Its been exciting keeping up with all the events and exhibits at the HIMSS 2011 Conference in Orlando, FL. I have to say that social media has made it so much easier to keep track of all the innovation in information technology and everything else companies and researchers are building.

Here are some of the highlights of HIMSS ’11:

1) Healthtap: Personalized, accessible, and useful personal health information. The information is organized around easy to navigate topics to help guide people’s healthcare treatment decision making and diagnosis. Healthtap seems to have a very sound model for personal health information, and the analysis that can help the consumers directly.

2) National Coordinator for Healthcare IT David Blumenthal and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius delivered the keynote addresses for the HIMSS ’11 Conference. They underlined the bipartisan support for the continued investment in healthcare information technology, the opportunity for significant job and economic growth, streamlined statewide health information exchanges, and the emergence of technology that U.S. vendors can not only use domestically, but also sell in overseas markets to help the overall U.S. economy. Blumenthal also stated that Meaningful Use will have requirements for interoperability, and the further development of privacy guidelines for health data during information exchange.

3) HIMSS 2011 breaks the attendance record, with over 30,000 people in attendance. Hopefully this is just the beginning of several years of increased technological advances, more adoption of healthcare IT in organizations, and overall better patient care. Sidenote: I wonder how many iPads total were given away. Seemed like every time I checked twitter, there was another iPad prize at an exhibitor booth.

4) Meet The Bloggers panel was a very informative and worthwhile discussion for people looking to learn how to gain a following through relevant and interesting content. Great questions from the listeners as well.

5) Extormity unmasked brought forth a great parody from Medical Informatics Engineering outlining the issues in health information and electronic medical records (EMR) security and privacy, problems with EMR adoption and cost, and the ambiguity surrounding much of the HITECH Act, Meaningful Use. It was great to see some humor “on stage.”

The general innovation and advances from many of the Healthcare IT vendors was great to see. EMR adoption seems to be taking hold in many healthcare organizations, and would probably gain momentum even faster if anyone can ever decipher the language known as Meaningful Use. IBM Healthcare, MEDecision, Allscripts, GE Healthcare, Practice Fusion, and many others all brought forth outstanding products, demonstrations, and ideas for the future.

Next year is sure to be even better, and maybe we’ll even be able to see Watson in the operating room during surgery.

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