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Weekender 3/6/20

March 6, 2020 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • HIMSS cancels HIMSS20 at the recommendation of its medical advisory panel.
  • SymphonyAI Group acquires TeraRecon.
  • RevSpring acquires Loyale Healthcare
  • Allscripts misses Wall Street revenue and earnings estimates for Q4.
  • HIMSS announces that President Trump will become the first sitting president to address a HIMSS annual conference.
  • GoodRx apologizes and makes changes in response to a Consumer Reports investigation that found the prescription discount app shares patient information with 20 online companies.

Best Reader Comments

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. (Samantha Brown)

My latest realization was that, while I might be able to avoid getting coronavirus, the possibility (probability) of getting swept up in a blanket quarantine (there still aren’t enough test kits) would be hugely disruptive to my life and those of my colleagues who would have to cover for me. (Randy Bak)

I posted a tweet stream last night urging HIMSS to repurpose HIMSS20 along with other recommendations. This is a tough call. But after spending a couple of days poring over evolving data and reports, for me it comes down to this: we can’t stop the outbreak, but we can flatten the curve. Having tens of thousands of healthcare workers and healthcare focused companies who are not fully trained to interact safely aggregate in an alcohol-fueled networking gathering and then disperse globally is, mildly stated, unwise. Transforming the week into a smaller event targeted on building epidemic-focused tools and services could turn this into a vital component of the global strategy to address the need. (Ross Martin)

I’m assuming HIMSS themselves has event insurance, which may help them on costs, but wouldn’t help on revenues. (Nick Kagal)

A huge problem I can see with my company’s wellness program is that it relies on medical information being self reported by the user. I’m a low-level-grunt and have zero interest in wellness, but they give a $1,000 incentive; So I signed up and told the app all the “correct answers” [BMI of 23, zero alcohol, zero tobacco, zero caffeine, 110/60 blood pressure, sleep eight hours every night, etc.] Every day I go through the motions, telling the app what it wants to hear. I’m probably one of the most “engaged” with the program, but as with everything in the wellness industry, it’s not real. It’s just a scam to extract money out of my employer. (Jose)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. M in West Virginia, who asked for GoPro and MacBook accessories to support her special education students. She reports, “Thank you so very much for your most generous donation. My fifth grade students absolutely loved seeing our new equipment come in after our winter break. It made coming back to school a little more enjoyable for them. They especially loved all the accessories for their GoPro. This will allow them to make videos using a variety of different perspectives. They will create movies that will allow for easy transition for the upcoming fifth graders next year. They will be able to showcase the exciting events that happen at our middle school. Again, my students and I greatly appreciate your donation. You truly warmed our hearts!”


I decided to spend a bit of my Anonymous Vendor Executive’s money on Donors Choose teacher book requests since those donations are being matched dollar for dollar this week. I’m donating in honor of the lost HIMSS20 – for the HIMSS people who worked valiantly to make it happen only to see it cancelled, those presenters who spent a lot of time and energy preparing talks that won’t be delivered, and the companies who bet big on getting ROI from a now-cancelled event. I funded these projects:

  • A classroom library for the first grade class of Ms. D in Alton, TX.
  • A set of 12 books for Ms. B’s kindergarten class in Columbia, SC.
  • A set of 14 books for Ms. R’s kindergarten class in Fayetteville, NC.
  • A set of 20 history books for Ms. S’s third grade class in Kittanning, PA.
  • Novels for Ms. J’s middle school class in Bridgeport, CT.
  • Eight books on in inclusion and diversity for Ms. P’s elementary school class in Orlando, FL.
  • Civil rights books for Ms. W’s elementary school class in Greenville, SC.
  • Classroom library books for Ms. H’s elementary school class in Rantoul, IL.
  • Books for Ms. K’s elementary school class in Chicago, IL.
  • Books for the Autism Spectrum Disorder kindergarten class of Ms. L in Bakersfield, CA.
  • A set of 20 books for Ms. M’s elementary school class in Gallup, NM.

