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HIMSS Review

April 20, 2009
by vciotti
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Dateline: 4/1/2009 (A tongue-in-cheek review of the most "beloved" IT vendors at HIMSS)

Did you miss HIMSS? You didn't miss much. Chicago in April!? As a courtesy to readers, here is a recap of what each of the leading HIS vendors announced at their mega-booths:

1.   McKesson — Since they and HBOC have acquired more than 50 smaller vendors over the past 20 years, McKesson announced plans to buy up every single remaining vendor in the industry. After all, there's only about a dozen major players left... The cost is not much more than what McKesson had to pay a few years ago to settle the stockholder lawsuit from over-paying for HBOC, and it will save the healthcare industry untold millions from issuing RFPs, negotiating contacts, writing Strategic Plans, etc. Talk about interoperability!

2.   Siemens — announced the latest release (Version 8.A.7-2) of Soarian PowerPoints. Spokesman explained that this latest version runs in Microsoft Vista and Office 2008, vastly superior to the old slides that only ran on XP in Office 2002. The new slides have eliminated many user complaints such as nagging repeated occurrences of "TBA" or "N/A," as well as a far more user-friendly slide animation and stunning new graphics and sound. The new PowerPoint files are free for prospect hospitals; clients can get a pricing quote from their account executive...

3.   Cerner — with no booth at HIMSS, Cerner made a "remote-hosted" announcement: as part of the economic recovery package, they will be issuing invoices to clients using their ProFit billing system. Cerner executives explained how this problem-plagued billing system will probably take months to prepare bills for clients, versus a few days for their manual system, saving hospitals untold millions in cash flow. In addition, payment posting is so difficult, clients can probably short-pay invoices and not be detected for many months more...

4.   GE — Announced a brand new hardware/software module for its Centricity series of products, this one for hospital Laundry departments. It is comprised of totally integrated systems with two primary modules:

a.   Centricity Washing Machines — which will be fully integrated with the ADT module to pre-program wash cycles based on patients age and weight.

b.   Centricity Clothes Dryers — interfaced to ADT to pre-program the drying cycle based on each patient's diet and diagnosis, with the on-off cycle triggered by Centricity's discharge-planning module.

5.   Epic - Whose CEO was recently appointed to the government's committee on spending the $17B in ARRA funds, announced a move to simplify the burgeoning government bureaucracy required to administer the program. Epic will give its system away for free for up to 10 hospitals (depending on their number of ambulatory visits), in return for the entire $17B. The program faces steep opposition in Congress, however, as lobbyists for Kaiser claim they have already spent about that much for Epic, and would prefer a rebate...

6.   Eclipsys Announced the latest round of layoffs this week: this time, the entire HR department. At a press conference, a spokesman explained: "Our firm has been devastated by the recent series of layoffs that are damaging our ability to serve our highly valued clients. So we are now laying off the department responsible for these layoffs, which should effectively end them." Calls to the HR department for comments were not returned...

7.   Meditech — Also without a booth, Meditech remotely announced plans for Release 7, a new system programmed in an as-yet-to-be-written programming language, which will replace Release 6, programmed in Focus, which is currently being developed to replace Client/Server, which is half-Windows and half-Magic, which replaces the old Magic system, which replaces the old MIIS system, which replaced MUMPS... Their spokeman said: "Now that's intergation!" Hundreds of Meditech clients lined up to sign early orders for the new system, which is expected to be programmed shortly after design specs for Release 6 are completed.

8.   QuadraMed - announced the resignation of their new CEO, their 3rd in 3 years. When asked to comment, the latest CEO said "Whaaa???"

9.   Keane — announced a new name for its "Optimum" system, which is replacing the old suite of PatCom, which was called Insights, First Coast systems, which had been known as EZ- Access, and iMed, which had been known as, well, iMed. When pressed for details such as the new system's name, spokesmen for the company confessed they could not remember the new name, but would get back with an answer shortly...

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Vince,
This is the best summary I've seen yet of the madness that was HIMSS09. I especially love the part about the Epic deal: "lobbyists for Kaiser claim they have already spent about that much for Epic, and would prefer a rebate."

In a time when so many companies are hurting, I would have loved to have seen more vendors toning down their acts, and less of the "we're just fine, damn it!" stance that was so popular.

And I definitely support the move toward a warmer city for this event.

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vciotti

Vince Ciotti's HIS Vendor blog covers the latest developments in the vendor scene such as:...