Well, that’s it for me. I’m back in my room, enjoying a Shiner Bock (a fabulous Texas micro brew) in my jammies writing this post — I’ll forgive just about anything during a hotel stay if they have broadband Internet. I’m leaving tomorrow on a character-building 6am flight. All in all it was a great show — saw many old friends, made some new ones, and learned a lot. One of the new friends was Neil Versel, who has an interesting web log on clinical IT.

Today’s favorite session was presented by John Glaser and Jeff Cooper of Partners HealthCare titled, Clinical Engineering and IT — Partners for Patient Safety and Technology Effectiveness. They provided great insights into both fields and the collaboration required by new wireless medical devices, patient flow optimization and how human error can impact patient safety.

The medical device vendor that really stood out was Spacelabs. They had a full compliment of both devices and knowledgeable folks to talk about them (thanks to Chris and Monica). They had some pretty cool things which I’ll expand on in a later post. The largest vendors were the worst, with very limited demo capabilities and no real product specialists that could answer my “secret sauce” kinds of questions. All three major IV pump vendors were represented, showing their wireless pumps with reasonable demos and knowledgeable folks.

I visited all the patient flow software vendors, and got insights into strategy and direction and some vibes that this is becoming a considerably more competitive market. A couple of the vendors mentioned competitive responses to Tele-Tracking, who is by far the oldest and most established vendor in the field. Like most markets, its interesting to see how the vendors pursue various competitive strategies to differentiate and out-compete one another.

The vendor with the biggest presence at the show that wasn’t an exhibitor was Emergin. Many vendors were leveraging their messaging middle wear for alarm notification and patient flow messaging. Moving alarm notification beyond a local audible alarm on the device is a huge need, and Emergin offers a relatively easy way to add this option. So far, everyone’s implementation of Emergin for alarms is lacking one serious capability (Baxter did it on their own with their wireless pump system). It will be interesting to see who steps up first to do it right.

Was it just me, or was Vocera everywhere?

The networking and security market segments were well represented. I found Innerwireless and Airespace most interesting. Indoor positioning systems were also investigated, with interesting results. Drager Medical (Siemen’s new patient monitoring solution) also had a very interesting wireless security story.

A cute college kid won the BMW convertible in the NextGen booth this afternoon. Siemens had the “rock star” booth of the show, a double-decker sheathed in white scrim printed with graphics and lit by racks of lights you’d normally see at a rock concert; very hot, but like the numerous Soarian bill boards I saw around town coming from the airport and riding the shuttle buses, probably a poor ROI. My favorite booth was a large island booth set up like a sports bar — it seemed they were most interested in creating an atmosphere in which their sales reps would be comfortable.

More cogent and informative posts to follow as soon as I’m recovered.