So – what’s new at HiMSS 2011? The annual gathering of healthcare IT professionals is happening in Orlando this year – with some 40,000 attendees and over 1,000 exhibitors. (Someone told me that, so no guarantees on the accuracy of these numbers – although it feels crowded here.)
Getting here was half the adventure. Rather than driving 3 hrs from South Florida or subjecting myself to the joys of commercial air travel, I chose the real joy of getting here in my own plane. For those of you in aviation, the day started early – departing Pompano Beach in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) while the tower was still closed. Getting my IFR (instrument flight rules) clearance to Kissimmee airport in the air from Miami departure. Cruising at 6,000 ft mostly in calm air, but with clouds and thick patches of ground fog underneath me. Kissimmee was in solid IFR conditions most of the time. 10 miles out, I was told to expect the ILS (Instrument Landing System) runway 15 approach, unless I could see the airport – which I could (although barely…) Cleared for the visual approach a minute later and on the ground after 3 more minutes – visibility had improved to over 5 miles with clear skies – total flight time 1 hr 14 minutes – can’t beat that. (Track the flight on Flight Aware over the next few days).
Anyways – Early at the show I started to roam the exhibit floor and found the usual collection of Electronic Health Record (EHR) Vendors, consultants, device manufacturers, etc.
Last year, “Meaningful Use” and the “HIPAA Extensions ” were the big key words. This year, the industry has moved on to implementing EHRs and demonstrating the meaningful use criteria. Many vendors are trying to solve similar problems – but in different ways (more on that later). The challenges remain the same. The first impressions of important topics based on the exhibitor’s tag lines reveal the same trends as in past years:

  • Secure your data
  • Secure and optimize your networks
  • Enable mobility (last year, the iPad wasn’t even out yet – today it’s everywhere)
  • Don’t get fired and stay out of jail (no kidding – see any topics on the privacy breach rules and notification / audit requirements)
  • There is relatively little on cloud computing yet, but I’ll go to more sessions and report back.
    I talked to one System Integrator in the defense space who has “Citrix” as a block on their slideware, which piqued my interest. Talking to the engineer, I was told that “they” (the customer with no name) have a ship 500 miles off the coast of Hawaii with satellite uplinks, which is receiving apps and desktops powered by Citrix with great quality – even without WAN Optimization. Nice one!
    More updates later…
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