Health Care IT Update: HIMSS 2011 Conference

For those not directly involved in health care IT, HIMSS 2011 is the national conference, held in the Orlando Orange County Convention Center, February 21-24.

By some accounts, the conference grew 20% over last year. That’s not surprising, considering electronic medical records and many other health care technologies are at the epicenter of the Affordable Care Act legislation. Correspondingly, much of the discussion at the conference included topics of business growth, new hires, acquisitions and the like.

The convention was loaded with keynotes, educational seminars, as well as countless presentations on the exhibit floor. Of note, the conference also assembled an Interoperability Showcase, featuring key vendors demonstrating how their technologies integrated with other platforms as part of the emerging global health care IT network.

Also to the show’s credit, there was significant improvement of online tools, listings of exhibitors and extensive social networking resources, including Twitter hashtag #himss11, Facebook and tools for mobile devices.

A special shout out to key exhibitors with whom I met—thanks for spending some time to update me on critical areas of health care IT innovation: Jeffrey Smith Director of Strategic Outreach, Ingenix: Dan Michelson CMO, Allscripts, and Chris Clemmensen VP Marketing, Press Ganey.

The after-hours events proliferated as well, with special note for the HIMSS Greater Chicago Chapter meeting Monday evening, and Patricia Joseph, committee member and also Principal of Prospex.

To be sure, not all tidings were rosy. I did also have conversations with those on the front lines of care, incuding physicians and government employees (Federal and state agencies were present in force as well, including the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, among others), and heard enough to temper some of the over-promise of the sometimes too-enthusiastic vendors. All-told, the conference was a hotbed activity, setting the table for health care IT in 2011.