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From HIMSS 2/26/14

February 26, 2014 News 5 Comments

From SoreThroat: “Why did CCHIT leave the ONC Testing & Certification program? Why were they really losing money? What was the ‘exit plan’ and who benefited? Who will be left to turn off the lights on CCHIT once the relationship with HIMSS is consummated? CCHIT rolls down hill: vendors, hospitals and others don’t like the feel or the smell.”

From Soft Skills Are Key: “Re: consultants. When will vendors learn that consultants are not the enemy? We approached the SCC Soft booth at HIMSS, introduced ourselves to the booth sales rep, and asked if we could see a quick glimpse of his product. We explained to him that we we’re consultants and wanted to familiarize ourselves with their product at the interest of our clients. The sales guy’s response, along with the stone-cold stare, was, ‘I don’t see the point,’, and then walked away. Soft Lab, ‘Yes’, but Soft Skills, ‘No.’”

The lessened enthusiasm of the throng of attendees and exhibitors was palpable Wednesday. The coat check stations were full of bags of folks taking flights out Wednesday, the exhibit hall energy level was a fraction of that Monday and Tuesday, and most of the big social events were over.

I started my day noticing that every single men’s restroom on the main level was closed. Two had signs saying the conference center was being improved, while another just had a barrier stuck in front of it.


SIS was demoing their analytics application.


Health Catalyst had big booth crowds Wednesday morning.


Optum had a disturbingly large display that was like being at a drive-in movie with men in suits milling about in front of the screen.

I noticed multiple occurrences of odd grammar usage that’s as common as uptalking in young folks: saying “yeah, no,” usually expressed when agreeing with someone making a negative point.

Someone forwarded me a HIMSS email intended for working press saying that because of the contract HIMSS signed with Hillary Clinton for her keynote, reporters not only couldn’t cover her speech, they weren’t even allowed inside the hall to see it. I verified that HIMSS people were indeed turning away reporters at the door, although checking every badge must have slowed down the entry process. I say “must have” because having arrived early last year to see Bill, I still ended up sitting on the floor in front of a TV monitor and decided I would rather just beat the crowds out the door instead of in, so I left the conference early.

Athenahealth wasted no time in printing up big booth signs proclaiming themselves as the top-rated software vendor in KLAS. A reporter asked Judy directly what she thought of it and she said it was a scoring anomaly that won’t happen again. The reporter followed up with KLAS and found that she is technically correct because KLAS is getting rid of the category.

We’re first-time HIMSS exhibitors working on the cheap, so Lorre got a lot of help from many folks, including our booth neighbors and readers. She would especially like to thank Dr. Gregg and Mike “PACSMan” Cannavo, who covered the booth when she needed to step away, brought her lunch, and otherwise made her day a lot better.


Speaking of Lorre, I have received a ton of positive comments about how well she represented HIStalk at our events and in the booth. I had little doubt when I brought her on board, so I’m not surprised. I’m gratified that after spending time at Sunquest and Mediware, she is loving her HIStalk role in running Webinars, supporting our sponsors and readers, and managing all the details that I wasn’t handling well because of time constraints. Above is Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, James Aita, Lorre, and Amy Gleason at HIStalkapalooza.

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Here’s Lorre wearing the Super Bowl ring of Stephen Baker the Touchdown Maker while he visited our booth, also showing her HIStalk party nail. Note that SB isn’t just trading on his former athletic glories: he is a substitute teacher and supports several charitable causes related to children.



Lorre and I now know that we have a lot of readers from Epic because several of them dropped by our tiny booth to say hello. Lorre says the taxi-themed shoes were her favorite of the entire conference.


Epic people were great about being attentive to their customers and not staring at their phones until we tweeted my desire to capture at least four booth reps doing so at once. They helpfully staged a photo shoot in the Epic booth just for Lorre. They are a fun group.

We have around 1,200 professional photos from HIStalkapalooza. These will provide good memories for those who where there until I can go through the entire set.

















Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Tuesday and Wednesday

More hours in the exhibit hall means more interesting things to see. I must say I like the HIMSS decision to not close the hall during lunch. It may make it more challenging for exhibitors but it made it easier for me to see more booths. Unfortunately, I also forgot to eat on Tuesday, so maybe the forced break was a good thing.


Inga and I spotted this walking carrot earlier in the week but couldn’t catch a photo fast enough. I finally found her at the Phytel booth. She was there to promote their service project where attendees could stuff backpacks with food for Second Harvest, which provides it to children who may not have meals when they’re not able to receive a free or reduced price lunch at school. I wish I had known about it earlier and would have made time on my schedule to participate if I hadn’t already been double-booked.


I had the opportunity to cruise the hall Tuesday afternoon with Dr. Ross Martin, who not only sings fabulous songs about HIStalk by night, but is part of the leadership team at AMIA by day. I always like to visit the first-time exhibitors and we were over in the low numbers when the staff of Nobl engaged us with cookies. They were also kind enough to allow Ross to charge his dying cell phone while they showed us their Vigilance product. It’s a proactive nurse rounding program designed to improve patient satisfaction (and therefore HCAHPS scores). They also have the ability to notify family members about the activities of their loved one – whether he or she is sleeping, eating, taking their medications, etc. I’ll be interested to see how they fare over time.

Ross also granted me a provisional degree of Fellow for ACMImimi, the American College of Medical Informatimusicology. He assures me the board will formally approve my candidacy at their next meeting, but I better brush up on the show tunes in case they ask for an audition tape.

I attended a nice presentation at Aventura about their instant-on and roaming solutions. I particularly liked the fact that they had actual clients delivering the presentations rather than sales reps. They were also very interested in feedback from attendees and prospects which was a nice change. The lovely Bonny Roberts also had her HIStalk beauty queen sash on display.


I stopped by to watch Inga play Quipstar at the Medicomp booth. Although she didn’t win, she did score a $1,000 donation to her favorite charity. Thanks to Medicomp for allowing us to be their celebrity contestants and for their support of worthy causes. Of course Inga had her usual security detail – two handsome men in black who made sure Inga’s many admirers kept a safe distance. Although they didn’t have the shoe-cam this year, she was sporting some sassy heels with bows on the toes.

Inga and I sampled some of the Tuesday afternoon cocktail hours including Aventura, FormFast, and Sunquest. Tuesday night I hit a couple of parties including PatientSafe Solutions and the Athena Cloud Party. I had several others on my dance card, but the distance between Universal CityWalk, Downtown Disney, and Pointe Orlando was pretty daunting. Roving reporters let me know that the band at Greenway was good and the NextGen clients were having a great time at Pub Orlando.


Orchard had a large tree in their booth. I liked the crates as well. After so much walking around, I needed a break, so I went back to find the quiet sofa on the fourth floor that I had spotted on Monday. Unfortunately today there were several screens blaring a HIMSS14TV broadcast that no one was watching. It was kind of annoying.


I missed the #HITchicks tweetup, but Lorre brought me some swag from the event, which was much appreciated. I’m a little jealous of her non-anonymity because she’s had some great networking opportunities at the booth. Inga and I stopped by several times over the last few days and there seemed to be a lot of others passing by as well.


Imprivata had various different people presenting in its booth with its realistic care setting. On one pass through the area, they had these folks dressed as care team members. I generally don’t like people trying to act like doctors and nurses even if it is in the name of marketing. At least if you’re going to do it, make it more realistic. Their scrubs should be rumpled, they should have overstuffed pockets, and they should look much more haggard.


Siemens had an awesome presentation using a dynamic array of tablets to display content. One attendee commented that he didn’t know anything about their products but the presentation was amazing.


CMS had a relatively large booth with virtually no one in it. Your tax dollars at work, folks. Speaking of tax dollars, on Tuesday ONC released a new Data Brief reporting results from the 2012 ONC Consumer Survey on Privacy and Security. The data was gathered from a telephone survey of 2,000 adults conducted in 2012. That’s not a tremendous sample size and the writeup makes it look like there were only four questions asked, so I wonder why it took so long to release the data? If anyone has insight, let me know.

