Home » Readers Write » Currently Reading:

Readers Write 1/27/12

January 27, 2012 Readers Write 5 Comments

Submit your article of up to 500 words in length, subject to editing for clarity and brevity (please note: I run only original articles that have not appeared on any Web site or in any publication and I can’t use anything that looks like a commercial pitch). I’ll use a phony name for you unless you tell me otherwise. Thanks for sharing!

The Top 10 Mistakes Salespeople Make at the HIMSS Conference
By Beth Friedman

1-27-2012 5-09-35 PM

A vendor’s sales staff is one of the company’s most important assets. While marketing, PR, and events management put it all together, the sales staff determines whether or not the HIMSS conference is a success.

Is your sales team engaged, interacting with prospects, and busy with pre-scheduled appointments? Or are they sitting around the booth, eating dinner together, and looking like Las Vegas wallflowers?

Here’s a Top 10 list of sales staff mistakes at HIMSS derived from our 30+ years of combined experience. Avoid them and you’re golden. Make them and you’re history. It’s that simple!

Mistake #1: Sitting Around the Booth

Your booth is crowded with salespeople, but no prospects. This is the most common mistake at any trade show.

Prospects must be enticed to enter your booth. They won’t come into it willingly. It is the job of your sales team to get them in. Yes, that means standing at the edge of the carpet and greeting attendees. A simple “hello” and smile works wonders. Multiply your smiles and see how many you get back. Hey, these guys and gals are competitive – have a contest!

Secondly, ask attendees easy, friendly, open-ended questions as they pass by. Get them engaged in a friendly conversation to start. Before you know it, you’ll be giving a demo! For example:

  • How are you enjoying the show so far?
  • What did you think of the keynote this morning?
  • How are you finding the educational sessions this year?
  • Did you go to HIStalkapalooza?

Mistake #2: Smart Phone Syndrome

All year you’ve made cold calls, left messages, and begged for appointments. Guess what? The same folks you’ve been trying to reach for six months via phone are here at HIMSS, live and in person. Dump the cell phone and talk to everyone in real time.

Avoid e-mail or any other electronic-based interpersonal avoidance. This includes time spent in the booth, between exhibit hall and hotel, in the elevators, during lunch breaks, and at the roulette table. Attendees are everywhere. Be “on” and smile at all times.

Mistake #3: Selling Too Much

Keep the sales pitch in the booth. If you meet attendees at events, poolside, or at the casino, keep conversation fun, personable, and low pressure. People are people. Everyone likes to meet someone personally first, professionally second. Overselling is one sure way to drive people away.

Mistake #4: Having Dinner Alone

Even if your company is small, make the most of having all your customers and prospects in one place. Arrange a dinner. Invite customers for cocktails. Host a small reception, focus group, or breakfast.

Breaking bread with fellow employees only is an opportunity lost. Make sure every meal includes a customer or prospect. You’ll be glad you did!

Mistake #5: Assuming One Size Fits All

Sales staff often uses a “one size fits all” approach to HIMSS attendees. Take a moment to ask questions and better understand your audience. See what problems they are trying to solve. If your company can solve it, great! If you company can’t solve it, don’t waste their time. Refer them to a company that can, and remember that smile!

Mistake #6: Avoiding Sessions

HIMSS offers a huge educational opportunity. Hundreds of sessions are offered and your prospects are sitting in each one!

Take the time to attend sessions. Sit next to someone interesting. Introduce yourself. Attending educational sessions is the best investment sales teams can make at HIMSS. Plus, it might make you smarter.

Mistake #7: Negative Selling

Talk your company up, not others down. Negative selling never works. And it especially doesn’t work at HIMSS. Enough said.

Mistake #8: Keeping Your Company’s Presence a Secret

You’ve invested time, money, and effort into HIMSS. Why not shell out a few more bucks to let everyone know? Direct mail is back. E-mail campaigns and promotions help. Unless attendees know you’re there, you’ll get lost in the noise.

And remember to attach promotion to your HIMSS efforts, and some emotion to your promotion. Give attendees a reason to visit your booth. And have some fun!

Mistake #9: Confusing Signage

OK, this mistake is usually made by the marketing folks and not sales. But confusing signage is a nuisance to everyone. Your company has less than three seconds to tell HIMSS attendees what you do. Make those three seconds count! Keep signage brief and communicate in familiar industry terms.

Mistake #10: Not Making Appointments

Failing to make one-on-one appointments with customers and prospects at HIMSS is inexcusable. Even if your company doesn’t have access to the pre-show attendee list, just call them! See if they are going. If your direct contact is not going, chances are that someone from their organization is. Call and introduce yourself. Schedule a cup of coffee or have a drink.

Reach out and touch someone before the conference. Because once everyone is in Vegas, it is too late.

Good luck. Have fun. Make the most of HIMSS. It only happens once a year!

Beth Friedman, RHIT is president of The Friedman Marketing Group of Atlanta, GA.

EHR Systems Can Be “Genius” to Use
By Seth Henry

1-27-2012 5-26-35 PM

In proper accordance to government regulations, approximately 50% of doctors’ offices nationwide have implemented some form of electronic health record (EHR) system. However, of these, only 25% have adopted the technology to serve in a meaningful and useful way. Most managers understand the mandatory changes that are underway, and in many cases, have begun the critical transition to these systems. Even if users have implemented the proper technology, they may be unsure of how to effectively incorporate it into their daily protocol or how to operate them with maximum benefits.

