Will HIMSS Bring About World Peace?

flying cadeuciiI had a HIMSS 2015 hallucination.

Walking through the crowded exhibit halls of the premier health information technology trade show, the Prophet Isaiah’s vision of beating swords into plowshares and the lion lying down with the lamb suddenly unfolded before my eyes. Even if we were in McCormick Place in Chicago, not the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (Although we were on an upper level.)

There ahead of me, the maker of the A-10 Thunderbolt “tank buster” dwelled in a booth a few steps from a maker of fasteners for tractor engines: sword and plowshare. Elsewhere, the PAC-3 missile manufacturer contentedly cohabitated with a company that sells baby strollers: lion and lamb.

However, what prompted this copacetic condition was not a prophet, but profits. As tens of billions of dollars pour into digital technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. health care, companies large and small all want a cut.

“Swords into plowshares” at HIMSS 2015?

Total U.S. spending on health care is closing in on a staggering $3 trillion.Entrepreneurs from everywhere in the economy are making a pilgrimage to this sector. Venture capital funding in health IT roared to $4.7 billion in 2014, according to the Mercom Capital Group, more than double the $2.2 billion in 2013. Small wonder that more than 42,000 attendees flocked to HIMSS this year, a jump of some 10,000 from as recently as 2011.

Here’s where we come to the part about world peace. The U.S. health care system is by no means the only one needing modernization and rationalization. Several years ago, HIMSS issued awhite paper examining electronic health records from a global perspective. The group now boasts regional offices and puts on events in Europe and Asia. As global capital markets recognize the potential of health IT, it’s not too much to hope that individuals of all religions, races and nationalities can come together in search of the “new, new thing,” the next big deal and the large pot of cash that comes with both.

Ideology is one thing, but, as the saying goes, business is business. Co-existence fostered by capitalism.

Admittedly, this isn’t quite what Isaiah had in mind. Still, if a prominent Middle Eastern country decides to switch from centrifuges to Software As a Service, I’ll be looking for the Iranian booth at HIMSS next year.

Categories: Uncategorized

2 replies »

  1. Luxurious conference, and who would expect otherwise? After all, in what other industry does the government give away $ billions cash for devices with faux accountability, transparency, and safety?

    You state: “Total U.S. spending on health care is closing in on a staggering $3 trillion.”

    It was that before the HITECH so how can it be the same after the HITECH specified devices are expensed?

    This is consistent with slight of hand which is to the government’s interest as part of the cover-up of the true $$$$$$ cost of HITECH and medical care since HITECH.

    After all, 6 page cut and pasted, macro and templated progress notes for follow up care coded by the EHR coding engine at the highest level do not lower costs.