Making the Most of HIMSS

Posted on February 12, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know I’ve talked far too much about HIMSS already, but I figured it’s the weekend and so not many of you are reading the site any way. So, I’ll take the topic du jour it seems and talk about my thoughts on making the most of your time at HIMSS.

I will offer the disclaimer that this is only my second year, so I’m interested to hear your ideas as well. However, I learned a lot my first year and so I figured I’d share a few thoughts.

Be Selective
My biggest suggestion for people is to be selective in what they want to do. 30,000 people, a ton of overlapping sessions and a ginormous (it’s not a word, but should be) exhibit hall. Yet, you have to pack that all into a couple days. It’s really important for you to be selective about who and what you want to see and make sure you make time for those important events and companies.

My mother always told me as a child that I can’t do everything. I’d always reply, “Yes mother…but I’m sure going to try.” Sadly, HIMSS is so large, that as usual, my mom is right (although, I’m still trying).

Keep Meetings Short
I borrowed this one from John at Chilmark Research. He makes a good point that you’re not really going to have time to take care of a whole lot of business at the event. However, you can get enough information to filter whether you should connect after the event. This said, be memorable enough that when you connect after the event they’ll remember who you are amidst the hundreds (or thousands) of other people they met.

Leave Roaming Time
The thing I was most sad about last year was that I didn’t leave me really any time to just roam the exhibit floor. I had my schedule so tight that I never could just enjoy the adventure of seeing something new and unexpected. Maybe some people don’t like this type of experience, but I really enjoy it. Sure, you end up talking to someone for a little bit about laptop carts or something you don’t care much about. At least they’ll give you chocolate or something and you’ll be amazed at how much thought they’ve put into carts.

Follow #HIMSS11 on Twitter
If you don’t use Twitter, that’s no excuse. You don’t even have to sign up to read the tweets coming out of HIMSS. Just follow the hashtag #HIMSS11 (or click that link) and you’ll see that people are already talking about it. If you want a few less ads than what are sure to be sent on the #HIMSS11 hashtag, you can also watch this list of New Media Meetup people on Twitter.

Free TV
Find me on Tuesday of HIMSS and you can enter to win a free TV (42 inch I believe). That’s right. More details on this coming soon. UPDATE: Full details on HIMSS TV Giveaway posted.

Enjoy a Party or Two
Nothing wrong with letting your hair down and enjoying yourself at some of the many parties out there. Some even have live bands and dance floors. That should be fun.

Health IT Venture Fair
I’m sure many of you don’t even know about the Health IT Venture Fair at HIMSS. It’s on Sunday and many of you probably won’t even be at HIMSS yet. However, I’ve heard good things about this event. It’s real companies with real investors talking about their companies. I’m totally fascinated by venture capital, other investing and entrepreneurs and so maybe I’m biased, but I think this is going to be a really interesting part of HIMSS. I’m quite certain that it will present interesting views into healthcare that I hadn’t seen before. I love any event that stretches me like that.

Here are some other cliche suggestions:
-Wear good shoes (the floor is massive)
-Bring lots of business cards (I got my new ones printed…Woot!)
-Win an iPad – If I come home without an iPad I’m going to cry. It’s the de facto giveaway for sure. Makes me wonder why HIMSS didn’t just give away an iPad to each attendee.

Let me know if you have other suggestions I missed or suggestions of your must do items at HIMSS.