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A CIO taking a pulse at HIMSS

As a vendor CIO, I find HIMSS an interesting show on a couple of levels. Firstly, there’s some technology and information dissemination that is directly relevant to what I do day to day – especially around keeping patients’ identities and personal information safe and secure. Secondly, as an executive at Craneware, it is essential to know what our clients are seeing and thinking about in order to better fill their needs and be better partners. The primary challenge at this event is trying to distil a mind-bogglingly massive show down to some trends and themes whilst keeping an eye out for that special something that no-one else has noticed or extrapolated and that has some potential. How do you do this? Get sore feet and jaws by walking the floor, mostly. Some invaluable blogs like the incredibly insightful Mr HISTalk are great for getting some of the theme stuff in time to explore it, but there’s no substitute for doing the very long walk from one end of the show to the other. Vendors showing great technology are often hidden in the booklet behind some prose mentioning “cloud” and “SaaS” and other buzzwords that are more important to their valuation than to their customers (or potential partners like me.) I don’t care how you do it at this stage. I want to know what you do: as succinctly and as simply as possible. Same with booth design. You’ve got a few seconds as I walk past to inform me of the same without getting lost in terminology that doesn’t answer the main question – what do you do? There’s too many niches and way too many companies all trying to differentiate themselves to keep track of. Best practices, in defence against the bad guys (external and potentially internal), will be a target. We use some interesting software that looks at expected behaviours in our network against actuals and of course follow all HIPAA and related industry standards in encryption and access. As some regulatory and political moves are becoming the number one change factor, it’s also vital to see what technology might be important under different revenue models – whether that involves risk adoption, more packaging and partnerships under bundles or many mix and matches involving all or some. We’ve been talking about “value cycle” for a while and that concept underpins wherever we go from here. We have to be able to do more of the right kind of things for patients and it needs to cost less. I was involved in bringing our Supplies ChargeLink® and Pharmacy ChargeLink® tools to market, so I have a particular interest in trends regarding implant supplies and pharmaceuticals, but mainly as I see a big chunk of non-labour expense there that with better visibility can be significantly impacted. Our software lets you follow these expensive assets from initial purchase, through usage, to billing and reimbursement, making sure use is captured correctly and the hospital gets paid enough to adequately cover cost in a consistent and transparent way. All the way through it is looking for inefficiencies. If you’re coming, I’m sure we’ll have a great time in Vegas, hopefully coming home with a great deal of experience to digest than your typical Vegas visitor. I’ll probably be skipping the closing keynote by Peyton Manning as there’s an international Rugby 7s tournament getting started a few blocks over that weekend. Yup, probably on my own there. – Derek