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Meditech Nixes HIMSS

February 9, 2009
by vciotti
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Howard Messing announced Meditech is pulling out of HIMSS on Friday. Admirable, as HIMSS blows hundreds of millions of dollars each year on sales & marketing from HIS vendors who could put the money to far better use, like hiring some experienced implementers (not recent MBA wiz-kids) and programmer/analysts (RNs & MDs from this country!). Actually, the motivation was as much greed as prudence: Meditech's net profit was down 60% this year from last; gone are the days of their 40% profit plus!Â

Hats off to CEO Neil Pappalardo and CFO Barbara Manzolillo, who cut their own salaries to half of 2007 levels to share the pain. Wish some of our banking executives had half the morals and brains of Neil and Barbara!

Meditech joins Cerner in bowing out of HIMSS. Maybe the days of the$2M+ booths (like McKesson's last year) are gone? Now, if only the vendors would put the money to good use and do some real R & D and less wasteful marketing...



I'm sure this has mostly to do with the high cost of having a booth at HIMSS considering the economy, but I wonder if this is also an indication we are starting to choose software based on needs rather than hype. The more hospitals that choose the right software the first time, the better off everyone will be. This is especially true if it can be done in a way that is cheaper for the software companies, so (as Vince observes for us) they have the opportunity to spend money on better things.


All vendors are driven by money: pure return on investment. Will a booth at HIMSS bring in more business than it costs. Cerner & Meditech are guessing it doesn't at least in this economy. Not a bad approach for hospitals to keep in mind when they fork over "epic" dollars for a high-end EMR/CPOE that their physicians might not use... Check out my blog next week on that subject.


Vince. In a "normal" economy, wouldn't there be a reputational risk to pulling out of a conference like this the perception that something is wrong, that the company isn't healthy. Such a perception could then turn into orders lost. In today's economy, where "everybody is hurting," there is much less to lose by pulling out, much less concern is assigned to the company in question. In my opinion, current and future customers might even think better of the organization in question for "taking care of business" by pulling out of a trade show.

Vince. Do you see a big difference between why Cerner pulled out last year and why Meditech has pulled out this year?


Update on Neil Pappalardo's bravery: Meditech's operating margin last year was fine. It was their investment income that tanked (like mine!). So Neil and his CFO Barbara took the hit as if to say "Sorry we screwed up on Wall Street." In which case, they are the only honest executives in America so far (unlike those scumbags at Merrill Lynch) and deserve even more kudos!