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HIMSS Observations: Better Late than Never

April 27, 2015
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The HIMSS exhibits cover a broad spectrum of topics. Enterprise imaging is gaining a foothold in both presence and IT staff attention.

Other obligations limited my time at HIMSS15 and meant that I needed to focus on specific topics.  Living within two-to-three hours of downtown Chicago also made it an attractive proposition to attend this year!  I would have to agree with other comments I have seen – Chicago is not an ideal venue for such a meeting.  Given that the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA – was also in Chicago last year, it presented an opportunity to compare it to HIMSS. 

From a total floor space, both meetings were comparable.  HIMSS used more of the actual exhibit space in the North and South halls of McCormick Place, but the RSNA seems to have more use of other floor space, such as in the Lakeside building.  This is surprising in that the HIMSS exhibits are a much broader base.

The RSNA also seems to distribute exhibitors between halls on a fairer basis.  Using the same logic as the RSNA, I would have expected large IT concerns such as Cerner and Epic to have been anchors for the different halls.  Instead, it almost seemed as if the North hall was overflow for whoever wasn’t lucky enough to be in the South Hall!

Exhibit size is also a differentiator.  It seems that exhibit size at the HIMSS were significantly smaller than the major exhibitors at the RSNA.  A common descriptor of the key radiology equipment exhibitors is to refer to their exhibits as “battleships” because of their size.  The HIMSS exhibits of key vendors like Cerner, McKesson, and Epic pale in comparison to the GE, Philips, and Siemens exhibits at the RSNA.

Specializing in imaging’s integration with the enterprise, it was encouraging to see a number of vendors emphasize imaging at the enterprise level.  This concept has certainly grown over the past several years, and emphasis should continue given the later stages of ARRA/MU. 

I was impressed with the increased presence of CommonWell, as interoperability is of increasing importance.  Time limitations did not allow in-depth exploration. 

The Lexmark exhibit was also of interest.  I am surprised it took this long to consolidate the multiple acquisitions under one umbrella, but the result is impressive.  Lexmark has done a great job in building a cohesive strategy for addressing enterprise management of clinical content.  They have struck on some key aspects associated with ARRA/MU Stage 2/3 in terms of communicating clinical content with physicians/patients – an area I think will be of increasing importance to healthcare providers.

I was particularly focused on the impact of the EMR on Radiology Information Systems (RIS).  It seems as if many vendors have concluded that the RIS functionality has been eclipsed by the EMR.  The RIS is being redirected to specific aspects of radiology workflow, as evidenced by a number of companies, most notably McKesson and GE, which have shown creative ways to mine information for more intelligent work lists, to better enable diagnostician efficiencies.  Mammography is a key service area for imaging services, and it is nice to see a number of RIS/EMR vendors incorporate mammography management into their offerings. 

HIMSS continues to be a difficult meeting to navigate, with a broad spectrum of interest.  As technologies vie for information technology staff’s attention, it’s nice to see that imaging’s presence and attention level is increasing!