Surprisingly little buyer's excitement at HIMSS09

If your job doesn't cross over into tech, you may not have been at this year's big HIMSS show, the health IT industry's giant annual coming out party. But if you were you might have been surprised, as was I, at how little excitement there seemed to be among attendees.

One would think that with stimulus money burning a hole in people's pockets, it would be "buy, buy, buy," but I didn't get that sense at all. In fact, as I saw it, year's HIMSS was something of a downer compared with the shows I've attended in prior years.

Unlike the 2008 show the booths, which have been completely mobbed in prior years, seemed relatively poorly attended. The HIMSS organization itself admitted that attendance was down 5 or 6 percent, but the show floor felt even less crowded than that.

Looked at another way, sure, there were bright lights and a tent, but someone forgot the elephants. There just wasn't a feeling of change about to happen--which to me, suggests that big spending decisions weren't really in the air.

And what about the technology itself? Well, I didn't personally see anything that gave me a super wow factor, though the show  there was much to be seen that I surely missed.

All told, given the impending IT stimulus funding, an overall climate favorable to IT investment and an economy that seems to be improving, you'd expect to feel some of the electricity in the air at HIMSS09, but somehow I missed it.

Let's hope the pace picks up next year when the real money for IT investment starts to flow back into the market. If not, those parties next year may be even more of a bummer. - Anne

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