Matthew Holt

HIMSS impressions

HIMSS is like a 4 day party with interesting conversations, meetings that I always miss (sorry RelayHealth & Ingenix—I owe ya both!), and usually a travel complication. This time I got there smoothly but missed my plane out while chatting with Mitch Work at the next door gate. I was going to be spending the night in Dallas but I got lucky and the next plane to DFW arrived early enough that I could rush to the SFO flight and make it home. Great to see my wife for the first time in two weeks!

I have about 10 longish interviews that will go up when the video gremlins give up, but here are a few impressions.

Busiest booth?: I think Cisco wins. Maybe it was HealthPresence, maybe the magician—but it was always packed. What I think it means is that mainstream Internet tools are now coming into health care (with some little tweeks). But as MrHISTalk says, putting all the big guys in the A hall was a mite unfair on the C side—although I got to both a little.

Most intruiging announcement?: Epocrates will release a hand-held and web-base EMR app for the iPhone and other handhelds. Why is that interesting? Because they already have 275,000 docs actively using their tool on a handheld, most on iPhones. If their tool’s any good you have to assume they have a great marketing advantage. If this succeeds there’s no way they remain independent in 18 months.

Most abuse heaped on a vendor?: GE not only wins HISTalk’s worst vendor but I met HIMSS CIO of the year Bill Spooner from Sharp in San Diego who pulled out Carecast and put in Cerner. I put words somewhat in Glen Tullman of Allscripts mouth but it’s clear that the other vendors are after GE for lack of dedication to healthcare—despite that huge marketing campaign. I’ll reserve judgment until we see what comes out of the Intermountain relationship.

Best party?: MeDecision had great food, great drinks, a nice apparently famous singer I’d never heard of, a fun fun crowd (admittedly most of whom I brought!) and huge whalesharks. Yes they had it in the Aquarium and it is amazing. I guess that’s where those non-profit Blues plans were hiding the money this year

Best drinking & rumor party?: HISTalk’s bash at Max’s lager. I arrived late just as Jonathan Bush was on stage slagging off Health 2.0 as a buzzword. Sadly “meaningful use” definitely is the buzzword at HIMMS and it won that category. But the real fun was when Judy Faulkner from Epic showed up and spent time chatting with Bush and the athenahealth crowd (and for some reason me too). It was Judy’s 4th function of the night she said, but she stayed a long time. athenahealth merges with Epic?  Stranger things have happened. (Interesting nugget I overheard. Judy said she had a deal with the Madison press to not put her picture in the paper in return for interview access as she wants to go out in town unrecognized. That’s power most in health care would love to have!)

Most interesting niche company you’ve never heard of whose CEO you randomly met at a party?: LiveProcess is a SaaS-based emergency preparedness tool. (I think CEO Nathaniel Weiss said) it has 500 hospitals paying $10K a year each with no customization.

Other interesting niche company?: CPM does CRM outbound marketing for hospitals and as nearly doubled in size during the downturn (video of them to come).

Bizzarrest moment?: Very drunk woman (at least I hope she was drunk) consistently leaning in and telling Allscripts’ Glen Tullman that his “party was crap”. Glen kept his poise, kept chatting with the others around, but did gently suggest that she could leave if she had somewhere better to go. For the record, Allscripts’ gang, the party was pretty good! Glen’s interview is coming later.

Most interesting philosophical chat?: Andy Weisenthal of Kaiser Permanente discussing how specialists are going to change entirely what they do now that everything in KP is online. One Hawaii endocrenologist is on a jihad to prevent diabetics ending up on dialysis—he’s completely reorganized how primary care docs treat their patients. It’s almost like his goal is to put himself out of a job. Andy said about Healthconnect’s finalization of the $6bn (?) implementation—”It’s not the end, it’s the start”.

Blogger with the best poise?: Dr Val Jones waiting for the boys to shut up on the “meet the bloggers” panel

Blogger with the worse poise?: Me, wolfing down Chinese food someone from HIMSS very kindly brought me while sitting on that same panel—it was being live broadcast from DrVal’s laptop at the time and my head was right in the shot! Sorry viewers, but I really really needed it.

Most unruly interviewees? Jonathan Bush (athenahealth) & Daniel Palestrant (Sermo) demanding free trips to Paris, grabbing the camera out of my hands, shouting each other down — not to mention Howard Dean, the AMA, and government officials with Falcons. But great fun and both hardcore aligned with the doctors. Interesting to see where that relationship goes this year.

Biggest trend? SaaS based workflow tools for doctors. Not the most money compared to whatever HIE integration actually is, but the most important. Ingenix, Epocrates, Practice Fusion, even Sage are getting into this.

Most pumped up government official? Aneesh Chopra leading the crowd in chants of “David, David” when Blumenthal came into the room!

Best presenter (& best co-presenter): Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of Health Populi. What, you had to ask?

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6 replies »

  1. Thanks for the shout out. HIMSS was a lot of fun – and full of surprises (like you winning the award for best cleavage?) I appreciate you helping me get a word in edgewise with the boys… And I hope Better Health will become a great conference coverage partner of yours in the future. 😉 Cheers!

  2. sorry to have been the food dealer that led to your having to claim the inglorious title of worse poise. SaaS and leveraging open source will lead the way toward addressing meaningful needs, changing the customer capture and throw them in proprietary prison model of software and bring value to small and large groups

  3. Few initial thoughts & observations:
    – Ambulatory was clearly overshadowed/overwhelmed but the 1-5 doc space remains wide open with only 2 vendors I spoke making a bit of traction in this space. Next 9 months will determine whether ARRA failed or not in this capacity because vendors have EMR adoption rates at 45-50% in 2 years with almost all of the growth occurring in the 1-5 doc space.
    – Community docs are not taking advantage of hospital-funding for EMRs because of one simple issue. They don’t want to be on the same PM system and let the hospital see all of their financials. Remains the biggest hurdle since Stark Safe Harbor was 1st announced.
    – Some more exotic service lines strategies that are starting to pop up with IT at the center of them. Always good money for the law firms that specialize in this area so these agreements remain kosher and don’t run afoul of Stark revisions.
    – Is Epic going to play nice with others in the local HIE sandboxes in the next 24 months? Most vendors don’t think so although they think meaningful use will make them start to.
    – What are small hospitals and their vendors going to do about HIE requirements that are going to start to emerge in 2013 and beyond? Short answer – no clue. Like asking the man sinking in quicksand what he is going to do about the asps at the edge of the quicksand pit if he makes it out. Other problems (CPOE) first.
    – REC process is even more rotten (e.g., political) than I thought and it is clear that most of the RECs are angling to position themselves as Tier 1 Support vendors to ensure their survival after the initial funding & Implementation/Training dollars fade away over the next 2 years. Going to be a very political/financially-driven process on the 1-3 winners at each REC.
    – Not lots of CIO/CMIOs on the floor but instead a lot of mid-tier IT personnel instead with vast legions of various ‘architect’ and ‘engineer’ titles wondering around.
    – Widespread speculation on ‘financial bundling’ even though the Medicare demos are just getting kicked off in this area. Cart before horse syndrome.
    – ICD-10 as the looming bogeyman that will have an impact down to the individual provider and administrative staff personnel.

  4. What about @drval and @doctoranonymous live broadcasting via uStream Better Health’ channel and your cleavage shots at ‘meet the bloggers’ panel? Seems to be a below radar screen digital media trend worthy of note?
    Archives here, including e-patientDave cameo: http://doctweets.com/.

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