Hot topics, cool after parties and more at HIMSS15
I am happy to share that I survived my first three days of HIMSS15! I think this is my 10th HIMSS conference, and this year’s event is as fast, furious and exhausting as ever. Here are a few quick, random impressions in no particular order:
In chatting with attendees and exhibitors, the hottest topics vary depending on your particular area of interest. Meaningful use may not be THE topic as in years past, but it is still very relevant. I attended CMS' Meaningful Use Stage 3 Requirements session, and it was standing room only. While Deputy Director Robert Anthony was entertaining, I found the session didn’t cover much new ground beyond what had already been published. However, if you work in a provider organization and haven’t had the time to dig deep into the topic, the session was likely quite helpful.
Beyond meaningful use
The other big topics seems to be focused around interoperability, population health, and analytics. Interoperability, in particular, is a big discussion point, and everyone seems to have an opinion on how well we are or aren’t achieving it. I’ve heard a bit of chatter around the promise of FHIR and look forward to learning more about. However, I liked Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton’s take on interoperability. His opinion is that interoperability is not a technology issue because we have the ability to create great technology and great technology already exists. The bigger problems are getting people on board and having the money to do it – especially since providers traditionally have not had a financial incentive to share their data.
The McCormick Center is massive, with several huge, connected buildings. On Monday, my pedometer said I walked almost nine miles, which my feet will tell you is insane. Getting from the exhibit halls (there are two of them) to the ballroom where the keynotes are presenting, takes about 10 minutes. Additionally, unlike Las Vegas or Orlando, the hotels are more spread out throughout the city of Chicago. Yesterday I considered attending a 6:45 a.m. breakfast, but it would have required that I jump on the shuttle bus at 6:00 a.m. I am dedicated to my work but not that dedicated!
I have heard a few complaints of long lines for the shuttle buses or taxis, but I haven’t found it to be too horrible. On the other hand, the lines at all the Starbucks have been entirely too long.
Chicago has so many great restaurants and beautiful spots, from the Willis Tower to the river and the gorgeous 100-plus year old buildings. Love the city; not quite so much love for the convention center.
I hit the athenahealth party at the Hard Rock Café Monday night. It was absolutely packed, to the point I was wondering when the fire marshal was going to show up and kick a few of us out. Jonathan Bush took the stage for some brief (and funny) remarks and the food was surprisingly tasty. I also stopped by a Practice Insight event on the 67th floor of the Willis Tower that was much more relaxed and conducive to conversation. Of course the setting was amazing.
Sunday I had a great dinner with friends, then had a drink at Divurgent’s party ROOF on theWit. The event offered another great view of the city. I’d also like to give Divurgent a shout-out for making their reception open to all HIMSS attendees.
I could write a post or three just on the exhibit hall happenings. Early in the week I was focused on specific appointments, but hope to have more time on Wednesday to stroll and get a better feel for the vibe. Suffice it to say, it’s impossible not to get sensory overload as you walk to the floor.
Did I mention my feet hurt?