HIMSS – Why This Year Will Be Different!

HIMSS… The healthcare IT conference of the year! What a venue! Many don’t understand the history of HIMSS and how it has become THE healthcare IT conference to attend. It’s massive in every way! I have been attending for over 20 years and my – oh my how things have changed.

I remember when I attended my very first HIMSS conference (many years ago) as a sales rep for a healthcare SW vendor. But…I digress. Can I? Decked out in bright logo attire with product brochures and new business cards in hand…I was on top of the world! Going to HIMSS was an awesome experience. So many prospects and never enough time… Attending a trade show like HIMSS was huge for me! Of course it was not complete without (full blown) booth (etiquette) training to ensure I had the necessary skills to “hook” attendees walking the aisles into a full blown demonstration (in less than 2 minutes) to showcase the latest ambulatory care SW in the market. Yes…the screens were a beautiful green color back then. Transporting the HW required serious lifting and the logistics and details were (let’s just say) much more complicated than they are today.

Most vendors that attended that first conference would transport (are you kidding?) large mini-computers (you name the brand) and huge (non-ergonomic) monitors (also very heavy) to demonstrate their newest applications. Today, many of those same vendors simply bring laptops or handheld devices to demonstrate their functionally rich applications for their “in booth” demos. It’s amazing to see the new healthcare IT applications each year at the conference. Many applications today are fully integrated with the web and hosted in an ASP environment. Healthcare technology today is…well, just plain cool. My how times have changed…And for the better I might add.

But for me the changes are much more profound. Years ago, I attempted to explain to others what kind of work I did. They would smile – yet all had the same “deer in the headlights” expression as they politely said “oh yeah…I get it. That sounds interesting”. Not any longer. With the intense focus and media attention on healthcare IT today – I no longer have to do much explaining. That’s pretty cool. And to all of you attending HIMSS this year (or even if you are unable to attend) you should be proud to tell people what you do for a living. HCIT always mattered – but now I believe it matters even more. As I get ready to depart for HIMSS tomorrow I do so with more excitement and a greater appreciation of the market segment we all serve. Somehow I feel that HIMSS ’09 will be one of the best HIMSS events ever!

So enjoy Chicago, meet old friends, establish new relationships and seek out new business partners that can help you deliver more value to your organization. Talk to people that can help you advance your career, and attend as many workshops that you can to broaden your skill-set. HIMSS is always rich with new content for the attendees – so take advantage of it.

This is the time. Chicago’s McCormick Place is the location. Go make it happen!

Have fun at HIMSS and I hope to see you there!