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From HIMSS 3/3/10

March 3, 2010 News 6 Comments


From The PACS Designer: “Re: Panasonic C1 Toughbook. At HIMSS 2010, Panasonic announced an exciting new Toughbook called the C1. It has many features that on-the-go healthcare professionals will see as being attractive.”

From Joe: “Re: McKesson. Hunting season came early this year. Firings in the Physician Practice Solutions group.” Unverified.


We have a lot of HIMSS-related observations on HIStalk Mobile.


Here’s a Dr. Gregg Alexander shot of CNN, the Omni, and Centennial Park. Most of us saw it for the last time today.


A DrLyle shot, although one that would be more effective would say “Parking $35”.

I’m still tired, but here are my impressions of HIMSS10:

  • The emphasis was on money and business rather than patients for the most part (my low point: a session that rattled off dozens of government grant programs from ARRA right on down, which reminded me of that seedy guy with the Free Government Grants infomercial).
  • For that reason, it was a rather passionless conference. It’s hard to get charged up by filling a room full of people who want to lap from the federal trough.
  • The KLAS/HIMSS Analytics presentation was good, with the primary message being that adoption of EMR, CPOE, etc. is going well, but there’s a long way to go. Also, that several vendors and products, despite slick glossy materials, basically aren’t getting any traction at all and don’t enjoy much support from their customers. It was refreshing to sit in a HIMSS conference room and have some of the vendors with big booth spreads being called out as dragging down the market with their incompetence (the usual big conglomerates).
  • Atlanta is a pretty good convention town and GWCC has nicer public areas (seats) than most convention centers, but the split exhibit hall should have been a showstopper. If you were a vendor on the C side, you missed a lot of traffic. Maybe HIMSS should have limited the space per vendor so they could all be squeezed in on the A/B side.
  • Many vendors were so vague on what they were selling that it was hard to tell on a quick glance, which is about all they’ll get from most attendees. Broad, catchy statements may work in an ad, but on the show floor, there are 200 vendors claiming to sell an EMR and little way to figure out how they are different.
  • As happens every year, vendor people in the hall seemed to have trouble focusing. It’s inevitable to get tired and maybe jaded, so the to-do I would give vendors is to bring more people and rotate them. I went to several large (expensive) booths and couldn’t get anybody’s attention, and in at least a couple, the person made me feel genuinely unwelcome, like maybe they were anxious to get back to their personal phone chats.
  • A fun scavenger hunt would have been to try to find a presentation that didn’t have any of the above words in the slide deck: ARRA, HITECH, or Meaningful Use.
  • Everybody got excited over certification announcements, but I found myself caring not at all. I overheard someone providing a good summary of certification: it sets the bar extremely low for real vendors with real customers, but keeps doctors from selling crappy EMRs written by their brothers-in-law.
  • There was a lot of activity on the show floor, but I can’t really say I picked out any theme that didn’t involve stimulus money.
  • Education presentations ranged from pretty good to pretty bad, which is par for the course.
  • HIMSS ran the conference smoothly as usual.
  • Despite frantic reporting from the exhibit hall(s), there really wasn’t all that much big news, which is why I didn’t mention much of it.
  • I got to see a lot of familiar faces and that’s always nice.

2010 HISsies Winners

Smartest vendor strategic move
athenahealth guarantees Meaningful Use

Stupidest vendor strategic move
GE Healthcare loses enterprise clients

Best healthcare IT vendor

Worst healthcare IT vendor
GE Healthcare

Best CEO of a vendor or consulting firm
Jonathan Bush, athenahealth

Best provider healthcare IT organization
Cleveland Clinic

Provider or vendor organization you would most like to work for if salary, benefits, and job title were not factors.

HIS-related company in which you’d love to be given $100,000 in stock options that can’t be cashed in for 10 years.

Most promising technology development
Smart phone apps

Most overrated technology
Speech recognition

Biggest HIS-related news story of the year
ARRA/meaningful use

Most overused buzzword
Meaningful use

When _____ talks, people listen.
David Blumenthal.

