From Larry Tate: “Re: the reception. Tim, Inga, Shawna, and the whole Healthia team: Thank you so much for a lovely evening! It was nice to rub elbows with the movers and the shakers. The food and drink choices were outstanding; the conversation was scintillating!” Thanks for coming. It was really cool seeing everybody enjoying each other’s company. I never know who reads, but looking around the room, I sure felt good about it (unless it was just a free drinks crowd, which is still OK).
From Quad Studer: “Re: marketing. Seal Shield in the 4000 aisle had submersible mice and keyboards, around $30. Simple idea given nosocomial infections and MRSA. They had an actual dishwasher in their booth which I thought was a pretty neat gimmick, but just saw something else even better. In the men’s room urinals they have placed blue plastic strainers (or whatever you call those things) that say ‘Your keyboard has 400 times more bacteria than this urinal – Seal Shield.’ Now THAT’s marketing. This came from someone I know, by the way, and not a shill. Ingenious and clever. We like. I think I saw that guy with a keyboard slung over his shoulder like a bandolero’s ammo belt.
From Andy: “Re: Cerner. Wondering if anyone has additional information on the rumor that Cerner is not going to attend the HIMSS conference next year? Looking at the booth strategy for next year, they are not included. That is going to leave a lot of C level executives looking around and wondering why thier vendor is not is attendance. Surely, it cannot simply be money?” I’ll probably get confirmation one way or another, but I doubt seriously it’s about money if they’re really not coming. Someone told me several vendors are considering opting out, and Cerner probably has the best reason in that they run an outstanding conference on their own, now right in KC. I’ll let you know what I hear, but I would like to encourage folks not to assume the worst if a vendor opts out of HIMSS since it may just not be a wise investment of their dollars, so they shouldn’t feel guilty for passing. Nobody signs contracts at HIMSS, nobody hears of a big vendor for the first time there, and not that many decision-makers leave with their minds made up. I’ve always said that exhibiting is more for the current customers than bagging new ones.
From XLT: “Re: offshoring. I was at Epic recently for training and sat next to a woman employed by Accenture who was from India. She was in-country for six months attending classes along with numerous other Indian Accenture employees. It seems that Accenture is creating an offshore capability for clinical system build.”
From Neal’s Pizza Guy: “Re: Cerner. Neal was in London last week and gave another bizarre town hall speech which none of the Cernerites could understand. At one point someone observed he’s started five different sentences and finished none of them.” I know he’s hard to listen to, but at least he’s the guy who started and runs the company. Polished hired guns with a holster full of Ivy League degrees and no soul would be much worse.
Some interesting comments were posted about the University Hospital downtime article in the newspaper. Someone who sounds like they know what happened said it was a connectivity issue outside the hospital’s control.
What a reception! If you came, thank you. If not, sorry you missed it because it was a blast. The room was packed and overflowing into the hall and the adjoining area. Two high-ranking folks who know me took me aside and said, “Do you know that this is the must-see event of the conference?” Another pointed out the line of big-name investment bankers rolling in. The food was outstanding (I’ve been living on Subway the last couple of days, so it was especially great to me, especially the crab cakes and carved turkey) and the beer was cold. But what was just completely gratifying to me was seeing all the conversation, the cards being exchanged, and the relaxation after a long day at HIMSS. My favorite moment: I had written a little recognition to the military members who had RSVPed, but everything beyond the first handful of words was drowned out in a roar of cheering and clapping and whistling for those serving. Thanks for that recognition – I wish more of them were there to hear it.
So, let’s talk HISsies. Those amazing guys at the Healthcare IT Transition Group made it into a cartoon, which is online on their Hitch-TV. They’re geniuses, for two reasons: they’re darned smart, but especially because they’ve figured out how to make a living having a blast working together. Their movie got a lot of laughs and applause in all the right places.
Spoiler: athenahealth and Jonathan Bush won 8 of the 18 awards. Jonathan was out guest speaker and what a guy he is! He showed up early stayed late, worked the room, and had a great time. I only wish I’d remembered to record his speech. My favorite quotes: “Digital Balls” (you had to be there) and “HIStalk is a network — that (the conference) is a boat show.” He hit some great topics in patient safety, the need to re-architect existing HIT platforms, and ribbed the Wall Streeters a little. What an utterly fun guy. The big TV network guys are always hounding him to death to go on national TV and here he spends his evening hanging out at some blogger’s reception. Thanks to him and to John Hallock, who just may be the best PR and strategy guy in the business. They brought some of the athenistas along and they were having fun and the CFO came over to chat, having no clue who I was. I’m proud that they could attend.
More thanks: Healthia for sponsoring the reception, handling tons of details, and staffing the event with Healthia team members (thanks especially to Shawna Schueller for overseeing the whole thing and Mike Tressler for handling the emcee duties). Thanks to Gwen Darling, who not only helped me personally with the event but who even outshone the models in good looks and grace. And, thanks to Miss HIStalk and Kiss Me, I’m Inga. Miss HIStalk will be in RelayHealth’s booth tomorrow, by the way.
