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The Experience of a HIMSS First Timer

March 3, 2017 | MERGE Atlanta team

Every year, those who work in the healthcare industry look forward to HIMSS, one of healthcare’s biggest conferences of the year. HIMSS attracts thousands of healthcare professionals from around the world to collaboratively discuss how to overcome healthcare industry challenges, as well as uncover opportunities based on what attendees are seeing and experiencing. Now that I have my first HIMSS conference under my belt, I reflect on the following three takeaways that promote a successful HIMSS experience for both first timers and seasoned veterans.

Be a sponge. One of the biggest things we focus on in healthcare is to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can. While attending HIMSS, attendees can learn by stopping by booths and learning about companies, attending sessions that pique your interest and listening to conversations going on around you. This is a tradeshow where you do not have to be afraid to ask questions. Everyone around you is just as curious as you are. For example, when I was at a booth, I learned about how a certain company is approaching improving patient access through patient appointment reminders based on a question an attendee asked a booth member. Moving forward, this will help me understand what approaches will be a focus for healthcare in 2017.

Observe all of the creativity from the booth designs. A booth that immediately captured my attention used greenery as part of the booth design. Not only can you learn about the companies based on their booth designs, you can also learn about the trends they are focusing on in healthcare. For example, another booth I walked by had a game at their booth available to attendees that not only offered players a prize, but walked the players through the pitfalls and positive parts to value-based care vs. fee for service. While not every booth is the same, it’s safe to say that companies should look to leverage a creative booth to help showcase the services they deliver.

Learn and understand the conference trends. Through participating in all aspects of HIMSS, attendees can pick up the trends throughout the conference. At the 2017 conference, the major trends we observed included (but certainly weren’t limited to): changes based on the Trump administration, payer transparency, interoperability, rising pharmaceutical costs, patient access and EHR optimization. Understanding these trends can guide what your takeaways should be in order to know the true pain points of the industry. Which means, as we continue through 2017, these overall trends discussed at HIMSS will need to be implemented in how the industry approaches healthcare pain points.

Overall, HIMSS17 was a tradeshow for the books. By keeping these key learnings in mind, you will be able to not only guide your organization’s journey for HIMSS, but your own.

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