It was great to see so many blog readers and old friends at HIMSS this year. For those who downloaded my list of connected health exhibitors, how did the list work for you? I found sorting by booth number really cut down on running back and forth across the show floor.

The exhibits are always the big draw for me at HIMSS, and this year was no exception. Where else can you meet with companies ranging from embedded system medical devices to digital health to horizontal market IT solutions? This year I visited and talked with 45 companies, all exhibitors but two.

As reported in the pre-HIMSS16 post, digital health (workflow automation utilizing mobile devices like smartphones) was a big deal in many ways. Lots of exhibitors, lots of press announcements, lots of rumors and buzz. And why not? The fed’s money to pay for new EMRs is running out, and EMR penetration is high, and the barriers to adoption for digital health are low. The carveout for data security firms also seemed to be really hopping. All of this is consistent with Drew Ivan’s prognostication based on an analysis of educational session topics over time.

Walking the exhibit halls, something new did pierce my consciousness as I scurried from booth to booth:  several asian companies selling generic Android smartphones. I don’t see these obscure (for now) OEM Android smartphones taking business away from Apple, Ascom, Spectralink or Zebra any time soon. I’m looking forward to these OEM smartphones increasing in unit volume and driving down costs. The prospect of a powerful highly miniaturized single board computer running Android for well under $100 is intriguing. An open source Android smartphone along the lines of Arduino would be way cool.

Tuesday was spent with a hospital client looking at surveillance monitoring solutions. These products/systems are intended to identify patients with a deteriorating clinical condition. Companies fell into 3 categories: software solutions, patient worn monitors, and remote sensing monitors. Meetings with senior management like Chief Nursing Officers and Chief Medical Officers, product managers and other highly knowledgable staff was most productive. Where else can you meet 6 companies for in depth Q&A and a demo in one day? The final report and recommendations should be done next week!

This year’s meeting will inspire a number of blog posts, including more on surveillance monitoring, an overview of smartphones and marketing. I saw some examples of great marketing and some truly egregious examples of terrible marketing.

I have to confess that this year I was suffering from Las Vegas fatigue. The ubiquitous smoke, music, claustrophobic sidewalks and halls leading to the exhibit halls were terrible. Given the shape of the exhibit halls, the layout and numbering of booths was wanky and some exhibitors were very difficult to find. And don’t forget the casino hotels designed to get you to take circuitous paths through the casino to get anywhere.

Were there more street people than usual this year? Because it was quicker to walk than take the shuttle bus,  I saw them everywhere, including in the middle of the sidewalk at 8am right in front of the main entrance to the Flamingo. Nice. There are advantages to Vegas: airfare is considerably less (and for me, a shorter trip that doesn’t change time zones) and the food is better. Overall though, I would be pleased if HIMSS never came back to Vegas.

I’m looking forward to HIMSS17 in Orlando where everything’s nice and spread out and mostly smoke and music free!