Out of hibernation

It’s been since March 29 that I’ve updated this blog. That was much longer than I had anticipated. I know it’s been too long when I start getting e-mails wondering what happened to me. Honestly, I didn’t realize this blog was that popular. Aw, shucks. I know some people have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately for Digital HealthCare & Productivity either. I will have stories there next week, however.

As I mentioned nearly two months ago, I was buried in a huge assignment from Doctor’s Digest. I’m actually still working on some loose ends. I also took 10 much-needed days for a vacation in Italy. (Thanks, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn for your tips on Florence.)

What’s the occasion of this post? I have plenty of material saved up that will not make it into Doctor’s Digest, and I do plan on posting some of it here once the copy is finalized, likely sometime in June. For now, I choose to comment on next week’s TEPR Conference.

The sponsoring organization, the Medical Records Institute, is expecting just 2,000 people and little more than 100 exhibitors this year. That’s half what the conference drew at its peak three or four years ago. As of today, some of the invited speakers had not even been confirmed.

The spin I’m getting is that the number and quality of educational sessions have been increased. I’ll buy that one because last year featured presentations only from actual users, not vendor representatives.

Also, MRI is planning some special things for next year, the 25th edition of TEPR. First off, it will be Feb. 1-5, 2009, rather than the spring, on account of HIMSS ’09 being in April to accommodate the Chicago weather. (FYI, it was 48 degrees on the shores of Lake Michigan yesterday, May 12. Consider yourself warned.) I will be happy to go to Palm Springs, Calif., for a February TEPR next year.

Secondly, MRI is planning to pump up attendance next year by rolling back prices on registration and exhibit space to the level of the first conference in 1985.

A major focus of this year’s event is going to be the cell phone as a conduit for interoperability. The iPhone certainly is a big part of that. Somehow, I don’t expect Dr. James Mault of Microsoft to mention the iPhone during his TEPR keynote next Tuesday, however.

Speaking of Microsoft, this is the first time I’ve blogged on my new HP Pavilion notebook, running Windows Vista, and it’s really slow when I want to highlight blocks of text for hyperlinks. At least one other site I’ve used recently recomments the Mozilla Firefox browser for a Java application. I wonder if I’m having a similar problem here. Any thoughts?