AHIMA 2013: Observations from the convention floor

Years ago when I was about to head off to college, my grandfather took me aside and gave me some advice he thought would help me as I adjusted while at school. What he told me back then that has stuck with me ever since: “Like waters rise together.” He meant that when you enter a new situation with people you don’t know, you will eventually find the people most like you and settle into that new situation.

Walking around at AHIMA this year and viewing all of the vendors, their booths, their offerings, and marketing messages, I find that my grandfather’s quote may apply here as well, just in a slightly altered format: “All vendors blend together.”

Based on marketing messages, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between all of the companies that frequent these conferences. Every company promotes the same benefits and their offerings are starting to sound the same:

  •  Computer-Assisted Coding
  •  Coder Productivity
  •  Enhancing Financial Integrity
  •  Data Quality
  •  Improved Patient Care
  •  Improved Documentation for ICD-10
  •  Your ICD-10 Solution
  •  Improved Accuracy of Physician Documentation

If you walk around AHIMA this year, you’re likely to see some version of these “marketing tag lines” on probably 80% of the booths or signs of the companies attending.

Instead of coming to AHIMA to find out who has the best solution to fit whatever coding or documentation or other HIM issues your organization is facing, it seems like you’re more likely to walk away confused, not knowing quite how to differentiate between what everyone is offering.

I wonder what crescendo we’re heading for the closer we get to the ICD-10 deadline, and how much more similar every coding, CDI, and documentation company’s messaging will become. How will you differentiate between vendors and their marketing messages? I’m interested in hearing what criteria you plan to use to decide what’s best for your organization? Trust? History? Experience? Results data? Or something else?

Jeremy Zasowswki is the Marketing Manager for 3M Health Information System’s Emerging Business Team.

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