We’ll have posts tonight from me (Mr. H) and Dr. Jayne. Inga always sends hers late because she’s out socializing, so expect her recap sometime Tuesday. Our big events Tuesday are the sponsor lunch and HIStalkapalooza, so I’m sure we will have stuff to share.
We’ll be covering fewer routine vendor announcements for the next few days since we don’t really have time to chase them down. If we miss one that really is big news, let us know. Otherwise, I may do a summary this weekend after the conference is over.
From Jimbo: “Re: LAS taxi line. It was a 45-minute wait Monday afternoon.” It was a wait for me Sunday night as well. They have a lot of taxis, but they still can’t handle the passenger load. Not to mention that you can easily see your hotel from the airport, but you’ll spend around $20 to get there by the time the cabs add on the mandatory charge for picking you up at the airport and the $3.30 for the first 1/13th mile.
From I Know Nothing: “Re: Amagine. AMA spins it off to AT&T.” According to the draft announcement apparently set for a Tuesday release, AMA and AT&T will put the Amagine community portal on AT&T’s Healthcare Community Online, with AT&T owning the result.
From @Cascadia: “Re: HCA. Noticed that HCA is recruiting for an EHR director and it includes both Epic and Meditech.”
From Rebecca: “Re: ICD-10. In response to your reader’s comments regarding ICD-10, I also took away that the delay may only pertain to certain segments of the healthcare community, based on the following from HHS. The statement said that HHS would ‘initiate a process to postpone the date by which certain health care entities have to comply with [ICD-10].’ As HHS and CMS have yet to provide further clarification, I would recommend that the hospital and provider community stay the course in preparation of ICD-10. (On a side note, shame on the government for making such a vague, open-ended and potentially financially-impactful statement without concrete direction to the healthcare community, seemingly just to kowtow to the AMA.)”
Here’s a shot I took this morning of the Venetian – Palazzo – convention center complex. HIMSS hung large banners out, but of equally massive size are those pitching David Spade and Blue Man Group.
Here’s a shot taken from the Venetian looking out to Las Vegas Boulevard. Inside, it’s a fake canal under a fake sky, women with fake breasts, and men with fake tans. Finally the exhibit hall isn’t the only place where things aren’t as they seem.
I took this picture for Inga in the Palazzo shops. I figure this guy’s a genius if he can get women to pay $1,200 for $10 worth of material turned into red-soled shoes. I admit that as a non-profit hospital guy, I felt creepy being surrounded by all this excess. We’re supposed to be following a selfless calling of taking care of patients, or at least that’s what they used to say before the government became such a big payer and made it attractive for big corporations to use healthcare as a profit center.
The exhibit hall will look perfect on Tuesday, but here’s how it looked Monday morning.
I hung out with Inga and Dr. Jayne at the opening reception. While it wasn’t anything to get excited about (bad beer choices, passable but cute Elvis impersonators, mostly a staging area to execute dinner plans) it wasn’t as bad as those in Chicago and Orlando, which were held in rooms that resembled airplane hangars without the charm. The band was better this year, which isn’t saying much given the usual bad lamestream cover bands HIMSS hires to get the straight-laced IT types gyrating slightly to the tired oldies. HIMSS ditched the drink ticket concept – it was open bar, so that’s a plus. We didn’t try any food so I can’t vouch for it, but I didn’t see or smell anything that called to me.
Remember that under this year’s odd Las Vegas HIMSS calendar, Monday this year was Sunday from years past – pre-conference workshops and the opening reception. The mainstream part of the conference starts Tuesday with the keynote speaker (Biz Stone, founder of Twitter, who doesn’t seem all that interesting on the surface.) Since Inga, Dr. Jayne, and I didn’t sign up for any of the extra-cost workshops Monday, we have nothing to report from those.
I confess that I usually get a little bit discouraged at the conferences since I’m reminded that we’re just tooling around anonymously and not accomplishing a whole lot compared to the folks actually moving and shaking. We may feel slightly good about what we do the other 51 weeks of the year, but this week, we’re bit players and sideliners. Still, we’ll do what we can.
The funniest moment: Inga and Dr. Jayne were talking about Epic’s Judy Faulkner on the way to the opening reception when Dr. Jayne ran into someone and swapped the usual apologies. Inga had to tell her it was Judy she had just collided with. What they were discussing is that Inga had seen Judy outside a session room and I said I was surprised she wasn’t surrounded by hangers-on. Last conference, Judy couldn’t hit the coffee urn or restroom without people from vendors you’ve never heard of trying to sweet-talk her into dealing with them. She was more polite than she could have been.
