After making the move from taking care of patients as a pediatric nurse in the late 90's to working in healthcare information technology, I've lost track of exactly how many HIMSS conferences I’ve attended at this point. I do remember one year my kids sent a stomach virus through our house like a tornado so I missed the one in Atlanta, but other than that, I haven't missed a beat. I recently joined Kyruus and while some folks from here have attended in the past, this is our first year exhibiting at the "Greatest HIT Show On Earth" and we’re looking forward to being a part of it (craziness and all)!
If you've never been to HIMSS, it's like nothing you've ever experienced before in a tradeshow. For some newer attendees (and even the veterans), it can be overwhelming, fascinating, inspiring, exhausting, and entertaining all at the same time. From the long bus / cab lines, seemingly endless number of educational sessions and 1,200+ vendor booths (some of which go all out to attract attendees) to the sightings of old healthcare acquaintances at every corner and the hundreds of swag items (the best being Kyruus' matching socks of course) you will find for your kids (trust me, they love them!) and evening parties, there’s truly something for everyone at HIMSS. With so much going on, it’s critical to be strategic about how to spend your time at HIMSS so you can get the most out of your time at the event.
Some quick tips for those of you who haven't attended HIMSS before (or need a refresher):
- Wear comfortable shoes! By the end of day one, people are always complaining how bad their feet hurt...and then I look down and see what they are wearing - of course they hurt! HIMSS is not a fashion show, it's an HIT show - you won't be judged by what you wear!
- Catch up on work/emails in the bus line / ride back to your hotel! Staying far enough away that you need a bus? Be prepared for long lines at the end of each day and enjoy your ride back to hotel by catching up on life outside of the craziness of HIMSS.
- Take advantage of the educational sessions, which are priceless (for the most part). My one piece of advice is if you go to one, pay attention! Too often half the crowd is on their devices catching up on life/work (guilty of this myself), but these presenters have put a lot of time and effort into preparing for these informative sessions, so pay attention!
- Venture to some of vendors that aren't along the main aisles. You'd be surprised at what's out there that many folks don't even know exists yet! A solution to a key challenge your organization is facing could be on one of those very aisles!
- Seek out informal networking opportunities. Strike up conversations with industry peers over lunch, after an educational session, on the tradeshow floor and wherever else you can! The amount of knowledge on the HIMSS floor is mind-boggling! From the most senior of executives to some of the smartest technical people around, networking can be exceptional at HIMSS.
While some have said data storage, consumerism, patient engagement, security, HITECH, the Affordable Care Act, and many other topics may dominate the "theme" of this year's HIMSS, one thing is for certain: it will once again be a crazy HIMSS in Orlando...and, unlike Chicago HIMSS from years ago, snow should not be a factor.
Of course if your organization is looking for ways to improve provider data management, reduce patient leakage, get more patients to book appointments online, or increase the efficiency of its call center, swing by booth #5045 to learn more about Kyruus, pick up your socks, get coffee in the morning and drinks in the evening. Get ready, get set....GO!
Travis Moore, MBA, RN is Senior Vice President of Market Solutions at Kyruus, where he is responsible for Marketing and Sales Operations. Prior to joining Kyruus, Travis was with Influence Health for 12 years, where held a variety of senior roles across sales, product management, marketing, and strategy. He started his career as a Pediatric Nurse on the Neurotrauma and Orthopedic unit at Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado.