Once again this year, Schwartz was the lone PR firm with a booth at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, which was attended by 9 of our clients and wrapped up yesterday. They were there along with some 30,000 other healthcare IT professionals, all eager to hear the latest on "Meaningful Use," Electronic Health Records, HITECH, ARRA and how to secure federal stimulus dollars. Hundreds of vendors exhibited in two huge exhibition halls, ensuring my pedometer registered up to 8,000 show floor steps per day. Good thing, considering the spectacularly unhealthy fare offered at the food stalls throughout the Georgia World Congress Center.
Following are a few observations about the show, including contributions from Schwartz VPs Dana Conti and Dave Close, who attended HIMSS along with 5 other colleagues:
• It seems that every six months, the number of media outlets shooting video on the conference floor doubles. Publications like DotMed and Healthcare IT News tape interviews during the day and edit stories at night. And you thought you had a long day at the booth?
• The land grab for HIE contracts is on. Everyone from major players like GE to niche HIE vendors are highlighting their ability to support the next healthcare technology infrastructure...and reporters wanted to hear from anyone with an HIE pitch.
• So many EHRs. It seems like everyone is developing or offering an EHR with the story that it’s a logical extension of what they do – whatever it is they do. We met a fascinating guy from South America who developed an EHR for racehorses. He was at HIMSS to find opportunities to sell if for human patients. Why not? He’ll have to change the parameters for the size of a urine sample, though.
• Some version of the phrase “meaningful use” was in the signage or literature in almost every booth. Last year everyone was waiting for the definition. This year there is a definition and it’s moved very quickly into the marketing spiels of hundreds of companies.
• Perhaps the most appropriate visual metaphor to healthcare IT today was in the booth that had a “Back to the Future” DeLorean. One of the engineers had built the thing and it’s an amazing facsimile of the real movie car. He said it has 200,000 miles on it and he drives it to the shows. An old, obsolete car covered with all sorts of futuristic technology bolted all over it to make it do new things. At HIMSS you saw so much fantastic technology – EMRs, PACs, PHRs, HIEs, analytics…all sorts of new tech to make the old, clunky healthcare system faster and better. But I can’t help thinking that until there is some type of structural reform, it’s still 21st century tech bolted onto a creaky, obsolete system.
Stay tuned for more HIMSS observations.....
, Healthcare IT News
, meaningful use
Posted by Doug Russell on March 5, 2010 at 2:41 PM
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A recent post in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Paul Levy's "Running A Hospital" blog focuses on social media policies at Boston-area hospitals.
The story follows reports that one local hospital recently instituted a six-month social media ban (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace - apparently not LinkedIn?) that will remain in effect until a policy is developed for its use and employee monitoring tools are put in place. Other area hospitals also block social media sites, citing HIPAA compliance, patient privacy fears and concerns over workplace productivity.
While policies are important, outright bans send a message that the very workers selected to run the hospital are not to be trusted. They also neglect social media's community building, information sharing and brand enhancing qualities and send a negative message to employees from a newer generation of talent who embrace these tools.
Would such a ban preclude hospital administration from creating a fan page that offers compelling news that builds community, pride and results in increased loyalty and perhaps donations? Take a look at the "Healthy Living With BIDMC" fan page on Facebook, which you can also follow on Twitter.
With its more open social media policy, BI Deaconess comes off as a progressive hospital whose CEO embraces technology, is at the forefront of healthcare thought leadership and is dedicated to transparency.
Posted by Doug Russell on October 16, 2009 at 12:11 PM
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Last week saw a series of announcements and events that underscore the importance the Obama administration and new Congress have placed on healthcare information technology (HIT) to stimulate the economy and help solve a national crisis in healthcare access, costs and outcomes.
First up was the "Investing in Health IT: A Stimulus for a Healthier America" hearing chaired by Senator Mikulski's HELP Committee. It featured compelling testimony on the need for better applications to solve the electronic health record (EHR) problem, specifically interoperability.
Next up, the House Appropriations committee unveiled its $825 billion "American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009," calling on significant investments to "update and computerize our healthcare system to cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and reduce healthcare costs." Key provisions include billions in federal HIT funding for computerize health records, with billions more targeted at disease prevention/wellness; healthcare effectiveness research; community health centers, and training primary care providers.
The new climate in Washington provides a once-in-a-decade opportunity for HIT companies to become part of a massive and coordinated effort to fix the broken healthcare system. Healthcare IT has become a bright spot in the otherwise dismal economic climate. Schwartz Communications will continue to monitor the HCIT landscape, offering insight into turning the current legislative agenda into real business opportunity through public relations. This includes hot button issues like consumer directed healthcare, transparency, interoperability and others. Stay tuned.
Coming up: Schwartz will be conducting a free Webinar titled, "The New Administration and Healthcare IT: Positioning Your Company for Success." scheduled for Thursday, February 26 at 2:00 PM Eastern. Details to follow soon.
Posted by Doug Russell on January 21, 2009 at 4:06 PM
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