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Let's stop being awed and amazed

By Eric Wicklund, Editor, ATA 2012 Show Dailies

The ATA 2012 Exhibit Hall is a great place to meet fellow telemedicine enthusiasts, check out the latest in poster presentations and perhaps buy a beer or a cocktail before going out to dinner.

But new technology?

Rest assured, the show floor at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center is busier and more crowded than ever. But we're starting to see a subtle change on the floor, a move away from the bells and whistles of the industry in its earlier days. Gone are, for the most part, the splashy exhibits with carnival-style emcees, games and novelty bric-a-brac.

Instead, we're seeing more sedate, assured displays, examples of technology that's been around the block, and is now starting to prove its worth. Or we're seeing old concepts used in new ways, addressing the challenges to telemedicine adoption that we've long waited to tackle.

In other words, the future is here, folks. Time to stop dreaming and start doing.

Sure, you'll still find some novel concepts out there – innovation will always be part of the ATA, now in its 17th year. Someone will always have something new to show off or try out. But the emphasis isn't on new any more – it's on stuff that works, that has proven ROI and is giving us evidence that it's here to stay.

That message is bubbling to the surface in the many educational sessions and industry panel discussions as well. Many of the presenters, in fact, we've seen and heard before. They've proven themselves, and now they're back to take that next step towards accomplishment. We're not looking for ideas to tackle the problem of making telemedicine a standard of care in this country and elsewhere – we're looking for solutions.

So when you're walking through the Exhibit Hall today, don't feel disappointed if you feel like you've seen all this before. That's a good thing. You're looking at vendors that have weathered the storm and carved out a sustainable niche in the industry.

Let's stop being awed and amazed. It's time to get serious.

(OK, maybe not THAT serious ….)

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