HIMSS10 could have been a mobile event all to itself

The annual HIMSS conference isn't necessarily about mobile healthcare, but if you went just to gather information about mobile technologies, you likely would not have been disappointed. (Sleep-deprived like everyone else, perhaps, but not disappointed.)

You've already seen our coverage of the opening keynote address by Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse, in which I proclaimed that mobile healthcare had arrived on the big stage. You've likely also read about the breakfast FierceMobileHealthcare and FierceWireless hosted a week ago, plus some other mobile-related stories we picked up at HIMSS10.

But there was so much more we haven't reported on just yet.

Nuance Communications took advantage of the fact that HIMSS10 brought together more than 27,000 health IT professionals at the Georgia World Congress Center to demonstrate a prototype of the long-awaited iPhone version of the company's Dragon Medical speech-recognition software. It's more than just a mobile adaptation of a popular product, but a new direction for Nuance. Nuance product marketing specialist Keith Belton called the mobile Dragon Medical the company's first thin-client product, specifically designed not to store any data locally. Mobile devices can get lost or stolen, and if there's any protected health information on a device that goes missing, you've got yourself some HIPAA problems.

I also had a conversation last week with Dr. Chris Hobson, chief medical officer of connectivity vendor Orion Health, a company that's now moving into wireless monitoring, in partnership with disease-management firm Alere Health. Thanks to Orion software, Alere now can offer home-based peak-flow meters for patients with asthma and "smart" blood-pressure monitors for those with heart and circulatory conditions and have the devices automatically send readings to healthcare providers, populating EMRs along the way.

Most importantly, according to Hobson, the software saves alerts for when there's an abnormal reading. "Physicians only want to know when someone's off the guidelines," Hobson said.

I've now covered nine HIMSS conferences, but this was the first since I got myself a smartphone. If you read my commentary in FierceHealthIT yesterday, you know that I can empathize with the idea of limiting unnecessary messages. - Neil