Wednesday was a short day for me due to an early flight home. I really wanted to stay through Thursday to hear keynote speaker Erik Weihenmayer, but work responsibilities and the lack of a hotel room for Wednesday night conspired against me. I’ve heard him before, and if you can spare the time, he delivers an extremely compelling story. Although I do enjoy HIMSS it’s just exhausting and I can’t wait to get home to my own bed.

Dr. Gregg’s HIMSS Report

HIMSS this year was a short, fast blur. Well, for me anyway. I made a fairly late decision to go when Lorre wrote to ask if I might be able to help out at the sponsor dinner and the all-new HIStalk HIMSS booth. It’s a tough thing for a solo doc to take time away from practice, so I was thinking of skipping it. But I like being able to connect in live mode with old friends, see the latest HIT tech, hear new and fresh (or sometimes even old and stale) vendor pitches, but mostly I enjoy supporting the HIStalk efforts.

Flying in later Sunday afternoon, I made it in time for the 2014 HIStalk Sponsor Dinner. It was held at the same place as last time HIMSS was in Orlando, Maggiano’s. There’s a good reason for the repeat booking: Maggiano’s does a great job. They have a lovely place and make spectacular dishes. (The stuffed mushroom caps were divine.) Despite Mr. H’s less-than-happy take on the turnout, it was a very enjoyable event.

By the way, Mr. H, I had several vendor folks tell me later that they regretted not making it, but they had legit reasons such as booth set up issues that kept them tied up until the dinner was over or they had out-of-their-hands air travel delays. Lorre did a very nice job arranging the dinner and her HIStalk mugs were a real hit, both there and at the booth.

I hope Mr. H rethinks not holding it. It’s a nice gesture of appreciation for the generous HIStalk sponsors (and saying “thanks” isn’t about getting a “you’re welcome,” right?) Maybe it gets arranged a little differently, perhaps more casually next time, but I’d offer one suggestion more: Mr. H, Inga, and Dr. Jayne should make an appearance as they did last time we were at Maggiano’s. Their anonymous allure is certainly a special draw.

The HIStalk booth was an undeniable hit. For a small, first-time booth back in the uncharted regions of the HIMSS exhibit hall hinterlands, it had a slew of traffic. Lots of folks made a point to hike back just to say “Hi” and “Thanks for what you guys do.” Lorre did such a great job. The HIStalk swag including buttons and mugs and tattoos and magnets were snatched up by many/most who visited. The traffic was so remarkable that nearby vendors eyed the booth covetously. Lorre told me one looked over after a while and said, “Who are you guys? Why do you get such great traffic?” Booth envy.

Speaking of Lorre – what a gem! I had not met her before Sunday’s dinner, but I gotta tell you, she is a real delight. If you haven’t had the honor, you’ve a treat in store. Smart, pleasant, and just plain nice. Her one flaw may be that she’s too humble. (Wait… that’s not a flaw; that’s refreshing!) Mr. H found a real keeper.

As I mentioned, my time was very limited, but I got to know the vendor landscape early on helping Lorre deliver the HIStalk sponsor signs. (Shame on those who neglected to display them!) The exhibits are overwhelming at first. It takes a trip or three before you can really discern wheat from chaff. I can’t honestly say that I saw anything that really knocked my socks off. Lots of (too much) chatter about data analytics and population health. Minimal, if any, Meaningful Use hubbub. (thank goodness.) A dearth of “wow” overall, though there were some cool things to see.

I took another look at CareCloud. Got a great demo (thanks, Brian) and spoke with Brad and John (big CC wigs) about some of the cool stuff they’re developing. I also got a view at the next phase for athenahealth. It’s definitely a good direction for them. Thanks to Pierre and Maria and the nice Athena folks who showed me their new UI (and for the new Kindle!) Jonathan Bush was not around, off in Sochi at last spotting.

