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March 5, 2020 News 7 Comments

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HIMSS cancels HIMSS20 at the recommendation of its medical advisory panel. The panel advised HIMSS that frequently updated coronavirus reports from WHO and CDC were making it hard to predict the risk to attendees, plus many of those attendees are frontline healthcare workers who would be taken away from their jobs to attend.

CHIME events scheduled for next week are also cancelled.

HIMSS20 will not be rescheduled due to the logistics involved. HIMSS will provide updates on any reimbursement of registration and hotel expenses. Exhibitors will be contracted with further information about their exhibit contracts.

HIMSS does not plan to make the scheduled sessions available virtually. It is working with the White House to make the contents of President Trump’s scheduled speech available.

HIMSS21 will be held in Las Vegas March 1-5, 2021.

Reader Comments

From HIMSSHappy: “Re: HIMSS20. Anyone know where I can get several thousand backpacks cheap?” Hopefully whoever was providing them can find schools in Orlando or in their home city to donate them. That’s a lot of backpacks. I’m getting reports that companies are donating their HIMSS20 items to Orlando area schools, homeless shelters, or other organizations, which is a great way to repurpose hand sanitizer, wipes, and other useful items. I will publicize the contacts for organizations interested in accepting these donations if someone knows. I would also like to shine a favorable light on companies that make these donations, so let me know.

From Denote This: “Re: HIMSS20. Imagine the economic effect on Orlando.” It will be significant, especially for those people who are in the service industry and are paid – probably not very well, possibly on contract – to staff the convention center, hotels, restaurants, bars, and meeting venues that were booked up with HIMSS20 business that now won’t need them. It’s not just HIMSS20, though, or not even just conferences in general. COVID-19 could be a bigger killer to businesses than to people with supply chain interruptions, reduced travel, lost work time, people staying home to care for kids whose school is cancelled, etc. Not to mention the inevitable stacks of provider bills that will be generated by any resulting healthcare encounter. 

From Bellboy: “Re: HIMSS hotels. We’re already seeing fallout on getting refunds with finger-pointing between OnPeak and the hotel. I called OnPeak, they told me to call Hilton Orlando, they sent me back to OnPeak. It’s a complete mess, possibly newsworthy, and I’m sure thousands of others are experiencing the same.” I’ll invite readers to share their experience or suggestions.

From EHR Guy: “Re: hospital in Dubai. Decided to replace Meditech with Cerner. This is ironic since this customer had Meditech for years and only made this move when 2019 was the best year for Meditech in years with more than 30 hospital wins while Cerner lost 9,000 beds.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Wednesday was the busiest day in HIStalk history by far, with my server refusing new connections at some points due to overload. The final count was 24,385 page views in 19,697 unique visits. Thursday’s total might beat it – I’ll let you know.


I assumed that I would eat the pre-paid expense for my Orlando Airbnb condo next week from cancelling on short notice, but I checked the site on the off chance that I might get a little something back. I was surprised to be immediately credited $821 of my $915, which was everything except the service charge (in other words, Airbnb kept its full share, but the host got nothing). Hopefully those who booked hotels through HIMSS or otherwise will fare equally well. I might have taken an Orlando vacation if I was paying for the condo anyway, posting write-ups and photos from the convention center and Pointe Orlando of the “what might have been” category. It would be kind of bittersweet to be there, actually.

I’m really happy I decided to end HIStalkapalooza a few years back. Tight contracts for the facility and band would have left me destitute next week, sitting alone in the House of Blues enjoying a one-person buffet, drowning my sorrows at the open bar, and listening to Party on the Moon imploring me to get up and dance.


We’re in uncharted waters in skipping a HIMSS conference, so I’m interesting in hearing from companies that were exhibiting – what effect will the cancellation have on your organization in terms of expense, strategy, marketing, plans for HIMSS21, etc.? Some vendors spend the majority of their marketing money and effort on the HIMSS conference and I’m wondering what they do now. At least the big announcements that always hit on the first conference day will get more attention.

Meanwhile, if you’re an HIStalk sponsor and are taking your HIMSS20 presentations virtual, let me know and I’ll put together a schedule or something. We’re also ready as always to take on new sponsors or webinar presenters given that the HIMSS20 won’t be providing the expected exposure. 


March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


The bio of MDLive CEO Rich Berner has been removed from the company’s executive page, apparently confirming his unannounced departure as reported here last week. The bio of board chair Charles S Jones now has the CEO title added.


American Well will announce Tuesday that it is changing its name to Amwell, which is what most people call it anyway. 

