I’m finally recovered from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) convention that was in Las Vegas last week. It is a zoo as always, and the vendor booths were more over-the-top than usual. The organization represents 70,000 individuals, 630 corporate members, and over 450 nonprofit organizations – this results in 40,000 of our closest friends descending on the Venetian-Palazzo-Sands Expo Center to participate in forums, educational sessions, walk the convention floor, and of course, socialize.
It was great to catch up with many of our valued clients, and especially satisfying to solidify a new partnership with a national laboratory chain – we look forward to working with them. Otherwise, I did run into Brian Jones and J.J. Jones from ELLKAY and enjoyed hanging out with them for a while. I also got to meet with Shally Madan and Jess Hsu, two of the three co-founders of Luminate Health. They are doing great work in finding ways to provide us all access to our medical information. It’s always fascinating to hear what they are working on.
The keynote speakers were a great mix of people including Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Director at the Defense Health Agency; Earvin “Magic” Johnson (yes that Magic); and Eric Schmidt, technical advisors and former executive chairman at Alphabet, Inc. His speech got a lot of reaction, especially when he pointed out that 80 percent of referrals and insurance forms are still done by fax, a statement that generated a lot of snickers. Schmidt also threw this line out: “We can’t predict our own fates, but a machine can.” I’m not so sure about that one!
Of course, for me it was all about the Vendor Show – there were hundreds of them, and I hit the floor with my list to visit, and pretty much got to all of them on it.
Naturally there were a few pedestrian complaints. Why bring health care industry professionals to a hotel where smoking is allowed? And I saw on Twitter someone complaining about the gym not opening before 6 a.m. creating a line 50 deep. And of course with every show like this, there’s the grumblings about that $15 tuna wrap. But that’s the small stuff – for me, the chance to meet with exciting clients and just check in on them face-to-face made it all worthwhile. Now to go through the stack of business cards I collected and follow up with people I met ….