Ten Things I Learned at HIMSS 2012

April 10, 2013
...Of ICD-10 delaying, HIT rock stars, stage 2 MU snafus, and... those old ladies playing slots in the Vegas casinos...

I learned a lot at this year's HIMSS Conference... not all of it strictly educational. Read on...

1. The ICD-10 delay has messed everyone up. Those of us who were planning and working feel the rug pulled out from underneath.  Those who thought it was stupid are gunning to skip 10 and go to 11. No doubt, that the swirl created by all the speculation is not productive time. Everyone has been talking for at least a year about the perfect HIT storm of ICD10, MU and health care reform—why now the delay?

2. People think that choosing Epic was easy.  No matter how many times I explained that we did a real vendor selection, people thought that our choosing Epic was a fake pre-ordained decision. What they forget is that our hospitals are not full of people who know HIT-inside-baseball. Epic won the hearts and minds of our users, period.

3. Homeless people have pets.

4. My days of wandering the floor are over. My feet only directed me to certain booths to find particular people or products. I know that it means I missed stumbling on some great innovations but my tolerance of the cold sales pitch has diminished over the years.

5. We are blessed to work in an industry with really smart and passionate people working towards really valuable and important goals for patient care.  It was worth the whole week just to be reminded of this.

6. Dr. Farzad Mostashari is the closest thing we have to a healthcare IT rock star.  He walks into a session mid-week with a big smile and crooked bow tie to standing applause.

7. I really, really, really, really regret writing a blog about the turnover in my department at the director level.  I was trying to make the point that our industry is so hot right now that some of this turnover is inevitable; and that we should be prepared to accommodate that turnover and grow our supervisors and managers to be the next leaders. Unfortunately, many people read the posting as simply “Edward needs directors." I now have enough resumes to serve our needs into the next decade (or to wallpaper my bathroom).

8. Vegas is depressing. I'm not kidding! I walked out to a breakfast meeting and saw the same old lady drinking scotch and playing slots at 6:30 A.M. whom I had seen at midnight the night before. The only difference was that the ashtray next to her was a lot fuller.

9. Cramming didn’t work in college, and didn't work at HIMSS12, either. The actual announcement of MU 2.0 was a bit of a mess. The process was hurried, with the announcement scheduled in a room far too small to handle the audience. (So we started this important session with 10 minutes of announcements about the location of the overflow room and how it was a fire hazard to stand in the back…) The presentations themselves were not coordinated with some things repeated by several presenters, and other important themes either were not addressed, or were covered only in the questions.

10. It is not possible to escape HIMSS without picking up a virus of some sort. Between all the hand-shakes (and lucky for me, the more frequent hugs…), there is not enough Purell in the world to prevent an infection.  AH-CHOO!

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