HIMSS 2011: 4 Long Days; 5 Short Stories

Gienna Shaw, March 1, 2011

Last week my pedometer called to alert me to suspicious activity on my count—I'd logged so many steps over the course of four days at the CHIME and HIMSS conferences in Orlando that the device assumed someone else was using it. If you don't get the joke, you've never been to HIMSS. The number two topic of conversation there (second only to healthcare technology) is whether or not you wore the right shoes. As a friend said, at HIMSS there's no such thing as the "right shoe." 

By the way, although the steps on my pedometer were all me, I assure you I had nothing to do with the emails that someone in Turkey sent to everyone in my address book after I used the hotel's free wireless Internet access.

Here are a few other notes and observations from the show (mostly of a more serious nature than shoes and Turkish malware).

1.The only guarantee: There are no guarantees

The healthcare field faces plenty of uncertainty—what will future stages of meaningful use require? Will healthcare reform survive legal and political challenges? What will accountable care organizations look like? How will we share health data securely? There are lots of questions and even more answers.

Despite the old saw, there really are some guarantees about the future of healthcare, says Nate Kaufman, managing director of Kaufman strategic advisors in San Diego, who spoke at the conference.

He says he guarantees the industry is not going to get huge increases in reimbursements, payers aren't going to make up for Medicare and Medicaid shortfalls, accountable care organizations aren't going to be getting big bonus checks in the mail in the next few years, and Republicans are not going to repeal healthcare reform—because if they did they'd have to come up with a whole 'nother way to keep the healthcare bubble from bursting.

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