If I thought yesterday was an overwhelming 16 hours of HIMSS-related events, today was even more packed. I started the day with a couple of standing client calls. It’s important for those of us that are here to remember that for the rest of the health IT community, time marches on and no one really cares whether we’re at HIMSS or not.
Fortunately, both of my clients are doing well and the calls were brief, allowing me to use the time zone change to my advantage and still make it to the exhibit hall close to opening. Crowds seemed lighter today and I felt much less like I was trapped in a salmon run.
I had the opportunity to check out Aprima’s new patient portal, which was aesthetically pleasing with very little clutter. They have solid features and are planning to add more during upcoming releases. We had a good discussion about the difficulties of developing a patient portal, including the requirements for proxy users and the difficulty of handling data for pediatric patients. They definitely understand the challenges and I’m looking forward to seeing how their product evolves over the next year.
One of the other areas I focused on today was Chronic Care Management documentation for ambulatory EHRs. For those of you not in that space, Medicare came out with a new billing code last year that allows providers to bill an additional $42 per month for care management services for patients meeting certain criteria involving chronic diseases. Each vendor seems to have its own spin on how to handle the documentation (there are time thresholds that must be met) as well as how to identify patients for the service in the first place.
I didn’t see any vendor with as robust documentation as I would have liked to, but that reflects the slow uptake in the market for the new code. Patients have to consent to enrollment and usually end up paying around $8/month in coinsurance, so adoption has been slow in some markets.
I met up for lunch with a handful of my favorite women and one of them was packing these fetching flats for later in the day. Due to my broken toe from earlier in the week, I’ve had to resort to some less-fashionable shoe choices, but it was nice to live vicariously through her.
I was also busy today attending sessions. Most of them were sparsely attended and it didn’t seem like the rooms were particularly well matched to the number of attendees. I’ve been to several other conferences where attendees are asked to register their session preferences in advance to the planners can right-size the rooms for the expected audience. One presenter commented that this was the largest room he’s ever spoken in especially given the number of people present. I think there were about 20 people in a ballroom that would seat several hundred. He did a great job with his material, but included a couple of off-color jokes, which would have been better left unsaid.
I haven’t been able to hit nearly the number of sessions I had planned. Rumor has it that HIMSS will be posting the sessions to their website so we can complete the continuing education requirements after the fact. Hopefully they’ll be posted soon because I’d like to cross Maintenance of Certification off my list for the rest of the year. I had the chance to connect with a couple of fellow clinical informaticists and swap war stories, which is one of the main reasons I like to come to meetings like this.
I always love Epic’s artwork, including this bottle-cap wearing unicorn and a musical cow. I overheard a couple of attendees commenting about the adult coloring books at Aventura. Kudos to them for tapping into a current trend and having a give-away that was definitely out of the box.
I’ve been plagued by dry skin on this trip, requiring a trip to the store for better moisturizer. I forgot my lip balm at the hotel so spent a bit of the afternoon scouring the hall for another tube. NextGen didn’t disappoint with their high-end giveaway and the mesh bag will be perfect for corralling cords in my bag. I know Mr. H mentioned the apparent lack of recycling and I’m always happy to see something I can reuse. I know some hotels do recycle and do the sorting for you, but I haven’t seen anything about that practice on the signage at the expo center or at my hotel.
IMO had some technical tee shirts at their booth. I’ll be enjoying mine as I continue to hit the treadmill during the rest of the winter. They also hosted a reception tonight at Hyde, located right on Lake Bellagio. The views of the fountains were stunning and I was impressed by the understated elegance of the event.
Tonight seemed like the busiest night for vendor events, with offerings from Nordic, Athena, NextGen, Greenway, and a host of others. It seemed like the events were shorter this year than in the past, with many of them only scheduled for two hours. The tight timeline and spread-out nature of the venues made it difficult to get to all of them although I did give it a fighting try.
I’ve never been able to make it to a Greenway event because it usually conflicts with HIStalkapalooza, but due to the date shift this year I finally made it happen. I’m glad I did because it was the best party of the night. Held at the OMNIA nightclub at Caesar’s, it featured a good selection of food and some sassy bling-handled cake pops. The DJ had the party hopping and it continued well past the published end time, with wait staff continuing to circulate for drink orders and offering water to those of us that were starting to wind down. Their photo booth was busy all night, and since it was open and in the middle of the action, we got quite a few laughs.
I met up with a good friend for a nightcap, although I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted. Luckily he understood my need to go back and finish writing as well as to try to catch up on the hundreds of emails I haven’t been fielding for the last few days. Jet lag has definitely set in but I hope to sleep in a little tomorrow.