I enjoyed this past week at KronosWorks 2013 in Orlando and wanted to recap some of my thoughts and observations for you.

This year’s conference was on the “after a new version was released a few months ago” cycle, instead of the “new version is about to launch!” so I saw and heard less of an emphasis on the new features and product direction from Kronos. My experience is that this is typical for conferences on the back side of a new version, and I was perfectly fine with that. But that didn’t mean that we didn’t hear about new cool trends or features coming in a future functionality pack release for v7.0.

One thing that I heard about and initially dismissed as relevant to healthcare was the social integration working its way into Workforce Central. At first, I thought the last thing nurses need is a “Facebook at work.” But, as I talked about it with folks, it slowly dawned on me that the value to hospitals would not be in a having a forum for text message small talk but that instead it could be a living virtual bulletin board for staff to interact about their shifts. In other words, posting a FB-type classic “Good morning everyone!” message would be useless but letting nurses post “Can anyone swap my Thurs night shift with me?” message would be very valuable. I’m very curious to see how that functionality evolves.

Another thing I saw that got me excited was a new reporting tool by the folks from CleverAnt that leveraged an Excel add-in and pulled scheduling data out for reporting or bi-directional data massaging. If you read this blog regularly, you know I’ve had growing concerns about the lack of attention being paid to the needs of the centralized staffing office users. I am optimistic that this kind of tool can help fill in some of the gaps and make the entire scheduling system a little more effective for a hospital.

At the Axsium booth in the Expo hall, it seemed to me like the overall percentage of healthcare attendees was down from previous years. This is purely a subjective observation but it made me wonder how many customers were unable to attend due to slashed hospital budgets. For the customers I did talk with, there were some of the same themes as past years like frustration with not getting as much out of scheduling as they hoped and curiosity over what benefits they would get if they upgraded. That does not surprise me at all. The upgrade question was always one that I had when I attended as a customer.
The one thing that did surprise me at our booth was the number of international customers who were at the conference. I even spoke with a health system rolling out scheduling in South Africa. (Guess what! They have the same challenges we all have experienced.)

So, overall, it was a good conference. And I’m already looking forward to next year!