Ro, formerly known as Roman — which started off selling Viagra and Rogaine by mail — is testing a service in which it will provide 500 common generic meds for $5 per month, including shipping. That doesn’t seem sustainable, at least until it makes a big splash that results in someone overpaying to acquire the company, but meanwhile it’s a direct shot at PillPack, Walmart, and others.

Allscripts announces Veradigm AccelRx, a software solution for specialty medication management.


  • Cerner awards Vecna Technologies a contract to integrate its patient self-service platform with the VA’s Cerner EHR. Vecna offers self-registration and scheduling, express check-in, tablet registration, and workflow administration.



Urgent care EHR/PM vendor Experity hires Kernie Brashier (Payspan) as CTO.


Travis Bond (CareSync) joins muscle pain app vendor Fern Health as CEO.


Jon Scholl, president of the health group of Leidos, will leave the company to perform church service and mission work.

Announcements and Implementations

Wolters Kluwer will integrate its data quality solutions with SAS Health’s analytics platform to drive the use of real-world evidence for life sciences.


PerfectServe releases a new version of its cloud-based Nurse Mobility solution that includes a VoIP dialer for voice communication, creating a single inbox for all calls, secure messages, and integrated alerts.


Mount Carmel Health System (OH) will pay a $400,000 fine to the state board of pharmacy for allowing overrides to its medication dispensing cabinets that resulted in 25 patient deaths from narcotics that were ordered by one of the hospital’s intensivists. The doctor is awaiting trial on 25 counts of murder, two pharmacists were fined for verifying his fatal doses of fentanyl without question, and 25 nurses face disciplinary action.

The Economist says that COVID-19 is boosting China’s use of telemedicine, with some platforms reporting a tenfold increase due to full hospitals, fear of infection, and government encouragement. Some telemedicine vendors are winning over the public by offering free online consultations.

Sponsor Updates

  • Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its “Health IT February 2020 Insights.”
  • Frost & Sullivan honors Greenway Health with its North American Ambulatory Revenue Cycle Management Customer Value Leadership Award.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advises AlertMD in its acquisition by Evercommerce.
  • Lightbeam Health Solutions releases a new edition of its “Pop Health Podcast.”
  • Redox releases its latest podcast featuring Regina Holliday and the Walking Gallery.
  • Surescripts issues a statement regarding COVID-19.

Blog Posts



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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. I’m conflicted by all of this. HIMSS did make the right decision. I had decided independently last night that I wasn’t going to attend. It was the optics of it all. Healthcare workers at a convention where were we home would have advised our patients to be more prudent. That said, I miss catching up with friends. This is our annual meet-and-greet. But I couldn’t justify a week in the sun to see friends, particularly after nearly every single one of the vendors I had appointments with had cancelled earlier in the day or this week.

  2. Any guesses as to whether the marketing campaigns be turned off or will we continue to see emails, tweets and posts inviting us to “Stop in and see us in Booth 12345.”

  3. With respect to using automation software on EMR’s, heard Epic contractually bans customers from using automation. Confirmed that with another automation vendor. Is that true for every Epic customer? Anyone had Epic challenge their use of automation?


    • As you accurately concluded, a third party automation vendor would not be an authoritative source on Epic’s contract terms with Epic’s customers. So kudos to you for seeking verification rather than accepting what you were told.

      Questions like this come up somewhat frequently: “Epic’s contracts say this” or, “Epic’s contracts forbid that”, or “Epic’s contracts require this”. Most of the time what happens is that the people with the actual knowledge of and access to the contracts chime in and you get a chorus of “ours doesn’t”.

  4. Same experience as Bell Boy in trying to cancel hotel at HIMSS. Hotel tells me to call HIMSS housing partner – before you leave the call, make sure you ask for a hotel receipt so you can file your expense reports if you’ve already paid. Call the number and listen to a recorded message which will tell you to send an email to himss20attendeerefund@himss.org, let them know who you are, the hotel you’re booked in, your intent to cancel due to the conf cancellation. They promise to communicate back within 14 days letting us know if there’s any refund.

  5. Jamadan, I’m not aware of that requirement in our contract; I’ve seen some threads on the userweb talking about using eggplant to interact with hyperspace, so they’re certainly not squashing conversation about it on their forum.

  6. That picture of the ” my Orlando Airbnb condo” above looks like Vista Cay? That’s where me and Exec Director of organization I serve stayed last year and were scheduled to stay this year. Today, I too got an almost full refund except $50 VRBO fee. I was very surprised. And Southwest Airlines credits all money without any ‘change fee’ – and actually placed 50% of the airfare back on my credit card. So my client who reimburses my expenses is only out $50 (my registration was comped)

    Que bueno!

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