#HIMSS12 Day 2

Today was the first real day of action for me at HIMSS12. I attended a couple of sessions and spent some time in the exhibitor area. The education sessions I attended were pretty vanilla. The most interesting of them was the first one I sat in on called “Got Smartphones? Leveraging Physician’s Smartphone Usage in HIT”. Rebecca Kennis and Dr. Afzal ur Rehman from UHS Hospitals described their journey toward building an iOS application for physicians to access clinical information from their HIS.

The application, called iCare, was quite nice. It had a nice flow to it and some pretty solid functionality. It gave physicians access to the patient medical record, medication lists, laboratory results, in addition to allowing physicians to record billing information and generate sign out notes for other physicians. It’s an Apple fanboy’s wet dream.

A few things that I thought were of particular interest:

  • Dr. Rehman said that they didn’t ask for help collecting data from any of their vendors because “they wouldn’t get it [the help they needed]”. That speaks volumes for what UHS thinks of their HIT vendors.
  • Dr. Rehman eluded to the fact that UHS was willing to dummy down their security measures because physicians didn’t like long passwords. Someone from the audience pointed this out and asked how he was able to convince IT to allow 4 character passwords. His response was a bit of a grin and “we had to twist their arms”.
  • UHS has given the iCare application to physicians with iPhones, but will not allow nurses to use it because they feel it is too big of a security risk. I can’t decide exactly what that means. The security risk is the same whether it is a physician or nurse. Are they saying that the number of nurses represents a greater potential for risk, or does it mean that they don’t trust nurses? I didn’t have the opportunity to ask the question.

I attended my first ever Tweepup at the HP booth in the exhibitor area. The event was sponsored by HP and brought together about 10 participants. I was able to meet Dr. Joseph Kim, which was a treat. I read a lot of his blog posts and share his interest in all things tablet PC related. We only had a few minutes to talk, but I enjoyed it.

The exhibitor area for HIMSS12 dwarfs the exhibitor area for ASHP Midyear. I couldn’t see everything today. I’ll have to go back for more tomorrow; maybe even on Thursday depending on how far I get. Two things I took away from what I was able to see today:

  1. It’s all about the data. Everyone had something to say about collecting data, mining it and using business intelligence to put it to good use. There were a number of products on display in the vendor area, including small standalone systems to large integrated solutions from some of the big boys. How important will data be to the future of healthcare? Hard to say, but a lot of people are betting the house on it.
  2. Tablets are pervasive in healthcare. Tablets are the new smartphone. Everyone is carrying one and all the vendors are trying to take advantage of it. Anyone trying to sell any type of EHR, documentation system, imaging system, etc. is pushing the idea of using a tablet. Companies like Panasonic, Motion Computing, HP and Fujitsu had their lineup displayed in full force. To top it off just about every vendor in the place is offering up an iPad2 as a drawing prize. Have we seen the end of the desktop? Hardly, but it’s obvious where we’re headed.

Overall I’d call day 2 a rousing success

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