HMT-Editor-Phil-ColpasScene: Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2012. Thousands descend upon the gambling Mecca and appear to be headed toward the Venetian Sands Expo Center. But who are they and why have they made this journey? Are they gambling “whales” aiming to take down the big casinos? Unlikely. Most of them appear to be WWEISA (walking while engaged in smartphone activity). While this doesn’t preclude them from being whales, it certainly doesn’t look very cool. It’s hard to imagine good poker faces coming from people who haven’t mastered the art of walking.

Several of the ladies stop outside the venue to sit down. What are they doing? It appears they are changing from flats to heels. Someone who appears to be a group elder says, “Honey, I quit doing that years ago! Just keep your flats on!”

The dialogue between the thousands is strange and acronym laden. Are they speaking in tongues? Who or what is MU? EHRs? ICD-10? ACOs? Stage 1? What is “patient-centric”? Is this “cloud” their savior?

This may very well be how we appear to the untrained eye. The layman, with no knowledge of healthcare IT and the special language we share, would undoubtedly find us bewildering. But we know why we’re here. Heck, sometimes we even understand each other! We’re in Vegas for HIMSS, the largest healthcare IT exhibition in the world … and maybe to try our luck at some poker after all.

From Feb. 20-24, the Las Vegas Venetian Sands Expo Center will play host to the Healthcare Systems and Management Society’s annual conference and exhibition, HIMSS12.

Founded in 1961, HIMSS is a not-for-profit organization on a mission to lead healthcare transformation through the effective use of health information technology (IT). Over the past half-century, the annual HIMSS conference has evolved to become the largest exhibition in the healthcare IT industry.

Most of my career prior to 2009 was spent in the newspaper business; in fact, prior to attending the HIMSS10 show in Atlanta, I was a HIMSS virgin. I was completely blown away by the sheer magnitude and spectacle. It’s big … really big, and I must confess to experiencing a bit of a sensory overload; there are bright colors, noises, booths and people – most moving quickly and purposefully in full WWEISA mode – in every direction. Vendor displays range from the simple (a small booth with a couple monitor screens) to the sublime (a two-story behemoth – complete with a dozen state-of-the-art big-screen flat panels and private meeting rooms – hauled in and built within the exhibition hall).

Having attended several tradeshows since – both big and small – there is really no comparison. Don’t get me wrong, there are many solid tradeshows in the healthcare IT space. But when it comes to the number of vendors, the volume of attendees and the level of excitement of everyone involved, HIMSS is truly matchless.

Visit us at booth 4261 to receive your game card for TECH TREK for a chance to win an iPad 2.

See you in Sin City. And remember, what happens in Vegas … will most likely be posted all over the internet.

Until next time, here’s wishing you good healthcare IT.

Enjoy the issue.

The Source for Healthcare Information Systems Solutions