The Big Dog filled the 5,000-seat auditorium to overflowing at the Big Easy's Morial Convention Center, forcing HIMSS to set up four video viewing rooms elsewhere on site. It will be a rough measure of her popularity as a candidate to see if she draws as well or better.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, whose company has branched out in health information technology in a major way, will give the opening keynote Monday morning. Aetna has earned health IT street cred by establishing its own IT division, Healthagen, and acquiring popular mobile healthcare app iTriage and health information exchange service provider Medicity.
Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator, and Dr. Karen DeSalvo, who last month was named to lead the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, will tag-team as back-to-back keynoters Thursday.
Both the CMS and the ONC are at ground zero of two federal initiatives that likely will dominate the convention's educational sessions and the exhibit this year—the Oct. 1, 2014 compliance deadline for the nationwide switch to the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes, and the recently stepped up Stage 2 meaningful-use criteria of the EHR incentive payment program. Both ICD-10 and Stage 2 are taxing provider health IT departments and HIT vendors alike.
The CMS mandated the ICD-10 switch and runs the incentive payment program while ONC cheerleads for both and oversees the programs of testing and certification of EHRs needed for Stage 2. Both Tavenner and DeSalvo can expect to hear an earful if they hold question-and-answer sessions after their talks.
Tech for accountable care organizations, home monitoring, data analytics, data interchange, patient and mobile access to health records all will see big plays at the show this year.
The last time HIMSS was in the land of Disney was 2011 when the convention drew a then-record 31,000. HIMSS is promoting on its website this year that the convention draws 37,000, which was the attendance record set in 2012 in Las Vegas.
HIMSS drew 34,000 last year to New Orleans.
(Correction: An earlier headline on this story incorrectly referred to Hillary Clinton as the closing keynote speaker. The headline has been updated.)
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn