An old friend, Jim called today to bitch (in the nicest of ways) about the HIMSS show blogging done by yours truly and others. I also got a request from Dale H.

...could you blogger-attendees blog something about how HIMSS itself went, for those of us who couldn't make it? I wasn't able to get away for this conference and want to hear what people have to say about the emerging technologies presentations, especially the "connected consumers", "trading spaces", "staying connected", "natural language processing for healthcare", and "personalized medicine" talks.

Since us bloggers (with the exception of Neil Versel) are not traditional journalists, we're here for other reasons - research, education, networking, and prospecting for business. Dale, hopefully you will find some posts from other bloggers whose interests more closely match your own. One of the great things about blogs is that they can be very narrow in their interests and still find readers - which is certainly the case with this blog. Jim teased me and my blogging peers about writing (too much, perhaps) about meeting each other. Admittedly, that was one of the high points of the show for me, meeting Shahid, Matthew, Enoch, Will and others. Last year, the only blogger I met was Neil Versel (and it was nice to see him again), but I'm sure next year it won't get quite the play it did this year. An even bigger pleasure for me was meeting the folks who read this site.

More than once I talked with a vendor who pointed out an error or omission in a post about their product or service. A blog is a conversation; this site includes comments for a reason. I whip the content for this site out pretty quickly, and count on you the reader to respond with your opinions, observations, corrections and clarifications. If you're not okay with misstatements or omissions about your company, institution, product or area of interest then join the conversation. Over time this blog's become more of a two way street, and I've gotten some great comments from readers from which we've all learned something new. Keep it up!

You've probably noticed more photos on the blog. That's not a calculator on my belt, it's my digital camera. I took many product shots this year, after asking permission, of course. I will be posting them to my photo blog on Buzznet (where comments are also encouraged). I will link to the photos in my posts, and you can find the latest 10 photos thumbnails in the left hand column (just scroll down). Like the rest of the site, the photos are copyrighted, but feel free to use them for any non-commercial use as long as they are attributed to Medical Connectivity Consulting. Some photos will include this site's URL, so I can get a little free advertising when you vendor-types use them for competitive product presentations. Commercial use of photos or content can be arranged - just drop me a line. If you've got product shots (especially on a white background) I'd love to use them. At right is my "reality" shot similar to the one that graced HIMSS06 web site.

So, back to this year's HIMSS. I spent a lot of time last year at the sessions, and found them to be at a beginner or intermediate level. I learn more about technologies and applications by talking to knowledgeable vendors. Unfortunately, most of the vendors I visited were staffed by people lacking in much real knowledge. There are some very big strategic changes impacting the HIT market, and I was struck at the number of vendors that didn't really know what business they were in (or are in the "wrong" business). Successful growth companies tend to be very strategic; mature established vendors seem to lose that strategic vision over time, becoming tactically oriented. The companies with a real business strategy were obvious, and a distinct minority.

A number of other bloggers have noted the significant costs for vendors to exhibit at HIMSS (or any show). The preparation and execution of the vast majority of vendors at the show - simple things like what's new, key messages, value propositions and short positioning statements - was abysmal. I quickly tired of the blathering and frequently had to ask these questions myself. An effective trade show is more than showing up and chatting up visitors. I found the few "telemarketing types" - they guys that catch your eye, and start talking as you pass their booth - less irritating than the many people who were just taking up space in their own booths.