The trials and tribulations of a middle-aged PACS consultant,
father, and garage sale junkie as he engages in his
never-ending search for sanity in an insane world.

Friday, March 4, 2011


It’s been over a month since I last posted but then it’s been a VERY busy month. I’m going to try and do much better but as I said I don’t make New Years’ resolution’s because I rarely keep them so…here ya go!!

HIMSS®- what an interesting show!! 1000+ vendors, 31,000+ people and I asked myself time and again why was I there? It wasn’t to increase press registration although just like RSNA® there were more vendors than attendees (16,586 vendors, 14,639 professional registrants, all willing to pay $3.00 for a 12 ounce Diet Coke® at the Orange Convention Center’s soda machines). Radiology, at least in the form of RIS and PACS, was all but invisible, hidden behind big company facades of products that more clearly addressed the buzzwords of “meaningful use”, EHR/PHR/EMR , and the like and not something as plain Jane or boring as radiology (although there was good representation by VNA and cloud providers.) Why then was I humped like a dog in heat from every advertising and PR agency this side of East Jesus asking me if I could spare “just 30 minutes” to meet with the companies they represented? I kid you not I got 178 e-mails on companies products and services- 178!!!. Of these exactly three (3) represented radiology and radiology-related products and the rest just wasted server space, although it was fascinating to see the way these companies market products for their clients. I loved the “Hi, are you going to HIMSS?” e-mails. Look, dip shit, you got my name from HIMSS as a registered member of the press covering the show but know I’ll be covering it remotely like the Casey Anthony trial….. watching TV and eating bon-bons on the couch but send me your stuff anyway…. just like one major company did by sending me their press kit on CD via Fed Ex overnight one week after I had already submitted my story to the editor. Good move. It would have been much better if you had done what others did having flash drives with your press kit on it in the press room. That would have guaranteed I had at least two copies of your kit were readily available when I needed it- and perhaps even more if you had then on 2GB or 4GB flash drives . Of course it must be pointed out that I was just obtaining these extras for my counterparts who could not make it and wanted their own copies and no other. I do have scruples and integrity you know…and do use the stock photos as well, so thanks.

I covered my thoughts on the show and a few highlights on AuntMinnie.com® (http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=ris&pag=dis&ItemID=94411 if you are interested) but the fun parts were really looking at the vendors and chatting with them. The giveaways here were awesome- check these out- scooters, jet skis, and of course at least 1500 Apple ®iPads.

Of course with the new iPad® coming out this week the ones that were won were already obsolete but still…I have a 6 year old computer that works semi-fine but my kids are still trying to get me over to a Mac.

I did the PACSMan® awards for RSNA on AuntMinnie ®
(http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pac&pag=dis&itemId=93457 if you are interested) so here’s my version for HIMSS:

“Ich bin ein Berliner!" Some vendors really got screwed with their booth placement but few worse than poor Canadian-based Client Outlook, Inc who got stuck behind ECM Software’s Berlin Wall . Nothing like a 10’ wall in front of you when you are trying to have people see your enterprise viewer product. E-Unity® is a good product too- too bad many never got to see it. At first I thought “Hey, WTF is ECM doing here putting up a wall like this!!” but then I realized it wasn’t ECM’s fault but HIMSS for allowing this. Truth be known most of the radiology companies- at least first or second time exhibitors- were in the very back of the exhibit hall while several non-radiology first time exhibitors happened to be located near the front of the hall. Mere coincidence? You tell me…but considering that radiology was all but ignored by HIMSS…it sure looks highly suspicious to me.

Best Marketing
- without a doubt XLR8r. They had it together.

Worst Marketing- No names will be used to protect the guilty, but it deals with infection control and I’ll leave it at that. I wish I could have taken a picture but guys tend to frown on you when you bring a camera in the men’s room so you’ll have to take my word on this one. I’m standing there getting rid of the morning's coffee and look down and there, written on the urinal screen, is the message “Your keyboard is 4 times dirtier that this” (or something like that). I’m like- “Is NOTHING sacred any more?” Now I’ve been in sports bars and such where they had the newspaper sports section posted above the urinal so you can look at the headlines while you take a leak but the urinal screen? And I really didn’t want to argue with the guys but in the absence of a disease condition urine is basically sterile and is greater than 95% water, with the remaining constituents, in order of decreasing concentration urea 9.3 g/L, chloride 1.87 g/L, sodium 1.17 g/L, potassium 0.750 g/L, creatinine 0.670 g/L and other dissolved ions, inorganic and organic compounds so what’s so dirty about a little pee. If it was good enough for Gandhi it’s good enough for me…. But alas I digress lest someone say I’m full of piss and vinegar.