Compounding the financial investments required to implement an EHR system, there is an average of 1,000 hours of data entry required within the first year of adoption. Doctors and their staff are already pressed for time and money and do not have the proper resources to accomplish this tedious but crucial task. Moreover, they need to be focused on their real job – providing quality healthcare to patients.

The good news is that EHR systems can become user-friendly with the addition of proper infrastructure. Comparable to personal technologies, EHRs originate as a generic platform, with the responsibility of the owner to engage with the product to create a usable, tailored system.

Compare your iPod to that of your friends. No two are exactly alike after you each have the opportunity to personalize and import desired features and applications. Electronic health record systems are similar. They start with standard capabilities and can be uniquely personalized and adapted to meet individual facility requirements. The EHR technology requires applications to make them accommodate the needs for users to engage with the system on a daily basis to further benefit patients.

The most formidable part of any technical change is the actual use of the product and gaining consensus amongst the staff to implement it accurately and consistently. EHR professionals are constantly looking for better ways to educate, counsel, and instruct their client facilities on the technology as together they identify the most meaningful way to apply the tailored applications.

Taking a bite out of Apple’s famously coined “Genius Bar,” functional, hands-on training and support is the cornerstone to the successful use and implementation of any new product integration. The “Genius Bar” adapts the concept found at global Apple retail stores: in-person assistance for product-related education. Technology providers are retaining onsite, dedicated experts equipped with the skills, solutions, and passion for information sharing to guide facility staff through the program until they are 100%autonomous.

A single-style teaching approach is not an acceptable resolution to ensuring total integration of these technical upgrades. Thoroughly educating users in a personalized method, void of time constraints, will enable them to be properly trained to engage with the systems. Not everyone responsible for use will learn in the same manner or adapt as quickly as others. Therefore, the “Genius Bar” solution allows hands-on training and a continuous resource for resolving practical issues encountered as they implement the systems.

When the facility staff and doctors are comfortable with using the products, they are more inclined to incorporate the processes into their daily routines. In-person, ongoing support from their “Genius Bar” representative will help facilitate a smooth transition and implementation process.

The real benefit of an EHR system lies in generating, analyzing, and, ultimately using patient information to directly improve overall patient care. Tailored applications that enhance the EHR technology allow facilities and users to employ the appropriate features and accommodate their needs without the high cost of in-house IT infrastructure and staffing.

With the value of applying customizable, intuitive features, internal office support, and the help of the “Genius Bar” staff, facilities can succeed in long-term implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records.

Seth Henry is founder and president of Arcadia Solutions of Burlington, MA.

HIStalk Featured Sponsors


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Hi Seth:

    >>> In proper accordance to government regulations, approximately 50% of doctors’ offices nationwide have implemented some form of electronic health record (EHR) system. However, of these, only 25% have adopted the technology to serve in a meaningful and useful way.

    Actually, let’s look at the actual numbers.

    In the most recent annual CDC report, published on 12/1/2011 which put out their findings on EMR/EHR use, the report showed that the overall EMR+EHR usage has gone up from 51% in 2010 to 57% in 2011. What’s interesting, though is that the HITECH ready EHR group percentage actually DROPPED from 26% to 23% over the past year.

    The CDC used to show what percentage of the MU-ready (23%) group is actually using their systems in a “meaningful” way, and it used to hold at about 9% of the total group. They now don’t break out this group anymore which is unfortunate as the majority of those with MU-ready EHR systems choose not to do the onerous meaningful use program.

    This is consistent with the facts as published by the HHS that although 115,000 have registered as “meaningful use providers” only 10,155 (9%), have successfully attested. Physicians make up only 77% of these providers.

    Let’s do the calculations:

    Only 9% of registered MU providers and ((10155 x .77)/600000) clinician MDs, or just 1.3% of physicians in clinical practice are “meaningful users.” That’s a really poor attendance to the MU party, I’d say.



  2. Great article Beth. So many good takeaways from what you said and so many people who so totally screw it up.

    One thing I often forget at conferences like HIMSS is that the people manning the booth don’t love doing their job as much as I do. Many don’t want to be there at all. That’s often reflected in how they act when you pass by.

  3. Very good article Beth! I can’t imagine what it must be like for salespeople working long hours on their feet and trying to be “on” at all times. However, as customers we all have been to booths that are enjoyable to stop at and others that haven’t been. Primarily the big difference is in the salespeople and their approach. You might also tell them to get as much sleep as possible before the conference!

  4. Hopefully some marketing teams will share this piece with their HIMSS booth staffers. I hope everyone brings their best Southern hospitality to the booths – you never know when Inga or Dr. Jayne will be passing by!

  5. One other mistake I have encountered is vendors who hire outside people to demo their product. Then once the demo is over, you try to ask detailed questions and the demo person can’t answer them. UGH!

Founding Sponsors


Platinum Sponsors



















































Gold Sponsors














Reader Comments

  • Obfuscator: This sounds like a cry for help. I don't know how I can help, but here's some resources with which I'm slightly familiar...
  • Samantha: I read all of these and Im at a total loss. I want out so bad but Im a mother of 3 and a wife and sister. Ifeel so compl...
  • Ed Chung: As one of the couple dozen companies sending a petition to HIMSS, I'll just say that some large companies (some very lar...
  • Lazlo Hollyfeld: Re: Optum Buying Navihealth "Optum are the healthcare Borg. Now they add Navihealth's service and technological disti...
  • RobLS: "Cynical Blowhard Healthcare IT Blogger" After a quick Google search, I've finally figured out your real name, Mr. Ti...

Sponsor Quick Links