NetCraftsmen Attends HIMSS11 in Orlando

William Bell
Vice President, Solutions and Products

Looking back on the two days we attended my first regret is that we couldn’t stay longer. To explore the exhibit floor requires three days at a minimum. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 8900 booths. Not only was there volume but quality. You may see some of these booths at the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. 

There were also over 30,000 attendees participating in the conference this year. This number is recorded by this HIMSS blog article. That is a lot of warm bodies milling around in Orlando. Makes one wonder who is taking care of all of the patients. Just kidding of course.

Cisco’s Community for Connected Health Summit

On the first day I spent 4 hours in the Cisco’s Community for Connected Health Summit. This was a good session and Cisco did a great job on putting it together. I particularly enjoyed the talk on Disruptive Innovations that was lead by Dr. Jason Hwang. The talk was based on the framework conceived and developed by Clayton Christensen ( The idea is that certain product or services take root as simple applications at the bottom of the market and then push up through the market until displacement of established competitors occurs. Think about the PC market impact on mini-computers and what about that iThing?

The impact on healthcare may be found in solutions that invite the patient to take a more active role in their own care. Store and forward concepts in telemedicine come to mind (home-based monitoring). An interesting bit of insight from Dr. Hwang was that physicians often bulk at the idea of putting the burden of care on patients. Maybe we can draw an example from diabetes where it is common practice to let patients to take an active role in managing their care.

I found the talk inspirational and definitely plan on investing in some of the books. For those in healthcare, the Innovator’s Prescription may be of particular interest.

The next speaker was Dr. Kaveh Safavi. Dr. Safavi is VP, Global Lead for the Healthcare Practice at Cisco Systems. I am still deciphering the notes I took from this talk. The guy flies through the material rapidly.  I definitely look forward to getting the slide deck.  This presentation started with the cost of healthcare in the United States with a comparison to the rest of the world. One of the concepts that hits home for me is that in the US the price-per-service is rising but there isn’t a huge uptake of new services. So, we are paying more for the same? This isn’t saying there aren’t new technologies or services on the horizon but there are substantial barriers to adoption.

Another point of interest was how costs in the US compare to the rest of the world. Costs in the US are 50% higher than the #2 country. Hospital costs are 70% higher than other developed countries but utilization is 30% lower. Dr. Safavi suggests that the point of deviation begins after WWII. At that time other developed/developing countries decided to take the road to make healthcare more accessible to the population. The US went the route of letting care providers charge what they felt was appropriate for the services provided.

I think the problem that Dr. Safavi is getting at is now that our economy is a global one and technology facilitates the ability of providing care without boundaries. If we stick with the current model, then a brick wall is in our future. If I may take some liberty here, I feel Dr. Safavi is describing an environment that is ripe for the “disruptive innovations” that Dr. Hwang presented. Of course, that is just me.

The summit rounded out with a presentation from Dr. Ben Kanter from Palomar Pomerado Health. Dr. Kanter introduced MIAA (Medical Information Anytime Anywhere) which is a client/server architecture for mobile healthcare that promises to transform the way physicians receive information, analyze data, and improve care. It was apropos for this announcement to occur at this venue because it runs on the Cisco Cius.

Dr. Kanter and his team developed this application from within a healthcare organization. This is the opposite model from what we usually see where external (non-healtchare) organizations develop applications to sell into healthcare. I applaud the innovation. The other interesting aspect of MIAA is that it finally puts the Cius in a framework where I can see some viability. Up until now the Cius made me think of terms like “late to market” and “too little, too late”. Now I think that Cisco made the right choice in leveraging the Android OS and embracing other Open Source projects. I am not saying I am “all in” on this yet, but Cisco has my interest for sure.

Wrap Up

The environment at HIMSS11 is exciting and I look forward to ensuring NetCraftsmen attends the conference in 2012 (Las Vegas). I regret having to leave early but it could not be helped. It would have been nice to attend the keynote from Michael J. Fox this morning. At least I got to see the DeLorean DMC-12!

Leave a Reply