Insider's Guide to Making an Impact at HIMSS

The Healthcare IT industry will make our annual pilgrimage to HIMSS next week.  Over 40,000 will descend upon Las Vegas looking for answers on how to “transform Health through IT”.  The conversations and announcements at HIMSS will set the tone for our industry and for our agenda at the HealthIMPACT Forum throughout the year.  I am excited to be attending again this year, however even as a seasoned healthcare IT meeting producer and attendee, I still get overwhelmed at HIMSS.  No matter how many times you’ve been to an event that size, descending upon the chaos of it all can be overwhelming.  Here are my tips for making the most of the time you spend at HIMSS. 

Make a Plan – Don’t just wing it!  No meeting no matter how large or small will give you value if you don’t plan ahead.  You can’t walk into a party of 40,000 people and just find Mr. or Mrs. Right.  Set your goal. Review the agenda.  Look at the speaker roster.  Find the sessions that are going to speak to you about exactly what you are struggling with.  Review the exhibit hall map.  Find the vendors that can help you.  They will be happy to see you.

Schedule Meetings – People might not keep them, but schedule as many as you can.  There are 40,000 people and you really only need to speak to ten of them to make your trip worthwhile…make sure that happens.  If you don’t then you might as well stay home.

Drink Water – It is Vegas.  It is the desert, despite what those canals in the Venetian and the fountains at the Bellagio may lead you to believe. It is dry...drink lots of water and pace yourself on everything else.

Wear Comfortable Shoes and Layers - Let’s face it all shoes are uncomfortable after you walk a hundred aisles of data analytics tools.  Don’t be the one in the suit and flip flops because that is my look and I like being an original.  Conference rooms are cold…even in the desert.  Wear layers!

Don’t Hang out in the Complaint Department – We all know there are barriers to implementation…the first being initiative and the second being inertia.  If any of this were easy, none of us would be here.  Find the people doing it and talk to them about how.  Don’t just sit there and talk to your colleagues about how it won’t work in your organization because if that is what you do, then you are right, it won’t.

Don’t Get Caught in the Hype Cycle – Population health, big data, meaningful use, interoperability, patient engagement, patient empowerment, value driven, value based, safety dance… the Twittersphere is a # stream of buzzwords today and it will continue through next week. Healthcare will not be improved by buzzwords.  There is no magic bullet.  There is no technology that will solve the ills of the system.  What will are partnerships between like-minded organizations working toward a single goal…improved patient care and access to quality care.  Get out there.  Talk to people.  Ask questions. Find partners.  Make an impact!!

Ask Hard Questions – To find solutions, you need to ask questions. Ask vendors who they’re optimizing their solutions for? What problems are their products going to solve? How will their solutions scale in an organization like yours? What value do they bring? Challenge them now. It will save you both time in the future.  If you are a vendor to understand the needs of your customers and deliver solutions, you need to ask questions too. Ask what jobs they need to optimize? What problems they need to solve? This will help you tie your innovations to real solutions associated with JTBDs (jobs to be done). Ask them questions now. It will save everyone time later.

Don’t Let What Happens in Vegas Stay in Vegas – Well maybe some of it..but not all of it.  When you go to session, write down what you learn and how you will apply it before you leave the room.  Take it all back to your office, reread it, and make a plan and make sure part of the plan is to register for the HealthIMPACT Forum in Houston because we will convene one month later and we’ll be ready to help you put all those ideas into action and help you turn those relationships into partnerships!

Here are a few other useful guides with some great tips and information.

HIMSS Survival Guide

First Timers Guide

HIMSS 2016 Pocket Guide

HIMSS Mobile App

HIMSS Value Podcast

If you are not going to Vegas the follow the buzz on twitter.

Follow topic specific streams using the HIMSS Official Topic Based Hashtags

Subscribe to the official HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassador Twitter List

Follow the HIMSS Social Media Ambassadors

Andrew DeLaO | @CancerGeek Bill Bunting | @WTBunting Brad Justus | @Brad_Justus Brian Ahier | @ahier Charles Webster | @wareflo Colin Hung | @Colin_Hung Geeta Nayyar | @gnayyar Glenn Lanteigne | @glennlanteigne Jane Sarasohn-Kahn | @healthythinker Janice McCallum | @janicemccallum John Lynn | @techguy Linda Stotsky | @EMRAnswers Mandi Bishop | @MandiBPro Matthew Fisher | @Matt_R_Fisher Nick Van Terheyden | @drnic1 Pat Rich | @pat_health Shahid Shah | @ShahidNShah Steve Sisko | @ShimCode Tamara StClaire | @drstclaire Wen Dombrowski | @HealthcareWen

Follow HealthIMPACT | @HITHealthIMPACT

Follow Megan | @Meganantonelli

About Megan Antonelli

Megan is a relentless creator and trend spotter who brings people together to solve big problems.  She believes face to face meetings create a shared focus that brings forth new insights, a clearer sense of purpose, and solutions that impact performance. A creative and passionate leader, Megan has a keen interest in how technology is transforming the way people live, work, play, and connect. She knows the time is now to challenge traditional concepts of learning and networking to foster the innovation and productivity businesses need to compete in today’s complex and global markets. When she’s not creating memorable events, you’ll find Megan at the ballpark watching little league with her two boys, planning meals that may never be made, running, taking pictures, blogging, comparing LA to NY, and enjoying life at the beach with her husband Ben.

About the HealthIMPACT Forum 

The HealthIMPACT Forum is not just another Health IT event.  It is an idea exchange between a community of leaders.  It is the place where C-Suite hospital technology executives come together for dynamic debate that culminates in solutions you can implement and inspiration that doesn't end when you walk out of the conference room.  In just four years it has become the Nation’s leading C-Suite Health IT Forum where participants challenge the status quo and innovate ahead of the rest.  

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