AT&T announces that it will create a statewide information exchange in Tennessee.
Misys: nothing further heard on any Allscripts acquisition, so that sounds like a false alarm. Someone did confirm their offshoring of Level 1 support, although it’s going to an existing Misys operation in the Philippines instead of to India.
Link correction: the interview with SCI’s John Holton is here.
Gripe I heard today: the exhibitor badges aren’t blue any more, so salespeople were pitching to other exhibitors for a second until they realized.
Cool giveaway: MRV has a tiny key ring flashlight that’s powered by a hand crank. That will be Mrs. HIStalk’s very special gift when I get back home (that and a flash drive that someone was giving away since she asked me to track one of those down).
Acquisition announcement: Noteworthy Medical Systems will acquire MARS Medical.
Acquisition announcement: Eclipsys acquires budgeting software vendor EPSI.
Microsoft announces $3 million in available grants for add-ons to HealthVault.
There were a ton of other announcements, of course, most of them trivial. If one caught your eye as important, let me know since I haven’t had time to scour them carefully.
On with the booth reviews! Random notes about my first impressions follow. Let me know if you want me to look at specific ones.
eClinicalWorks: C. Not so great location, but they really don’t care since they’re selling like wildfire, including to Wal-Mart.
NextGen: didn’t get to see the game show, so since I was there for the girls, I’ll withhold judgment. Seemed pleasant.
Medicity – A. Very cool, chrome, two-story and modern. Had our HIStalk sign out, as did several vendors (we made them little color signs and Inga and I signed them).
Siemens – A. A monster light rack overhead, white and orange, huge, and an amazing theater.
Healthia – A. Few companies uses orange this year, so theirs stood out (most companies were into greens with light birch wood). Nice chairs. The folks were working the crowd well.
HMS – A. Last year’s diner theme with the sassy waitresses, my choice for Best Booth That Wasn’t County-Sized. It’s personal, the waitresses are fun, and it’s just cool.
Epic – C. Same old fireplace and stone.
Allscripts – B. a cool beaded curtain overhead and a coffee bar.
Medseek – B. Set up like a kitchen, kind of cool.
Cerner – A+. Best Booth That Was County Sized. It just said “All Together”, made up on close inspection of client hospital logos. No Cerner. No crowding. Huge expanse, some of it dedicated to simply providing seating for attendees well away from the salespeople. Absolute genius. The bigger and better the company, the less it has to shove its name and branding in your face. All those companies who thought they’d catch up this year by copying Cerner’s “customers doing the presentation” idea just got left sucking wind again.
EnovateIT: Know how I always say I can’t resist pawing their carts when I go buy? I watched passers-by doing it today. That Humanscale cart ought to be in an industrial design museum and their new med cart is an amazing shade of green. They chair they had out was a work of art. If you believe in value of esthestics and ergonomics, this is your Ferrari right here.
Sentillion – A. Had an upstairs, a coffee bar, the birch thing, and that green fish that I like.
TheraDoc: A. Popcorn. I didn’t make any other notes, but I must have liked something else about it since I’m not a big fan of popcorn.
Harris – A. Cool color-changing lights.
IntraNexus: A. Modern furniture, very open (giving them a nice double since I liked their bus wrapper best, too).
Eclipsys: A, but I had to think about it. Huge, pushed the salespeople to the perimeter. Great use of the KLAS CPOE adoption quadrant, although they should have put that on the main aisle and not the side.
3M – B.
Meditech – B. Nice design, good use of green, a little cramped.
Greenway – A. LED lights, excellent use of green (duh).
OnBase – A. Still one of my top two or three. The sports bar motif. Damned funny magician (and I usually hate those guys like clowns and mimes).
GE – B. Massive, all white, stark, cold.
QuadraMed – A. Open, sleek.
Microsoft – I have no idea because of the mob assembled in front of it. Right up there with Cisco in terms of having throngs.
RelayHealth – A, but their Miss HIStalk person scared the bejesus out of me. I was strolling by paying no attention whatsoever when I heard a loud “Are you Mr. HIStalk?” I froze and stammered, but that was just her stock question to get attendees to let her put a badge ribbon on. She was working the crowd very well. Nice booth, although security made me put my camera away when I took her picture.
Sunquest – B. Kind of cool, birch.
Beacon Partners – B+. Tropical, with shutters, plants, and comfy chairs.
Agfa – A, but boy did they and anybody in Aisle 7500 and up get screwed. Lots of non-glitzy displays (IHE, etc.) and clear around a wall full of restrooms. Traffic dropped hugely once you hit that barrier. Hope they got a lower rate because most everyone seemed to be turning back before those last aisles.
Cisco – A. Big crowd at the Unified Communications presentation and a cool InTouch robot around back.
AT&T – A. Cool telehealth camera and cart setup.