim my few remaining available minutes next week by reaching out and scheduling any open slots I still have. I’m told that by pre-allocating my time to pre-qualified interactions I can pre-impact the expected value from my HIMSS experience (and perhaps also finally understand why people actually board the plane during pre-boarding).
And then I suppose my HIMSS experience could be completely orthogonal to that of the thousands of people walking around the hall.
Except that won’t actually work for me. I don’t really know the statistical likelihood that a chance encounter in a booth at HIMSS will result in something that changes the trajectory of my company. Maybe that was also covered in one of those college courses I seem to have missed. But apparently the people who did really well in that course don’t buy lottery tickets and don’t start new healthcare IT companies.
So I’ll hopefully be the guy who remembered to turn off his cell phone and otherwise managed to follow a few of the thousands of “10 best tips” for HIMSS and maybe we’ll strike up an interesting conversation. And maybe next year before HIMSS I’ll write a very different (and better) article.
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