Most effective CIO in a healthcare provider organization
John Glaser, Partners

HIS industry figure with whom you’d most like to have a few beers
Judy Faulkner, Epic

HIS industry figure in whose face you’d most like to throw a pie
Neal Patterson, Cerner

HIStalk Healthcare IT Industry Figure of the Year
David Blumenthal

HERtalk by Inga

I am in the Atlanta airport, headed home, so this will be another quick post.

Overall impression of HIMSS10: fun, huge, and a lot of excitement in the industry. More on that in a second, but I will first throw out a few things that I found less than perfect:

  • Someone made a comment to me that Atlanta must not have had big convention like this for some time because they seemed overwhelmed at times at the convention center. Long lines for food (except at the Asian place, which apparently ran out of noodles early in the day) and untidy restrooms were the biggest evidence of this.
  • The two-exhibit hall thing needs some tweaking. All the vendors in "C" felt like the stepchildren. Why not split the bigger vendors evenly between the two halls so that one does not look so much like an afterthought? And, having the two halls so far apart was pretty inconvenient. More than one person told me they didn’t realize there was a second hall until they failed to find a particular vendor.
  • Is there such thing as a convention center that doesn’t involve miles of walking to get from one area to the next?
  • I found too many vendors unable to give you a 15-second elevator pitch about their company or offering. Maybe it would be too much to ask for vendors to also tell you in 15 seconds what is unique about your offering.

Other than that…good stuff. I have to admit the educational sessions are tough for me to sit through (I failed to last the whole time for any session I attended).  Perhaps I picked the wrong sessions.

The last three days have flown by. I spent a good amount in the exhibit hall, but didn’t see all I wanted to see. I did check out a few software products and I will share more on that later. Thanks to all the kind invites to stop by booths — I didn’t get a chance to look deeply at every one, unfortunately.

And I popped in to a few parties, including Eclipsys, Allscripts, and HITmen awards. The HITmen awards had some great sushi and a lot of A-listers in the industry. I thought Mr. H was winning some award, but apparently not. Someone will have to explain to me why his name was on the promotional material but he didn’t win one of the cool plaques.

The MEDecision folks told me there were expecting 2,000 to their party, which they said was to be the largest HIMSS party. If you went, tell us about it.

Tuesday night I got back to my hotel after a VERY long day and popped up HIStalk to read the latest post. I literally fell asleep with iPhone in hand. Good thing HIMSS only comes once a year.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Thanks for all the shared HIMSS highlights, sounds like a busy time for all. Of course meaningful use/ARRA/HITECH was going to be the biggest thing going; I (humbly) predict the same will be true next year, perhaps even more so as people will be able to actually show they’re certified or demonstrating meaningful use rather than just guaranteeing they’re going to get there. Plus we may actually know by then what Stage 2 looks like.

  2. RE: Medecision party at the aquarium. The best party in years at HIMSS, by far. Big crowd, at least 1,500 people, probably 2,000 or more, but they seemed prepared for the crowd. Super food buffets with Southern exotics like Shrimp and Grits, top shelf beverages, open access to the all the exhibits, plus Colbie Caillat played for the FULL hour. Will be interesting to see next year whether they or any other exhibitor can top this one.

  3. Saddest commentary of all: “The emphasis was on money and business rather than patients”

    Best quote (borrowed from the AMDIS listserv) “Buying an EMR to get the ARRA dollars is like having a child for the tax deduction”

    If we lose our focus on the patient, we have lost our reason for existence.

  4. MEDecision party was great! There was good food, a flowing open bar, and amazing exhibits that were so nice because it was “private.” Colbie sang her heart out.

    I was there before I went to YOUR party and had a blast there too. Monday was definitely a great night of mingling.

  5. “Smartest vendor strategic move
    athenahealth guarantees Meaningful Use ”

    Maybe cute marketing move…but DUMB financial and accounting move for a public company focused on growth.
    Per Sarbannes Ox – you can’t book one dime of revenue till all contract contingencies are meet. And you can’t meet this one till MU criterria are set in stone…a long way off.

    Do you wonder why Ahena has delayed last quarterly financial report? My guess is they are having a heated debate with the auditors right now.

  6. Thanks for all the updates – I felt like I was there! 🙂

    Our organization exhibited (like we do every year) – perhaps I’ll be able to get one of our attendees to read your write-ups so we can be sure we’re using our time/space wisely!

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