It looks as though the particulars about Meaningful Use Stage 2 will be released in the ONC meetings scheduled for Wednesday morning. That is damned annoying: you know they’ve been finished for some time, so holding them back just to crow about them at HIMSS is unfortunate. Why couldn’t ONC have released them last week to give people time to study the proposed rules so they could discuss them intelligently this week? ONC is going to hijack all of the topics and issues being discussed at the conference by people who have spent a lot of time and money to be here and turn it into a test of who can make an Excel worksheet the fastest. That’s a shame. It’s not like the government doesn’t already hog more than its share of the healthcare IT spotlight.
Someone brought up a very good point to me about why it’s so weird about having HIMSS in Las Vegas. In every other city, HIMSS takes the place over. You see the same comforting faces that you see every year. In Las Vegas, we’re still outnumbered by the regular tourists, many of whom are bizarre, annoying, and indifferent to the conference as is typical in Las Vegas. Part of the conference draw is that attendees get to feel very special, insular, and collegial. I’m not sure we’re getting that here. On the other hand, the skirts are shorter than you can possibly imagine.
I finally figured out what I really dislike about Las Vegas. It’s the restaurants. I keep hearing locals bragging on the great restaurants here, but they are the antithesis of great restaurants. The are upscale mall food courts owned by faceless corporations, run by faceless corporate chefs determined to orchestrate the cookie cutter experience to the maximum wallet-extracting extent possible and to kill off any independent restaurants that might cook from the heart rather than the pocketbook. The big-name chefs set foot on the premises only long enough for a quick photo op and to load up their pockets with culinary hush money to pretend that they’re really involved and proud of the end result (surely you didn’t think Bobby Flay or Wolfgang Puck would lower themselves to actually cook in restaurants bearing their names.) The food is the kind of stuff that unsophisticated bus-tripping Midwesterners crave and brag about to those left at home – mammoth and overpriced hamburgers, expensive hunks of steak with little more creativity applied than to put them on the fire, and dumbed-down ethnic food that isn’t too challenging for the casino crowd. There is minimal farm-to-table or local cuisine because, after all, we’re smack dab in the middle of a desert where the only key food source is what comes in from more hospitable climes via the airport. If there are great Las Vegas restaurants – and I’m thinking there aren’t — I’d wager that they aren’t found in Strip hotels. Las Vegas may have slightly better chains than Cheesecake Factory and Applebee’s, but they are still soulless corporate outposts that resemble a real, creative, chef-owned restaurant only superficially.
Speaking of restaurants, HIMSS included a $10 certificate for food Tuesday, good in the exhibit hall. A nice gesture, even if $10 doesn’t get you much from union-run food service concession stands.
The Madison, WI couple competing in The Amazing Race, the female half of which works for Epic, placed first in Sunday night’s episode.
As I was on my way to the airport to catch my flight to HIMSS, I made one last pass by the mailbox to see if there were any cool marketing materials and I’m glad I did. The first one was a kicky orange band-aid cutout (I probably should call it an adhesive bandage so the trademark police don’t come calling) from Aventura. Even better was the tagline when I flipped it over:
Needless to say, it made my day and I was grateful for a good chuckle.
I’m glad I found the other mailing from ICA because it offers a chance to win $2,000 for your local community food bank. I’ll definitely be stopping by for that contest, right after I drop off my shoes at one of the Soles4Soles collection points at ESD (booth 4616), HealthPort (252), DrFirst (5456), or Gnax Health (2875).
I spent most of the flight out planning my activities for the next few days – I’m still trying to sort out the best way to fit in all the sessions I want to catch with all the exhibitors I want to see. Plus, I need to make sure to leave some time to try to catch up with my bow tie-clad crush, Farzad Mostashari. I’m grateful for HIStalk’s Guide to HIMSS12 which gave me a starting place from which to plot my escapades.
Like many of you, my favorite part of HIMSS is networking. I’m looking forward to attending a couple of vendor events and some physician gatherings as well as catching up with old friends. I’ll be stalking the exhibit hall with a couple of my CMIO buddies and will be reporting on their reactions throughout the week. One of them is a first timer, so I can’t wait to see what he thinks.
Networking is particularly fun when you’re an anonymous semi-celebrity. I recently shared a drink with my trusty sidekick Bianca Biller and another long-time colleague who was lamenting how hard it is to keep up with all the industry gossip. The conversation turned to HIStalk, of course, and it was all I could do to not giggle. I’ll be non-competitively participating in the HIStalk Booth Crawl so I’m sure I’ll have to suppress more than one giggle over the next few days. Good luck to all our readers competing for the chance to win one of 55 iPads. And remember – if you can’t find the answer, make up something funny to keep Mr. H entertained as he stays up ‘till the wee hours of the night handling your entries.
We’ll be on e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter this week and looking forward to hearing from our readers. Got a picture of the best giveaways, coolest booths, or craziest outfits? E-mail me.