Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summary of MMIS Conference : A Perspective from Dr. Vivek Gore

The MMIS Conference was held in sunny San Diego this year. San Diego is a beautiful city, and the conference location was right by the marina, with several ships and aircraft carriers within walking distance. I have to applaud the State of California for hosting the conference in San Diego instead of their capitol city of Sacramento.

The conference had some interesting sessions; Dr. Brailer had good ideas to present but I did not get a sense that there were any concrete next steps that had been identified. The PS-TG session was well attended, and there were a lot of good discussions during the break out sessions on the different topics. It was clear to me that the vendor community should focus on providing concrete examples and artifacts that can help to remove the vagueness that continues to plague the MMIS industry. A case in point was the discussion on security. We continue to talk about HIPAA and privacy and security yet there is no clear definition of these requirements from an MMIS implementation perspective.

The MITA Proof of Concept session didn’t have quite the impact that the presenters had hoped, because many people in the audience did not see anything that had not already been done. I realize that even this limited implementation required a lot of hard work from many people, but I feel that the MMIS audience won’t be satisfied until they something more comprehensive. People are also unsure about this whole model. I don’t believe that one can build an efficient system based solely on web services. Interoperability is good, and the SOA is a great concept, but an MMIS must first process claims correctly and efficiently.

Ever since CNSI set a tone for the evening events with the party in Big Sky, vendors have been trying to put on great shows for the conference evenings. This year, the Arabian Nights party by CNSI was a great hit, with belly dancers, swords, boa constrictors, and a cute four year girl being the stars of the show. The DJ struggled to put on good dance music, yet everyone had a good time. CNSI managed to put some eCAMS in all the attendees (I am talking about the drink), which was an innovative approach to branding. The zoo excursion by EDS and the dinner cruise with ACS were also enjoyable events, covering key San Diego attractions.

The booth displays were amazing because there were so many vendors. Only a few years ago, the booth area used to be really small with just the usual suspects. Now, if you have anything that is even remotely related to an MMIS, that’s a good enough reason to have a booth. I mean, just because I have some SOA product – and how is that related to MMIS? Also, if you sampled the booths, you would think that all that happens in an MMIS is fraud and abuse.

Personally, I enjoyed the conference. It is always good to meet people, learn about new ideas, demonstrate your products and have a good time. My personal triumph was winning a Socrates bobble head doll, as I somehow managed to balance that golf ball on the tee in just five minutes. The foxes given away by Fox Systems were quite a hit with my kids, as were the gadgets from S2Tech. Can’t wait to be in Nashville next year, hopefully with some more personal involvement in helping to advance the conference initiatives. I know that it will be a musical feast.

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