Observations from Day One of HealthCon

Jon Ellis
Nov 10, 2012

Imprivata’s HealthCon kicked off with a full crowd on Wednesday morning. I had been anticipating this first full day since seeing the scheduled speakers and breakout sessions. Kicking it all off was our own Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Gaudet. I knew Ed would prepare the crowd of attendees for what would be an exciting day. 

HealthCon’s first keynote speaker  was someone I had been looking forward to hearing from: Dr. John Halamka, the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, co-Chair of the national HIT Standards Committee, a practicing Emergency Physician, as well as a member and co-Chair of many other notable organizations and groups. I knew his speech would be a must see and he did not disappoint!

Dr. Halamka touched on many subjects diving deeply into Stage 2 Meaningful Use as well as discussing some of the highlights of what would be coming in Stage 3. I was particularly interested when he talked about the daily threats he sees from hackers attempting to penetrate his organization and how even innocent actions like downloading a game app from the internet can ultimately cause a great amount of damage. Peppered within his talk were some great quotes. I especially liked:  “The CIO - no authority, but all of the accountability”, “ From the physicians brain to the patients vein with no paper”, and “paper kills” – a comment about how easy it is for handwritten prescriptions to be misread, opening up the possibility of patients getting the wrong medication, in dangerous amounts. Certainly food for thought! I wouldn’t want someone’s wellbeing to be predicated on my hastily written notes, would you?

The audience next heard from our CEO, Omar Hussain. He led everyone through a brief history of Imprivata and how many of our products came to fruition. As a recent new member of the Imprivata team I thought it was great to hear the story of the evolution of Imprivata over the past ten years. Omar is a skilled story teller and did a great job as he worked through the products and the years. His message came through clearly: our greatest products and innovations have been driven by our partnership with our customers and partners. After a great day of collaboration with our customers and partners, I think it is clear this will continue.

I enjoyed the many demonstrations of new innovations and soon to be released products! An entire separate blog entry could be written on each. I particularly enjoyed the presentation on Cortext, Imprivata’s HIPPA compliant texting solution, no doubt because this is the product team I work on. Belinda Hayes, VP & GM of our Mobile Products Group and Dr. Sean Kelly, our Chief Medical Office did an outstanding job introducing Cortext to the attendees.  Judging by the overwhelming percentage of Cortext questions during the morning’s Q&A session I could tell there was a lot of Cortext interest generated during the presentation.  Sean had a great quote: “security without usability is useless.” This is so true!

After the morning session it was time to head to Cortext booth duty in the Solutions Fair. Although I’ve had a long career in technology and services, this was my first time working a booth in a tradeshow. I enjoy talking with customers and potential customers, so I knew this would be a rewarding experience. It is very exciting when you see a customer’s eyes light up with understanding as you explain and demonstrate how your product can make their lives easier and more productive. As their wheels start turning, they start to put together how we can help solve their problems, and then we are off and running!  What was really great about our booth was not just that we could demo our product, but we could hand an iPhone or an Android phone over to the customer and engage them in Cortext-ing while we demonstrated the features and touched on how we can streamline caregiver workflows and communication.

One of the best things about your company having its own conference is the opportunity to meet face to face with customers you have only enjoyed a phone or email relationship with as well as with those you haven’t seen for a while. I leveraged both of these opportunities.  At the “Understanding the Mobile Health Ecosystem” breakout session I not only got to meet Ian Hyatt, VP and CTO of Lifespan, but I also go to see him as a panelist!  It was great to shake his hand and have a quick chat. I am very much looking forward to working with him as Lifespan engages with Cortext! As an added bonus we all got to hear Dr. Sean Kelly tell a few very funny and true stories of what we should expect in the future wave of new physicians. Sally Arnett, the VP of Information Systems at Licking Memorial Hospital was also a panelist and shared her insight on important topics such as the need going forward for technology solutions to be device agnostic. Given the direction of BYOD a hospital needs tools that will provide the same solutions and positive experience regardless of the hardware vendor.

It was also great to have a few minutes with Frank Fear, the CIO of Memorial Healthcare in Owosso, Michigan. Frank helped us with our very first Cortext beta trial. He and his team have continued since that time to be a great resource and supporter of Cortext, consistently providing us with product suggestions and feedback.   That is one the great things about our customers: they want us to succeed as much as we want them to succeed! 

Looking back at my very full day at HealthCon I came away with a few thoughts: it is clear to me that the folks involved with healthcare and its technologies, whether they are a consumer of the solutions or a maker of those solutions, are all very passionate about what they do. They are also overwhelming positive, supportive and great to work with! Although a conference can certainly be tiring, the energy and enthusiasm of our customers and the people I work with kept me going all day!  My last thought? I can’t wait until next year!