From the ubiquitious health apps for iPhones, iPads and Androids to mobile EHR deployment to the latest telemedicine tools, there will be no shortage of education sessions, lectures and exhibits that focus on this fast-growing portion of the health IT industry. (It’ll be interesting to see which of these 12 mobile health trends for 2012 gets the most attention at HIMSS.)
Certainly, mobile has been a component of past HIMSS conferences, but its influence will only continue to rise as the topic becomes more fully integrated into all aspects of the health system. Of course, mobile is just one portion of this conference, which figures to leave few stones in the health IT universe unturned.
Conference events stretch from Sunday to Friday, but the schedule doesn’t really get going until the opening reception on Monday night. The conference will be held at Las Vegas’ Venetian Sands Expo Center.
The annual HIMSS conference draws its share of C-level executives, including chief information officers and chief medical officers, plus a few doctors, nurses and pharmacists — basically any stakeholders with an interest in health IT. Seven percent of last year’s attendees were CEOs. HIMSS says the conference is the second-largest medical trade show each year, and the group expects 35,000 to 40,000 attendees and 1,100 exhibitors.
Here’s a brief guide on what to expect:
Keynote speakers: You don’t need to see all of them, but plan on checking out at least one. The event’s first keynote speech is by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, scheduled for Tuesday morning. Other keynote speakers include Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a panel with Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and Republican counterpart Dana Perino.
Education sessions: Education sessions are the backbone of HIMSS, and with 300 sessions from 23 topic categories scheduled over four days, it’s easy to see why. There’s likely something for everyone’s health IT persuasion, but here are a few highlights: Star cardiologist Eric Topol speaks on “How digitizing humans reboots the future of medicine.” Creating connected medical devices is the focus of “The Dos and Don’ts of medical device integration,” while “Marketing the Health IT project” aims to educate CIOs on how they can better communicate the value of IT initiatives to doctors and hospital staff.
Networking events: Considering they’ll be in Vegas, HIMSS attendees are unlikely to be lacking for entertainment options. Nonetheless, there are several formally organized networking events at the conference, such as the Monday night opening reception that’s free for all attendees; special interest group meetings around topics like supply chain management, electronic health records and education; and various meetings of local HIMSS chapters, some of which are invitation-only.
Also worth noting: For those who can’t make it to Vegas, Virtual HIMSS12 promises live simulcasts of some sessions. For those who can, The HIMSS staff has put together a helpful Twitter cheat sheet with hashtag suggestions and follow lists.
Perhaps the best piece of advice, though, comes from veteran conference-goer Neil Versel: Wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll be doing lots and lots of walking.
Here’s a “must-watch” and lengthy webinar for first-time attendees that covers venue layout, education and networking opportunities and planning resources.
[Photo from flickr user Kaloozer]
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