Editor's Corner

This week, I'm reporting from the HiMSS '07 show in New Orleans. The city is absolutely crawling with conference attendees who have commandeered just about every convention center-area hotel room and flight in or out.

To kick things off, I attended a vendor meeting focused on legacy systems integration, and the challenges involved in making that happen. The vendor, Emergin, outlined how they integrate alarms and events across the enterprise, and how this (of course) might benefit a hospital.

What was interesting to me was that Emergin doesn't plan to integrate EMR data until at least 2008. That's also true of other hospital-wide information systems vendors, who are focused on, say, asset tracking systems or ED patient flow.

The thing is, many hospital CIOs are focused on rolling out EMRs, as much because of political pressures as organizational ones. I find myself wondering whether an IT organization can even consider better integration or improved asset tracking at the same time as rolling out an EMR to hospital staff and community physicians. Which begs the question of whether EMR implementations crowding out other, possibly more valuable changes. It's a question worth asking.

As HIMSS progresses, I'll be grilling vendors on just this topic--the question of whether EMRs really deserve to be such a high priority, and if so, how their solution harmonizes with EMR projects. And I'll let you know what they have to say.

Check in at our website daily as we update you on the news from the conference rooms and the show floor. I can't promise to tell you everything about HiMSS--that'd be a superhuman task!--but look for some interesting tidbits and news as the week progresses. It should be fun. - Anne

P.S. If you're at HiMSS, don't miss tonight's On The Rocks party, which takes place from 6PM to 9PM at Utopia on Bourbon Street. We're looking forward to seeing you there!