Most Fun- Cattail Software’s Karate Choppin’ Buzz Lightyear™ giveaway. When I asked Heather Duffy, the attractive gal in the photo below, what the connection was to their product she said “The future is here.” OK, I get it…”To infinity and beyond!!!” and all that jazz. Next year though they need to get some Woodys so I could say “I got a Woody at Cattail Software!”. That might turn a head or two…

Best Giveaway (outside of the jet skis and scooters and such)- Formfast’s Indiana Jones hats….Must have set them back $15 each but it brought the people in for sure…

Silliest- Gotta love the “Operation” game in Sepaton’s booth

Best Product Name- ebc wayfinding's “Electronic Breadcrumbs”

Best Button- Extormity (aka MIE Medical Informatics Engineering) I love truth in advertising.

Best Double Entendre (and don’t tell me that’s not intentional either). Zebra Technologies.

Most Realistic Representation of How Much Going to HIMSS Costs- KGS/Kforce Government…Their TraumaFX® product was pretty cool although I’m not sure how it ties in to HIMSS outside…Now while I understand why they call the trainer MATT and acronym for Multiple Amputee Trauma Trainer that’s also my son’s name so…

Weirdest- WTF was going on in the Carefx booth with the “Glee” meets “Dancing with the Stars” routine. Three times a &(&^$ day…I though the guys in the Fuji booth were going to smuggle in shotguns by Wednesday morning….and it would have been justifiable homicide at that. Now I am all for corporate enthusiasm but his was carried wayyyyy to far…The decibel level was also ridiculous…..and the tie in? Now I read the company’s tenets- “Benefit of the Doubt”- trusting each other while knowing that all team members have your back while you’re giving your best; “Make It Great,”- the amazing collective energy by striving to improve each and every day and; “Juice.”- solutions, positive attitude, teamwork, and results while under pressure- but come on, this is a trade show, not an audition for America’s Got Talent. I guess I missed it. Maybe if they had a guy dressed as Jesus it would have been better received, playing off their “I Am…” tee shirt giveaway instead.

They’re Tanned They’re Rested, They’re Back!!- …and I loved chatted with them. I smiled hearing the comment “AT&T® is entering the world of healthcare!!” Really now? Ever heard of CommView®? No? Oh wait, that was before you were born my little 22 year old puppy…...my bad…

And last, but not least, from the “I sure hope they paid you a lot for dressing up like this” file, the guys at TeraMedica® who had to endure four days of dressing up like a male version of Betsy Ross to drive home the company’s “Declare Your Vendor Independence ™” message. It’s a great message but…..

Now for those dozen or so people who actually read this blog and wanted a follow on to my prior post here is an update:

I got over the cold from Hades that destroyed my one and only vacation week between Christmas and New Years and now just have to deal with everything blooming down here. Yes it is Florida and yes everything is in bloom. Thank God for Claratin® D and Zyrtec ® D- I’ll live on the stuff for the next 3 weeks or so. Unfortunately wearing contacts is out of the question so I get to embarrass my son by wearing my 1980’s vintage glasses instead. …

Business has picked up to the point where I am about as busy as I need to be (but in typical consultant fashion there is always room for one more engagement. Call NOW!!). With over 25 years experience being on my own I have gotten used to this month to month hand to mouth existence and never once missed a mortgage payment or had to suffer some of the hardships that others have had to endure.

My friend is back from addressing the challenges he faced and has a completely new positive outlook on life. While it cost his insurance $16,800.00 for 30 days treatment (what a racquet!) it was worth ten times that to those of us who have witness this near complete transformation of this train wreck that was waiting to happen.

Things seemed to have worked out on the home front as well. The bump in the road I experienced took all four tires off the road for long enough to have me concerned, but thankfully I’ve been driving long enough to be able to recover and stay on the road instead of hitting a tree. I realized that cruise control can only go so far and that I need to look at the road a little closer to make sure that bumps like this don’t happen again but so far so good.

Overall life is good. Now if I can just get another post up in less than 6 weeks it will be even better. Till next time, enjoy!!


  1. Sorry I missed you at HIMSS. Would have been a blast (from the past) to cross paths. I've been editor of patient Safety & Quality Healthcare for more than 7 years (post-AHRA) and working in some radiology stories these days. Hope to see you soon. Glad to see you haven't lost your attitude!

  2. I saw the Betsy Ross outfitted guys and felt terrible for them. I'd much rather be a booth babe dressed in a skimpy outfit than dressed in that humiliating thing which didn't make any sense. Was the vendor going for the "we're an old, antiquated, legacy system, but we're reliable" look? If so, they got that label from me. I couldn't even talk to them.