I enjoyed a couple of rounds of Quipstar at the Medicomp booth. FYI: Inga was robbed; she actually would have won on total points, but they missed that she had been first to respond on a question. Nevertheless, she and her charity made out. As did all the charities and those participants who walked away with cash or iPads. The illustrious James Aita (no longer with Medicomp having returned to his Canuck roots working at Idea Couture) flew in for a command performance and yet again gave Alex Trebek a run for the money as a game show emcee. Heck, the whole crew, including Cindy and Shannon at Thomas Wright Partners and Patrice of Bzzz Productions, does a really nice job with that event.

Speaking of Medicomp, their CEO, Dave Lareau, walked me over and introduced me to “Marck and Mark” at Clinical Architecture. They do a middleware mapping and a form of NLP (it isn’t really natural language processing, more a “terminology processing”) thing that is simply amazing. They create more connections than eHarmony. Truly awe-inspiring, cool stuff that will undoubtedly have a huge effect on indexing and connecting all this disparate data we’re now digitizing.

I was really lucky running into the guys (Omar, Rufi, and Asad) from Panacea EHR. They are some of my favorite folks – really nice and trying to things for the right reasons. They didn’t opt for a booth and were just taking meetings and checking the floor – a pretty good, more cost-effective idea for a smaller vendor, in my opinion.

I enjoyed seeing lots of good folks, such as Dr. Travis who was there in the Startup Showcase with his new company, Catalyze, and Amy Gleason, Travis Bond, et al, from CareSync, also in the Startup Showcase. (CareSync won the top honors in contest there, but I’m sorry, I don’t remember the contest’s name.) It was great seeing Dr. Lyle who was even more bubbly than usual since his new company, healthfinch and their RefillWizard are performing magically, by all counts.

Of course, my cohorts from Health Nuts Media were roaming the hall, too. It’s weird; for as often as we speak, HIMSS is one of the few times I get to actually see them live and in person.

There’s a laundry list of friendly folks I won’t have time to mention much – such as Jason from Health Care Dataworks, Andrea and Fred from the Ohio Health Information Partnership, Marcy from Fleisher Communications, and more – with whom I really enjoyed getting a little face time.

For anyone I didn’t mention, please know I still really enjoyed connecting. And, for all the folks who took time to stop by the booth or stop me somewhere else to chat or share kind HIStalk words, thanks!

Though I doubt the Twittersphere noticed, I didn’t get to tweet (or take any pix) as my phone’s battery started dying on Sunday and wouldn’t hold a charge well. It was actually sort of nice not being too plugged in for a bit!

Lastly, as I was getting ready to fly out Tuesday night, I got to enjoy a nice dinner and some super conversation when we held little impromptu pediatric geek get together. CMIOs from Ivy League and top-ranked hospitals sharing with trench grunt peds. Thanks to Drs. Andy Spooner and Allen Hsiao for the great time.

HIMSS for the little guy: too big, too fast… and too fun!

From the trenches…

"Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” – Frank A. Clark

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: Athenahealth KLAS score

    I can’t help but feel a massive sense of schadenfreude at Epic after Athenahealth has overtaken them in KLAS scores. They had it coming for a long time – their lower hiring standards and constant turnover have finally taken its toll. Will Judy keep on bragging about Epic’s KLAS score in monthly staff meeting now that they’re #2?

  2. Re: From Soft Skills Are Key: “Re: consultants. When will vendors learn that consultants are not the enemy? We approached the SCC Soft booth at HIMSS, introduced ourselves to the booth sales rep, and asked if we could see a quick glimpse of his product. We explained to him that we we’re consultants and wanted to familiarize ourselves with their product at the interest of our clients. The sales guy’s response, along with the stone-cold stare, was, ‘I don’t see the point,’, and then walked away. Soft Lab, ‘Yes’, but Soft Skills, ‘No.’”

    I’m a consultant and get attitude from the vendor all the time. Not so much those I work with directly, but from those who are back at headquarters who don’t see the day-to-day work we consultants do to make the vendor look a little better in the client’s eyes instead of agreeing with them that yes, this product leaves a lot to be desired.

  3. Lorre and Dr. Gregg were both awesome. We were really impressed with both of them, the HIStalk happy hour Sunday, the HIStalk booth, and the HIStalk coverage of HIMSS. Thank you for a great week. We really appreciate the value that you add to this event and HIT.

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