More than 1,000 exhibitors descended on Las Vegas in late February for HIMSS12. There were a number of impressive technologies on display, which we can hardly cover in this space. Here are three solutions that caught our attention:

Pen is mightier than the form

Capturing patient history, demographics and signatures remain a ritual, but Nextgen Healthcare, Horsham, Pa., has launched a pen designed to be mightier than the form. NextPen houses a digital camera in its tip to capture data without scanning or transcription. After a patient completes a form, the NextPen is placed in a USB docking station, which transfers the data to the patient's electronic record. The pen works exclusively with NextGen's ambulatory electronic health record. Visit for a demo.

Medication alerts go mobile

Interactive care systems continue to add value to patient education, but there's more emphasis now on improving caregiver efficiency and quality of care. GetWellNetwork Inc.'s QuickCare tools offered at the bedside through the television or Apple's iPad enable caregivers to teach patients about new medications through direct access to the medication database or by retrieving the real-time list of a patient's prescribed medications. Patients also can be quizzed through their television screens to ensure they understand medication instructions. Caregivers can help reduce readmissions by guiding patients with chronic diseases through multiphase care plans that can be accessed at home or at the bedside.

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Not just a boob tube

Armed with knowledge from serving more than 1.6 million hotel rooms, LodgeNet Interactive Corp. has a sense of how to turn the TV into a powerful interactive tool. The company's eNGAGE solution enables hospitals to preload disease-specific educational materials, thus ensuring that patients get information relevant to their stay. The system also gives clinicians real-time information so they know which, if any, videos the patient watched. And, it drives patients to a series of portals with post-discharge information.

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