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From HIMSS 8/11/21

August 11, 2021 News 3 Comments

It’s Day 2 of HIMSS21. It was even quieter and less crowded than yesterday. I bet some vendor folks have already headed home and I’m sure luggage will be carefully hidden within booth confines tomorrow for afternoon dashes to the airport.

Meanwhile, here’s what is happening with COVID-19 in Florida, the home (maybe) of HIMSS22 seven months from now. UPDATE: a reader correctly noted that CDC initially posted inflated case count data for Monday in failing to adjust for Florida’s Monday through Friday only reporting, but this hospitalization data was correct since it was a snapshot. Florida’s hospitals have more than 15,000 COVID-19 patients in beds, representing 28% of their overall capacity, and 3,100 COVID-19 patients are in their ICUs. Florida also has the highest rate of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US, with 8.1 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 2.2.

I heard several thought leaders claim today that their pet topic (virtual visits, cybersecurity, whatever) “has to change,” which always leads me to question why they think it “has” to change versus their desire that it change for reasons reasons self-serving or otherwise. These are the only healthcare change factors that I’m aware of, in order of least to most potency:

  • It’s the right thing to do.
  • Patients would like to see things done differently.
  • Patients will seek competitive alternatives if the change isn’t made.
  • Changing will increase profit.
  • The change is required by law.

Change Healthcare has one of the busier booths in the hall.

Avaya’s hologram thing was cool, but the reps were too busy looking at each other and their phones to tell me its purpose even after I stood around expectantly for a couple of minutes with nobody else around.

Here’s a footwear combo that I think Dr. Jayne will like.

Smart marketing — you have probably seen and remember this guy in the “please scan me” suit adorned with QR codes. It’s for data company MDACA. It reminds me of the old days when provocatively clad pairs of ladies would roam the hall wearing “follow me” shirts hoping that eyes-bulging attendees (mostly male, presumably) would follow them like lemmings. Companies would justifiably be called out instantly if they tried that kind of stunt today. This is a more clever and subtle variation and the guy was very nice when I chatted with him.

I like this “tiny house within a booth” concept for meeting space, TeleTracking in this case. Leg room is apparently challenging, at least beyond the first leg.

This vendor got a huge booth, but then again, they are also putting on the conference. HIMSS has a lot of space to tout their own offerings in their exhibit hall.

All but one of the booth folks I talked to said that while traffic is way down, they are having good conversations. The other exhibitor — who is CEO of a smallish company — said the lack of people was awful, he felt ripped off by HIMSS, and anyone saying otherwise was just trying to put a positive spin on a bad situation. I’ll survey readers after it’s all over for their thoughts and to see what conclusions they take into HIMSS22.

The good news for smaller exhibitors is that they aren’t lost in the shuffle of massive booths, armies of big-company employees, and highly publicized announcements. This version of the HIMSS conference felt more like an even playing field where even small-booth vendors could earn some attention.

It occurred to me that the HIMSS Bookstore isn’t here, so maybe it’s no longer a thing. I can’t say I ever bought any books there and some of its tomes were self-stroking vanity works, but I sometimes stopped in.

I had a brief chat with Sandeep Jain, MD, founder and CEO of ListenMD. The company offers a distraction-free doctor messaging app that allows both message sender and recipient to set deliverability preferences. It also allows the medical practice to set recipients and times for receiving messages from patients.

I acted on a company tweet to check out Nationwide Medical Licensing, which offers a turnkey service to license physicians and other professionals in multiple states, which is keeping them busy due to telemedicine. They also work for companies that need to get their doctors licensed in additional states, taking care of the forms and documentation and returning a simple file containing everything that is required. They also do physician credentialing. I am fascinated that CEO Alexis McGuire worked for the Brevard Zoo (UPDATE: fixed, I originally wrote Broward) in Florida until late 2018 while also working her way up from receptionist at NML.

J.J. Richa, CEO of Quality Care Metrics, gave me a quick booth overview of its Deep Empathy patient questionnaire solution. Patients answer psychology-based questions (not so obvious as “do you have suicidal thoughts”) that assess pain levels and psychological issues and report back to the clinician, including telehealth providers.

I chatted briefly with the folks from Clearstep, which offers automated a healthcare screening and routing triaging type solution that is used by CVS Health, BayCare, and HCA Healthcare. It also delivers population health insights on the back end and has been used for COVID-19 screening.

I took a look at Hyro‘s conversational solutions Adaptive Communications Platform, which it says is more effective than intent-based chatbots and IVR systems. It has impressive nameplate customers such as Weill Cornell (where it was developed), SCL Health, and Novant Health.


From Cornwall: “Re: HIMSS coverage I have been in the industry for about 10 years and have read HIStalk, on the days it is published, all of that time. HIStalk is by far the best HIT source that I read. I appreciate the amount of effort that you put into this as well as how steadfast you are about your anonymity given the quality of the work. Have a great HIMSS.” Thank you. I went anonymous after almost getting fired from my hospital job for being too honest about our vendors even though I was scrupulous about not using any information I obtained from my IT leadership job. In addition, I have no interested in turning into a narcissistic talking head or trading tepid fame for for cash, so being anonymous means there’s no temptation for journalistic impropriety. I even attend HIMSS anonymously, changing up names, using a low-level job titles like “intern” and claiming made-up employers so that I get no special treatment, which sometimes means I get ignored completely.

Accenture, which sells cybersecurity services, is hit by a ransomware attack. The hackers say they will publish company data publicly if they don’t pay up.

1upHealth offers to test the patient access APIs of health plans at no charge to see if they meets CMS requirements to connect with third-party developers.

Verizon’s BlueJeans Telehealth virtual health app will allow users of IOS devices to share their IOS-only Apple Health record with telehealth providers after the upcoming IOS 15 upgrade is installed. I’ve never heard of BlueJeans Telehealth and I loathe IOS-only patient apps (talk about running roughshod over health equity), but good for them I guess. UPDATE: Verizon reached out to say the Apple Health integration is actually already available with IOS 14 and that they recognize the limitations of an IOS-only solution and are working on more integration. Verizon was scheduled to exhibit at HIMSS21 with more information but decided to opt out. I appreciate that update. BlueJeans, I learned by Googling, was a year-ago collaboration tool acquisition by Verizon for $500 million and the telehealth offering was announced four months ago.



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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Thought the same on small vendors getting a shot vs overshadowed. Why was everything so far away?!!! Sessions were canceled and they couldn’t consolidate? Event the exhibit halls – seemed worse going back and forth to Caesars forum – and confusion over where that was. Ellkay also had a booth that stayed full – free alcohol helps! Upside able to get a restaurant table. Not sure about 6 months from now committing to doing this again in Orlando – we’ll see

  2. IOS Only solution for HealthApp sharing…

    Yah, I see that as a problem, however I also see that IOS is the only solution that has significant validation in their third party apps on their platform. They are aggressive and diligent in how they validate their apps whereas the Android platform has been a little too lax. They are also very aggressive about ensuring their FHIR calls are correct and accurate.

    That is important because of the number of malware apps that have been placed in the Android store, if there was data to target then those apps would be focused on fooling the ‘verification’ teams so they could access that data.

    I haven’t looked at the V&V for the Android programs in a year or so. They may have gotten better, at the time I wasn’t comfortable with the state of their art.

    Just an observation







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