I am about to head out to a few parties but first want to share some of the highlights of my day.
George Will was the morning keynote speaker. Since he is known primarily for being a conservative political commentator I was quite surprised and disappointed that he made no more than a passing mention about the current government shutdown. He focused more on the poor state of our economy, how we got here, and what might happen if things don’t change. He ended on a somewhat optimistic note, saying that Americans are “thrifty industrialists” and we will eventually figure things out. Will is quick-witted, tells some good stories, and offers some logical arguments to support his opinions. I am not sure I agree with all his opinions and wished he offered more concrete suggestions for fixing our current problems, but all in all I enjoyed his presentation.
Next I sat in a standing room only session on EHR and risk management led by the consultant Nancy Babbitt. She offered some solid suggestions for ways practices can tweak the use of their EHRs (and other technology) in order to mitigate risk and provide better customer service. I didn’t notice anyone leaving early so I’d say the crowd valued what she had to say.
Speaking of standing room only, I noticed this tweet from someone complaining about not being able to get into a couple of sessions. Don’t know if Melissa was just having bad luck or if overcrowding is a widespread issue.
After the EHR risk session, I stood with the crowds for 45 minutes until the exhibit hall opened. I am pretty frustrated with the limited exhibit hall hours and have heard other attendees expressing similar disappointment. I think hall is open for a total of about seven hours, including the reception last night and during an extended lunch hour today and tomorrow. I have to believe the vendors would also like more face time with attendees. I realize the goal is limit the competition between sessions and the exhibits but given that there are 360 vendors, seven hours is not enough time to explore things, much less schedule any one-on-one meetings. Today I had only about 30 minutes in the hall before having to head out for other meeting.
While waiting for the exhibits to open, I did have time to check out some of the fashion on display. Here are some sandals I thought looked reasonably comfortable and also cute. Bonus points for the purse.
Once I made it into the hall, I ran into Maria from athenahealth. That girl always brings her A game when it comes to shoes.
Thanks VersusTech folks for the picture of your HIStalk sign in your booth. I’ll be by tomorrow to check it out.
Best session of the day for me was a discussion on IT in Healthcare, which included panelists Stephen McCallister, Waco Hoover, Rosemarie Nelson, and a strangely dressed female; MGMA’s Derek Kosiorek moderated. (Rosemarie – I’m still waiting for my free glass of wine.)
Official attendance, according to MGMA: 4,600. I also learned the official theme of the conference is “meeting practice success face-to-face.”
I’m off to check out the after-hours party scene. Look for details on the escapades tomorrow!