HIMSS 2014: A Live Look from the Show Floor

HIMSS 2014

It has been so exciting for Avaya to be a part of HIMSS14 here in Orlando, Florida.

The weather has been perfect and the rain held off to the last night of the exhibits. This is a huge event; it’s hard to describe the scale of it. The exhibit space takes a mile to walk the length of, and the Willis Tower in Chicago (better known as the Sears Tower) can fit on its side with room to spare in the exhibit space.

HIMSS14 had just under 40,000 attendees staying in 85 hotels. There are more than 1,400 exhibits, and it takes more than 4 million pounds of freight to make the event happen.

It was very enlightening to hear from Aetna’s CEO, Mark Bertolini as he shared the four challenges facing healthcare: Wasteful healthcare spending, an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, U.S. healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP continuing to increase, while U.S. healthcare premiums grow at 4x the growth of wages and inflation.

Bertolini offered three prescriptions, notably incentives and payment reforms, taking care of the chronically ill and investing in wellness, which he believes is a 25-year journey.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at HIMSS 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at HIMSS 2014.

We also heard from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who praised all the attendees at HIMSS for their efforts to drive improvements to healthcare through improvements in health-related technology.

Clinton said HIMSS was in a position to not just help the industry see what’s over the next horizon. She also talked about how evidence-based debate is crucial to healthcare reform, and that we can all be part of providing evidence and real solutions.

There were quite a few people with some very tired feet from all the walking, but I believe we all walked away with new insights and relationships that will help take healthcare IT to the next level.