100% agree about the remote employees - particularly in health care. If you think you can 100% work from home…
The conference was pretty dead today. Even Epic’s booth had basically nobody in it except a few employees. Some booths were already cleared out as practicality outweighed the HIMSS policy that requires booth tear-down only after the hall closes at 4:00. Everybody’s mind was on getting safely home.
Supplies of conference totes are ample if anyone needs one or 25.
Siemens Healthineers had a huge booth that was almost empty today, although I seem to recall that it had some decent traffic earlier in the week.
Thanks to Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) for a hot doughnut that I accessorized with lava-hot pistachio sauce and tutti-frutti. NOTE: a reader found that the doughnuts were provided by InterSystems, which I should have suspected since I remember its Wall of Doughnuts at HIMSS19.
I liked this tee shirt from Vivify Health, which offers remote patient monitoring tools.
I stood in the hot, bright sun for a few minutes waiting for this rotating video display to hit the CoverMyMeds banner again after I saw it flash by. You can see the splashing of the fountain between the Wynn and Palazzo at the lower right.
I asked HIMSS for in-person attendance at HIMSS21, which they are supposed to be sending me, hopefully with an explanation of how the count was derived (registered or actually showed up to get a badge, exhibitors versus non-exhibitors, etc.) I only care about in-person, paid attendance excluding exhibitor passes.
A-Rod has probably faced more DEA agents than the number of audience members he’ll see in his 1:15 p.m. Friday session called “Mindset of a Champion,” with that mindset apparently being that it’s OK to cheat by using performance-enhancing drugs and then lie about it as long as the personal payoff is significant. If anyone actually sticks around to hear what he has to say, please take a photo of the audience since anything other than a tiny turnout would be shocking given the time slot. I understand that he’s a celebrity entrepreneur and all, which seems easier when you start out with a few hundred million dollars, but I don’t see the healthcare connection. I’m sure HIMSS paid dearly to get Patrick Dempsey, Rainn Wilson, and A-Rod to add star power along with minimal relevance.
Someone who wasn’t at HIMSS21 tweeted that they had heard that a bunch of exhibitor staff were unmasked. I saw nothing of the sort — with maybe one or two exceptions that may well have been short term, everybody I saw was responsible. That wasn’t necessarily true outside the HIMSS velvet ropes, although even there compliance was pretty good. I got invaded a second time by someone unmasked crashing into the hotel elevator as the door was closing (perhaps the disdain for others extends from not mask-wearing to refusing to politely wait for the next elevator), to the annoyance of the other passengers who were all masked up but trapped.
I pressed even harder against the back wall of the elevator since I had just heard from a relative who got COVID-19 during a group camping trip this week, one of at least 10 people there who have tested positive after spending time in a nearby bar. All of them had been vaccinated. The symptoms are apparently miserable, and while the odds of hospitalization or death are low for those who are vaccinated and thus have a “mild” case, the chance of experiencing long COVID symptoms is maybe 20%. Another set of relatives, a family of four who had decided that vaccination was unnecessary, just messaged that two of them have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (one of them is a child) and a third is now showing symptoms. At this point, you’re either going to get vaccinated or you’re going to get COVID, and regrets from the former are minimal while those of the latter are sometimes expressed in writing while dying on a ventilator.
A couple of folks asked about the after-hours party risk from attending HIMSS. I did not attend anything outside the conference areas and ate only at uncrowded restaurants whose tables were widely spaced, but I walked by the bar-restaurants in the Palazzo and Venetian (like Sugarcane and Chica) and they were wall-to-wall crammed with HIMSS attendees who were displaying the behavior that makes bars a hotbed of viral spread — leaned-in and loud conversations (lots of vocal cord spray), no masks, no spacing, and extended periods of close contact. That wouldn’t be too bad if it were just conference-goers of known vaccination status, but at least one of the packed venues was not closed to the public at the time. HIMSS can’t control conditions outside its boundaries, but I assume that some of those folks are going back to work at hospitals — many of them overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients — and I hope they will either get tested or isolate before going anywhere near patients or caregivers.
Something to consider for HIMSS22 or other conferences that limit attendance to vaccinated people. Require exhibitors sign a form that they won’t have after-hours events unless they are held in venues that are closed off to the general public (in Orlando, unlike Las Vegas, I believe that HIMSS controls the entire hotels). Arrange some kind of dining options that don’t require exiting the vaccination bubble — discounted room service, outside food delivery with conference rooms for group eating to scratch the socializing itch, or ballroom-type food service accessible only by badge — and include bar service. Leave the bubble if you want, but you aren’t required to given provided options. Feeding attendees in the exhibit hall like an extended happy hour would be a win-win with exhibitors. Basically to keep live conferences from becoming superspreader events and thus risking cancellation, you have to control more than just the meeting rooms and give your attendees easy ways to avoid people who are unmasked and possibly unvaccinated. And perhaps give them an easy way to take a COVID test before they return to work. News item: RSNA just announced that it will require vaccination and masks.
A couple of companies ask Lorre to stop by to say hello and she wants me to give a shout-out specifically to Nordic, who welcomed her like a queen when she dropped by wearing her now-vintage HIStalk tee shirt. Nordic has been a longtime supporter and several of its executives rushed over to chat and make her feel welcome.
I got an overview of Telemedicine 911, which allow telemedicine providers whose patient experiences an emergency during their session (like a heart attack or stroke) to get in direct connection with the patient’s 911 emergency services dispatcher and send details or patient background. The nurse practitioner who was working in the booth said she once had a patient say they intended to harm themselves during a telehealth visit, she asked the patient if it was OK if she sent some help, and she got in direct contact with the 911 team in the patient’s local area so they could respond.
The folks at PORTL got in touch after I mentioned that their hologram technology was interesting, but nobody would explain it in the booth of its partner Avaya. They offered a private showing that I declined, but here’s a video of how University of Central Florida’s medical school is using it to allow students to diagnose 3D patients. The technology has been used for the Emmys red carpet and for musical performances.
I’ll be back to normal posting this weekend, where I’ll ask for feedback about both versions of HIMSS21. HIMSS22 is just seven months away.