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From HIMSS 3/3/13

March 3, 2013 News 9 Comments

3-3-2013 10-42-15 PM

3-3-2013 10-43-35 PM

3-3-2013 10-32-36 PM

The day started out very cold and windy, but it turned reasonably nice Sunday afternoon and will be much warmer on Monday. Thank goodness – many attendees (me being one) didn’t bring the heavy coats that were needed, both outside and in the exhibit hall today (I slipped by a security guard to roam around).

I’m beginning to be annoyed by the hotel that HIMSS foisted on me after they cancelled my reservation for the hotel I actually wanted. I nearly froze last night, and today I made sure the thermostat was set to heat and 70 degrees when I left for the convention center. Right now, it’s 56 degrees in the room and the air that’s blowing is cold. The hotel has no restaurant and needs maintenance – I’ve never until now seen a toilet whose bowl is actually peeling apart below the water line, and there’s rust on almost everything in the bathroom. For about the same money, I could have had a very nice hotel within a couple of blocks of the convention center with an actual restaurant, bar, and lobby.  I didn’t even get the swag bag that Inga mentioned in her post. I feel like a stepchild.

3-3-2013 10-29-20 PM

We’re on a boil water advisory in New Orleans supposedly until at least Monday morning, so the nice hotels dropped off bottles of water in each room, while mine left a note on the bed to traipse down to the front desk if I needed bottled water. Given that the note says you’re not supposed to even brush your teeth with water from the tap, exactly who isn’t going to need a bottle? Since that’s the case, why make every guest visit the front desk?

3-3-2013 10-39-03 PM
The water problem forced Starbucks to stop selling coffee early Sunday morning. It’s going to be an ugly scene if they don’t figure out a caffeine junkie workaround for Monday morning.

I guess you can’t blame HIMSS for the boil water advisory, but the same problem occurred here a few months ago due to the city’s crumbling infrastructure, which includes 100-year-old water processing plants and old pipes. As much as I like the restaurants and the local character, there’s no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is not capable of handling a major convention in a professional manner. The airport is small and outdated, there aren’t enough cabs to get people the long way to downtown, and I’m hearing that hotels are oversold and people are being assigned rooms out in the sticks. It feels like a backward country where nobody really cares about the small details. The only positive I can muster is that the convention center is OK and the restaurants are good.

3-3-2013 10-37-30 PM

I’ll assume this was the work of a prankster and not an inattentive convention center worker. Maybe the one sitting behind me near the food court, who was reminding everyone within earshot about the awful conditions and deaths that occurred inside the very same convention center during Katrina.

The HIMSS printed materials seem less well organized this year. I’ve overheard people who, like me, can’t find sessions they know are taking place. There is no mobile app – it’s all printed.

I haven’t heard much in the way of news and rumors so far. Most of what I’ve seen posted elsewhere appeared here last week. Monday should be the big day of announcements, including the much-awaited Cerner-McKesson interoperability one at 11 a.m. Central time. I’m not including the webcast link or physical location since the invitation was only for the press.

3-3-2013 10-35-41 PM

Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, and I had what Inga called our HIStalk board meeting this afternoon (meaning we had a drink at a bar). We headed over to the opening reception, which was OK as opening receptions go (a huge bare room, decent food, and some local options like Abita amber beer and jambalaya). The band was OK. We saw some folks we know either individually or collectively before I headed off to dinner with a friend at Red Fish Grill, which was as good as when I ate there at the previous New Orleans conference.

I feel like Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel, describing how conditions are changing as a storm moves close, the storm in this case being the rumored 35,000 people who are attending the conference. Monday morning will be the usual madhouse, with the added complication of being unable to use tap water. We’ll have more detailed reports and a quick HIStalkapalooza recap if I have the energy to stay up late to write it. We can’t see or know it all, so your contributions are welcome.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Well, so far I haven’t read anything that makes me think “Geez, I wish I didn’t have to miss HIMSS! But maybe I’ll be drooling and boo hooing more after reports from HISTalk party start streaming in…..” Enjoy!

  2. Physicians IT Symposium was ok. First and last speakers (Cleme McDonald – Non-perfectability of man, and Larry Weed – Problem-oriented medical records) were best.

    Sorry – only local, back home, rumors to contribute (not interesting)

  3. Just a suggestion for those others that need their coffee fix… I’ve figured out a workaround. Go to your local store and purchase the Starbucks in a can/glass bottle & bring them into HIMSS with you.

    Makes me thankful that I got stuck in a hotel 1 hour away because the ones so close were SO expensive because I waited to long to book. I hate the drive, but there’s water. You are correct, New Orleans cannot handle a meeting of this size. Thankfully in the pocket guide it states that next year, HIMSS will be in Orlando. Civilization! Water! Hotels! Big airport!

    I’ve also found that the Pocket Guide is a little easier to follow as far as trying to locate sessions that you are interested in attending.

  4. First HIMSS I’ve missed in a long time, so thanks for the “you are there” reporting. While the logistics (no water! no Starbucks!) sound pretty messy, I got wistful reading this because the messy HIMSS are my favorite HIMSS. From everybody who’s stuck at work this week, thanks for the reporting.

  5. Wow I’, so glad I learned my lesson last time and am not attending in person. This is déjà vu from when HIMSS was held in New Orleans right after Katrina. The only things missing are the roof being torn off of the Super Dome and gas prices were cheaper. The city is ill-equipped to handle a conference such as HIMSS, from the moment you land to the moment you leave you be subjected to old and dilapidated fixtures, unsanitary conditions and concern for your own and those around you safety. Who’s bad idea is that to keep subjecting HIMSS attendee’s and members to this cruel joke of a venue. What’s next a HIMSS version of Legionnaires Disease

  6. Since the US is aren’t even funding infrastructure at adequate levels to maintain it (e.g., federal funding for infrastructure isn’t even half of what it was in the 50s/60s as a % of US GDP) let alone really improve it is just a sign of things to come. Detroit has a lot of fiscal issues too but a huge one is servicing the costs of the water and sewage bonds.

  7. I left NOLA yesterday and cannot say I’m sorry I had to leave at the beginning of the conference. I am saddened by the lack of mention by HIMSS of the 1.5 day-long N.I. Symposium. Great speakers and information and the room was packed, even if we did have to trek to the back end of the center.
    Besides some great food, I did find the Goodie bag hanging on my hotel door, complete w/harmonica, so all was not lost! 🙂

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