Ms. H responded almost immediately to say, “I am literally speechless right now! I am so happy my students are getting more books! They love to read, and will be thrilled! Thank you for your big heart and for helping my classroom! I can’t wait to tell them! Thank you SO much for everything! Reading IS rich!” Ms. S said, “WOW! Thank you so much for funding our project! I just told my kiddos & they CHEERED! They are so into these books, and I just LOVE how excited they get!””

Ms. P was eloquent in her thanks for inclusion and diversity books:

In today’s polarizing society, more emphasis needs to be paid to appreciating the differences in each of us. It’s these differences that makes us fundamentally human, and we should celebrate and not criticize this beautiful uniqueness. Thank you for giving me books that will teach my kids to value the beauty that lies within us all.

A nurse union’s coronavirus survey of 6,500 members finds that 70% say their hospital employer doesn’t have enough personal protective equipment to support any surge in patients, while just 44% say their employer has provided information about identifying and responding to potential cases.


A cosmetic surgeon gets three years of probation for ordering his staff to not call 911 for five hours after his 18-year-old breast augmentation patient stopped breathing while under anesthesia, leaving her in a vegetative state.


The Orlando paper covers the effect of two cancelled conferences, including HIMSS20, that would have brought 60,000 people to Central Florida. Orange County’s mayor says the area is low risk, vacationers are still coming to theme parks, and only 0.3% of the area’s 75 million annual visitors come from Level 3 countries. The HIMSS20 cancellation involves 94,500 hotel room nights and $113 million in economic impact. Cheerleading and volleyball competitions will draw 50,000 people to the convention center this weekend.


Audacious Inquiry worked with Orlando restaurant Cuba Libre to donate the food that was intended for its Wednesday networking reception to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.


A hospital nurse in Wuhan, China posts a photo of herself holding a sign that says, “Hope that my country will assign me a boyfriend when the Covid crisis is over.” Medical workers there are writing words of encouragement on their protective suits to motivate each other.


Also in Wuhan, a 20-something doctor asks an 87-year-old patient who had been hospitalized for a month if he wants to see the sun set.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Let me take the other tack. Perhaps this cancellation will prove the low ROI for staff time and money spent attending these shows. Maybe it is a wake up call for vendors, some of whom are compelled to go because “everyone else is” and they felt conspicuous by their absence.

    I’ve attended HIMSS almost every year as a booth/vendor between 1995 and 2017, and in direct charge of our effort about half of those times. This was with a Fortune50 company for 10 years, a couple of $50-60M rev companies, and as small as a $7M company.

    In none of those cases were our costs justified, nor did increased sales pay for it. The show is too large for anyone to be remembered in all the noise.

    I find there are two main reasons companies attend. Large mega vendors, and even the larger names use it as a current customer meet and greet, and a chance to take them to dinner/schmooze (which they should be doing the other 51 weeks of the year anyway).

    The other are startups looking for investors or partners. Most don’t return the next year. Due to HIMSS rules on booth location based on seniority (I don’t disagree, just noting), these newbies are relegated to the basement level in building 2, or on the back wall of row 2400, where no one seems to go.

    Every time I’m asked about conference attendance as a key marketing tool, I tell the company my views. Even during a couple of job interviews I went against what I thought they wanted to hear, but was surprised they agreed with me.

    I’m not saying having a booth at conferences is a total bust, but isn’t a major tool in revenue growth for the majority of attending companies. Yes, I’m sure I’ll get some push back from a few here where their effort pays off, but I’m betting it is a small slice of all vendors.

    Because it has affected one of the main conferences of any industry, perhaps this virus will cause a pause in vendor thinking, and we can return to a bit of marking sanity. Mr HIStalk is free to give my email privately to anyone who directly asks him for it, and I’d be happy to support my position.

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  • Obfuscator: This sounds like a cry for help. I don't know how I can help, but here's some resources with which I'm slightly familiar...
  • Samantha: I read all of these and Im at a total loss. I want out so bad but Im a mother of 3 and a wife and sister. Ifeel so compl...

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