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HIMSS 2014 Takeaways

by | Mar 7, 2014

Snowbound Software was at HIMSS last week in Orlando, Florida. With 38,828 attendees, it was the largest HIMSS conference to date. Below are just a handful of topics that were buzzing on the show floor and at the Snowbound booth.

Everyone wants mobile device support

We talked to handfuls of people at the show inquiring about mobile device support. In these discussions, it was apparent that doctors and other healthcare workers largely drive mobile adoption and that vendors are essentially being dragged along.

For example, despite the interest from buyers, a lot of the big vendors (including McKesson, Epic, Oracle and Cerner) didn’t seem to be displaying their mobile solutions in general—instead showing off their traditional systems dependent on big screens and workstations. This isn’t terribly surprising as mobile adoption requires vendors to face BYOD considerations, which raise many security and reliability issues. However, as mobile increasingly becomes the operating system of preference, healthcare vendors and organizations alike will have no choice but to confront BYOD concerns.

Specifically within the document viewing industry, visitors wondered if mobile device cameras could be incorporated with document viewing solutions. With so many users transitioning to mobile and tablet devices to view and manage documents, integrating photo uploading capabilities looks like the next step in that evolution.

We were excited to be able to demo our document viewer, VirtualViewer HTML5, on both tablets and mobile phones throughout the week for everyone under the healthcare umbrella–doctors, patients, admin, and billing.

Finding cloud-based solutions with offline support

In addition to mobile device support inquiries, numerous visitors to the Snowbound booth were interested in document viewing components for both cloud-based and SaaS applications. It’s clear that solutions that don’t require installations and downloads and utilize pure HTML and cloud technology have a leg up on the competition.

However, one thing cloud-based HTML solutions require is an internet connection. A few buyers on the show floor asked us about offline support for viewing and annotating documents when an internet connection on a mobile device is not available. This is one avenue where an application might be a possible solution if it allowed the user to download the document to the device’s OS or Google Drive for later use. When the internet connection is later restored, the app would then allow the document to upload back to the repository.

Dentists and vets outpacing doctors

In talking with some billing systems people on the show floor, we learned that in general dentists and veterinarians are far ahead of doctors and hospitals in regards to adopting EHR solutions. We found this finding interesting, particularly in light of the attention being paid to doctors when it comes to EHR adoption. As technology vendors evaluate the marketplace, it’s important to remember that physicians aren’t the only ones interested in reaping the benefits of electronic reords. Clearly, numerous other areas of healthcare are hungry for EHR solutions as well.

Sellers outnumber buyers

This year saw significantly more sellers than buyers touring the floor. Likewise, the first time exhibitor and startup areas were incredibly busy for the entire duration of the show. This increase in sellers suggests that more and more vendors are emerging with solutions to help healthcare providers of all types meet the EHR incentive program requirements. With MU2 getting delayed, the healthcare solutions market is going to continue to surge.

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These are just a few of the takeaways that emerged from our week at HIMSS. If you were also at the show, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.