From Ty Burrell “Re: MGMA and HIStalk. Greetings from Venice, the over-priced tourist/convention nightmare better known as San Antonio. Flying out I struck up a conversation with a very nice gentleman who was also going to MGMA. We formally introduced ourselves and he said his name was Mike Nissenbaum. I kind of laughed and said I felt like I already knew him due to HIStalk and all the recent press. His face lit up with a smile and he had great things to say about HIStalk and all that you do. I bumped into him today and he said he was on the lookout for Inga. Thanks for all that you do (and the connections you facilitate)!” Ah, what a nice note! The last couple of days have been a whirlwind and my attempt to be a social butterfly, informed expert, and blogger have left me exhausted and sleep-deprived. Your comment serves as a great reminder of why we do what we do. By the way, Dr. Jayne and I coincidentally had a brush with HIT greatness last night. As we were walking into the Hyatt for a party, Michael Nissenbaum was walking out. Not only did Dr. Jayne share my geeky excitement with the encounter, she was also appropriately impressed that I recognized him.
In another chance encounter, I briefly met MGMA CEO Susan Turney. When I saw her she was wearing running shoes and a black pant suit, so of course I couldn’t resist asking her about the ensemble. Dr. Turney shared that she had broken her foot a few months ago and was alternating between running shoes and high-heeled pumps for presentations. Which led to a discussion of which designers offered the best flats for both fashion and comfort. I am always amazed how much my “real life” bleeds into my Inga world.
I usually like to ask participants, including vendors, what they feel are the hot topics for a particular show. I think for this convention, the biggest “buzz” was the lack of buzz. That is to say there was not one major overriding theme or single topic overshadowing others, nor any big product announcements. However, practices seem to be quite concerned about finances and express a good deal of uncertainty about what the future holds. Key issues include the looming SGR cuts, the election outcomes and the impact on ACA reforms, ICD-10 and the threat of interrupted cash flows, and changing practice ownership models. The cloud of uncertainty is forcing many practices to take a wait and see attitude and put on hold anything but the most essential projects. That’s not great news if you are a vendor selling an innovative new product, unless it promises a low-risk ROI. Practices with 10-year-old EHR/PM systems that can handle ICD-10 and Meaningful Use are less likely to switch products any time soon, even if their product lacks the bells and whistles found in newer offerings.
That being said, several EHR vendors told me that much of their booth traffic came from Allscripts MyWay clients who are exploring their options. And, an exec with one of the clearinghouses shared that they were having many new conversations with recently displaced MyWay resellers scrambling for new alliances.
I heard rumors that MGMA was going to repeat a couple of sessions that were too full to accommodate everyone. Don’t know if that actually happened but I did observe a number of educational sessions were filled to capacity.
Here’s a picture of my assorted trinkets. My favorites are the McKesson water bottles, a $5 Starbucks gift card from Emdeon, and the green sneaker key ring from Pulse. Still wish I could have gotten one of the Pulse folks to give me a pair of real green sneakers.
Vitera Health had a big crowd on hand when they announced Vitera Stat and Vitera Intergy Mobile for iPad. Vitera Stat is a subscription-based PM/EHR product designed for independent physicians and practices with limited IT resources. I recall they bought the technology several months ago and have been polishing it, though I don’t recall the product’s original name. One has to wonder if Vitera will eventually try to scale Stat for larger practices as a replacement for Intergy.
Thanks to MED3OOO for the energy drink that got me through the day. I liked the bear, too.
I feel like I am piling on to mention this but I never once saw much action in the Allscripts booth. In years past you could always count on Allscripts to have one of the highest-traffic booths. Not so at this year’s MGMA.
ADP AdvancedMD maintained a reasonable crowd every time I walked by. If I understood correctly, AdvancedMD gave participants a book on practice management for sitting through a short presentation. I was kind of stuck on the notion that an old-fashioned “book” could draw a crowd, but their approach appeared to work.
Props to Emdeon, who must have hired a professional to attract people to hear the company pitch. He was both entertaining and effective in terms of drawing people in and delivering the company story.
I might add that hiring “professionals” doesn’t always prove effective. One of the larger EHR companies had either hired a couple lovely ladies to draw people to their presentations or perhaps had the marketing newbies fill that role. I had a conversation with one that went something like this:
Lovely: Would you like to see our demo starting in five minutes?
Me: No, but is that your new mobile EHR you are holding? (She’s holding an iPad.)
Lovely: Oh, I don’t know if this is a new iPad or not.
Me: No, not the iPad, the software.
Lovely: Oh, this software is for getting people’s names for the demo.
Me: Oh, so do you have a mobile version yet?
Lovely: I really don’t know.
Me (as I walk away): Hmmm.
Balloons are fun and all but I saw a few too many adults wearing balloons on their heads. This guy offered to make some bling for Dr. Jayne and me but we took a pass.
I took advantage of the chair massage, courtesy of Laserfiche, and was quite content to watch the short and informative video at the same time. Incidentally, the young woman who gave me the rub informed me I was “tight” and needed to see my local therapist. I am considering taking her advice and sending Mr. H the bill.
I have quite a bit more to share, including some impressions of my NextGen, CareCloud, and Intuit Health demos, but I will leave that for my wrap-up tomorrow.