HIMSS11 was a HIT

HIMSS11 is coming to a close and there is a lot to report. For those who aren’t aware, HIMSS is THE healthcare technology event of the year. This year’s event broke all previous attendance records with almost 31,000 participants and hundreds of vendors. This shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to anyone as our healthcare system undergoes unprecedented scrutiny and evaluation leading to the inevitable conclusion that IT is the most important tool for improving care and getting a handle on costs.

HIMSS is designed primarily for technology decision makers and not necessarily end-users. That said, there was plenty of product information and trending topics that deserve the attention of physicians and hospital executives…whether you are in a small private practice or in a large multi-specialty clinic or even hospital. We saw interesting announcements and products from industry leaders such as HP, IBM, GE, Emdeon, Thomson-Reuters and Intel. We also spent time with interesting early stage companies like LifeImage, eMix and Vioguard.

Over the coming weeks we’ll distill some of the more compelling stories and announcements into smaller posts. We’ll also share insights from leaders throughout the industry on topics that will have a direct impact on providers including: meaningful use, cloud computing, security, mobility and social media. If you were at HIMSS and have insights to share, please let us know.

HIMSS11 Underway

HIMSS11 is off to a big start with almost 31,000 attendees focused on the role of technology in our healthcare industry. The top IT vendors in the country are in attendance and the vendor showroom officially opened Monday afternoon with hundreds and hundreds of vendors in attendance.

One of the highlights of the talks Monday morning was the social media presentation given by Lee Aase from the Mayo Clinic. Lee acknowledged that he holds Guy Kawasaki and his presentation rules in high esteem but then jokingly said he was going to completely ignore them for this particular talk. Lee’s talk was funny, humble and enlightening. He closed his talk with this delightful video highlighting the Mayo Clinic’s contributions of music to the healing environment. If there was a theme to the talk it was that Social Media is here to stay and organizations need to refrain from practices like site-blocking and over-regulating.

The Mayo Clinic recently launched their Social Media Health Network Site. Yet another display of their efforts to further discover ways social media tools can be harnessed to improve health care, promote health and fight disease.

To get Lee’s full presentation, CLICK HERE.

HIMSS 2011 – THE Healthcare Technology Event of the Year

I’m looking forward to HIMSS 2011 and connecting with companies delivering innovative products and services to physicians and hospitals. For those of you not familiar, HIMSS is by far and away the largest technology conference in healthcare and one of the largest conferences in the country altogether. While relatively few physicians attend the conference, most of the systems and services presented and talked about at the conference ultimately involve physicians.

I’ll be reporting back to our physician audience on anything we find of interest. I am looking for innovative companies and products and/or anything actionable or relevant to a practicing physician. If your company has a story that physicians need to hear, let me know. I’ll schedule time to connect in sunny South Florida. Submit your name and number in a comment to this post and I’ll get in touch asap.

Meaningful Use – Where is it Headed?

The 2011 HIMSS conference is rapidly approaching as is the first reimbursement opportunity for physicians who have adopted electronic medical records. Interesting timing given that that Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator is stepping down from his post.

I have had several physicians ask me recently where Meaningful Use will be in a year. Will we move closer toward the pantheon of interoperability? And most importantly to doctors, how should they think about this?

First let me speculate that the complexities of interoperability are immense and, while everyone talks about the clear benefits that would result, I wouldn’t hold my breath. There is simply too much money and too many bureaucrats in the mix for there to be true consensus and support. Companies will feign participation and support to a point. That IS the point. The proverbial last mile might as well be 1,000 miles. That said, I am confident the market will produce clever solutions that don’t rely on decades of standards committee pow-wows and bureaucratic red tape.

As for physicians, Dr. Blumenthal makes some valid points in a recent interview with FierceHealthIT. You can reach the interview by CLICKING HERE. I think his most pragmatic comment was the fact that EMRs are here to stay and the financial reimbursement for adopting is really a one-time deal. So, it’s time to jump in despite the downsides.

For some exposure to the efforts underway regarding interoperability, read this recent update on the Direct Project.

If you have thoughts on where Meaningful Use will be in a year or whether there will be any true interoperability, send me your comments.