A number of longtime HIMSS attendees, including my colleague Neil Versel, pointed out that this year's event in Orlando, Fla. had renewed energy. The past two years' events were more staid on account of the down economy. The magicians at vendor booths had less flourish, anyway.
Whether you are of the opinion that HIMSS has its mojo back, is tapping into a hype cycle or neither -- what is undoubtedly true is that HIMSS has discovered mobile in a big way. As predicted by many, countless vendors demonstrated how potential customers could use tablets (overwhelmingly Apple's iPad) and smartphones (still a good mix, but mostly iPhone and Android) to run new apps or legacy software.
I had the chance to sit down and discuss mobility in healthcare with a number of care providers, payors, vendors and even a handful of investors (yes, there's more of them at HIMSS now, too).
Here's a quick round-up of 12 mobile health-related news bulletins to come out of HIMSS this week. We'll have more on some of these and other HIMSS stories in the coming days. A sampling of the mobile highlights at HIMSS:
1. Practice Fusion launched an iPad app. The company partnered with LogMeIn to provide its user base with the $30 app. "Mobile is the future of medicine," Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion stated in the company press release. More
2. GE Healthcare announced a couple of mobile offerings. Officially, the company "demonstrated the extension of its healthcare IT portfolio to mobile devices and tablet computing" during the event. The demos included iPad and iPhone remote access for its Centricity Advance and Centricity Practice Solution offerings. More
3. ClearPractice, the makers of the Nimble EHR for iPad, told MobiHealthNews that when iPad 2 arrives they plan to add FaceTime video chatting to their offering. Assuming the next iPad has a camera, of course. More on this soon.
4. AT&T announced that it secured a new pilot customer for WellDoc's DiabetesManager program: Health Care Services Corporation, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The pilot marks the first announced partnership following AT&T's deal with WellDoc last year. More
5. Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. showed off Synapse Mobility, a mobile application that enables remote access to Fujifilm's high quality, interactive three dimensional medical images from hand-held mobile devices. More
6. Sprint announced that it would co-develop, certify and co-market a version of the Ideal Life hub to transmit health data over the operator's network. More
7. Verizon Wireless and Zipit Wireless introduced the Zipit Enterprise Critical Messaging Solution, a two-way paging system available exclusively from the mobile operator. More
8. Motion Computing announced a lower price point of a less powerful version of its C5v tablet computer: "the Motion C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) is now available with the Intel Core i3 processor. This new option makes a lower entry price point available..." Price is still north of $1800. More
9. Humana announced that it had acquired a stake in Vitality -- not that Vitality -- a wellness and loyalty plan company that is a subsidiary of South Africa-based Discovery Holdings. Humana will offer a version of the program in the US to its members, but the company told MobiHealthNews that mobile apps will be a key part of their offering. More on this soon. Release
10. App stores for EHRs: EHR vendors continue to talk about creating "app stores" for their platforms. Practice Fusion discussed its developer challenge with MobiHealthNews and plans to encourage more developers to create apps for its platform later this year. Allscripts announced a plan for an "app store" for its platform. The SHARP program, which is funding a group of researchers out of Harvard exploring modular EHR apps also presented at HIMSS this week.
11. Dr Chrono, which offers an iPad-based EHR, just entered the Y Combinator program -- this was not specifically announced at HIMSS, but the announcement did coincide. YC is an incubator program for promising startups. Jen McCabe's Contagion Health startup is also a part of YC. More
12. Navinet demonstrated the (re-skinned, post-acquisition) Prematics mobile offerings at its booth. More on this soon.
My trip to HIMSS kicked off with a presentation Monday morning. Greystone's Chris Catallo and I presented an overview of mobile health to some 900 attendees at the HIT X.0 event at HIMSS. (It likely helped that Aneesh Chopra, CTO of the federal government was presenting right after us and drew a crowd for us.) Many thanks to CareTech and the organizers for inviting me to speak at the event.
Safe travels home, HIMSS attendees.