Editor's note: Matthew Weinstock will be reporting all week from HIMSS12.


LAS VEGAS — HIMSS12 officially kicked off Tuesday with more than 34,700 attendees packing the Venetian Palazzo Sands Expo Center. It was a full day with education sessions and meetings on the expansive exhibit floor, where 1,123 companies are showing off their wares. In the spirit of the opening keynote speaker — Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, I'm going to keep this blog short and sweet.

First, Stone. The HIMSS brochure billed Stone's address this way: "We look forward to hearing Mr. Stone's view of how social media can influence the changing health care landscape." Stone, however, didn't really address health care in his hourlong speech. Instead, he offered up some broad theories on entrepreneurship, leadership and how to influence change. In true Twitter fashion, here are Stone's key messages:

  • Opportunities can be manufactured.
  • Creativity is a renewable resource.
  • To succeed spectacularly, be prepared to fail spectacularly.
  • There is a compound interest in altruism.

Continuing with in the Twitter vein, let's get to some of the highlights from day one at HIMSS12:

HIMSS released its annual leadership survey, which included some pretty telling statistics. Perhaps most interesting, 21 percent of respondents ranked "lack of staffing resources" as the top barrier to implementing IT. That compares to 14 percent who said that financial resources were the top barrier. It's the first time that HIMSS officials can remember anything other than financial resources topping the list. The concern is not just that there aren't enough qualified IT professionals out there, but that hospitals have to compete with consultants and vendors for the same limited pool of talent.

I spoke with Susan Heichert, senior vice president and CIO at Allina Hospitals & Clinics in Minneapolis about her concerns when it comes to staffing.

Here are some other results from the HIMSS leadership survey:

  • 38 percent ranked achieving meaningful use as their top IT priority
  • 25 percent said that having a fully operational EHR was their top clinical IT focus
  • 26 percent of respondents had already attested for Stage 1 meaningful use, 27 percent expect to attest in the first six months of 2012
  • 67 percent said implementing ICD-10 was their primary financial IT focus (the survey was taken before CMS announced that it is going to look into delaying implementation)
  • 89 percent said they'll be ready for ICD-10 by Oct. 2013

Speaking of ICD-10, every CIO I've talked to this week has said that they are going full-steam ahead with their transition to the new coding set. It would be foolish — and far too expensive — to slow things down or, worse yet, stop the progress that they've already made, they said.

I asked Heichert about this as well.

Finally, among the many vendor visits I did Tuesday, I had the chance to sit down and talk with Eric Dishman, global director, health innovation and policy at Intel. Dishman is truly one of the industry's big thinkers. He works with health care organizations and governments around the world, looking for ways to improve the care process. He says that other parts of the world, including Australia, China and the European Union are making significant investments to truly focus on patient-centered care, far ahead of the U.S. He says that the transition here to a value and outcomes-based delivery system is a step in the right direction, but he worries that the U.S. is not doing enough to harness IT to truly drive care coordination and patient-centered care.

I'll have a wrap of HIMSS12 in tomorrow's blog, including a report of ONC chief Farzad Mostashari's keynote address.