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Procrastinator’s Guide to #HIMSS18 and Other Conferences

Posted on March 1, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

I have a confession to make. I have never actually managed to follow any of the popular advice that encourages people to prepare for HIMSS weeks in advance.

As I think back across the 12 HIMSS conferences I have attended, I can’t remember a single time when I started earlier than the week before (the only exception being booth logistics). I never reached out to people to pre-arrange meetings. I never looked at the session schedule more than 5 days before the conference. Even when I was in a sales and business development role, I always found myself scrambling with a week to go.

As I moved into Marketing roles, I did do a little more planning, but it was mostly to make sure the booth had power, carpet, etc. Inevitably I would start my personal HIMSS planning the week before the big event.

So if you find yourself in the same situation for #HIMSS18 (which starts next week) take heart. There is still time to maximize your HIMSS time. Here is my Procrastinator’s Guide to HIMSS18 (and other conferences as well). Enjoy.

Attend as many meetups as you can

Meetups are hands-down the most productive networking events at HIMSS. It doesn’t matter if it’s an official HIMSS meetup (usually held at HIMSS Spot or in the HIMSS Booth) or one that is hosted by a company. Meetups attract thought-leaders and key industry influencers. This is a double-bonus. Not only will you get the chance to connect with the experts leading the discussion, but they will draw in a big crowd of people which provides the opportunity for rich networking.

Do a quick search on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even Google for “HIMSS18 meetup”. Find a meetup that matches your interests or is aligned with the product/service you offer and put it in your calendar. Another great starting point is this list of meetups that John Lynn put together for #HIMSS18.

Arrive to the meetup 10min before it starts, smile and meet as many people as you can. When you hear an interesting idea, turn to the person next to you and comment on it. Don’t worry, audience participation is encouraged at meetups (it’s not a panel presentation after all). Even better, ask a good question or offer up an interesting fact.

At each meetup it is possible to connect with 5-10 people. Who says you need to pre-arrange all your HIMSS meetings?

Search for sessions where your target audience will be

If you are in a Sales or Marketing role one of the best ways to meet people who might be interested in the products/services you offer is to attend related sessions. Use the HIMSS Session Search feature on the conference website or in the HIMSS app and look for educational sessions on topics that align. For example: “remote patient monitoring” or “care coordination” or “physician communication”.

Attend the session and get to know as many of your fellow audience members as you can. In Marketing-speak, anyone in the audience has just self-identified themselves as an early stage buyer. Mine for the gold!

Pro Tip I: Arrive early. Preferably as the prior session is ending so that you can get in and secure a good seat.

Pro Tip II: If you are interested in connecting with someone from a specific organization. Use the session search on the HIMSS website and type in the name of the organization. Anybody speaking from that organization will appear in the results. Hang out after the presentation for your chance to connect.

Download interesting presentations ahead of time

One of the toughest challenges when building slide decks and blog posts is finding relevant statistics. Luckily HIMSS presentations are full of useful facts and figures. Search for sessions on topics that interest you or that you sell into and download the presentation. Voila your research is done.

Plan on visiting with industry media

If you are a small or medium-sized company, it is almost impossible to get the attention of editors, reporters and writers at healthcare publications at HIMSS. This is my first year attending HIMSS as a member of the press and I can tell you first-hand that there is literally no way I can fit another meeting into my calendar and it was filled a couple of weeks ago. As a result I have dozens of unread media-request emails that I simply cannot get to.

If connecting with media is on your HIMSS to-do list, then use the HIMSS Exhibitor Search feature to see if the particular publication has a booth in the exhibit hall. Be friendly to the business development folks in the booth and they will help get you in touch with the writer/editor that you are trying to connect with.

Pro Tip III: If you REALLY want to connect with a particular person at a publication, you can try heading to the HIMSS Press Room and asking for them. The Press Room is the place that HIMSS sets aside for people to write their articles and conduct interviews. It’s also the unofficial place where media folks hang out when they have a lull in their schedule.

Pro Tip IV: Check out the New Media Meetup which Healthcare Scene organizes every year. The event attracts bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers and traditional media. It is a fantastic place to connect. This year’s event is sponsored by CareCognitics.

Team up with one of your clients and become their party agent

There is no shortage of evening events at HIMSS, especially when it is in Las Vegas. If you didn’t get a pre-HIMSS invitation, don’t worry (for years I never got a single invite and I still only get a handful). Many companies recruit attendees to their evening soirees during the conference itself. If you are a fellow vendor, however, it can sometimes be awkward to try and get into someone else’s event.

In the past I have teamed up with one of my clients (usually one I enjoy hanging out with) and I become their party “agent”. I grab a few of my client’s business card at the start of HIMSS and I carry them with me. When I see an interesting party I walk up and ask for an invitation for myself and my client. I drop their card to show that I am legitimately asking on their behalf. It won’t be long before your evening is full. Just don’t be that person that uses this tip and then doesn’t bring the client.

Buy coffee for a stranger

Many salespeople and marketers attending HIMSS are measured on the number of “new contacts” garnered from the event. This type of measure encourages booth denizens to aggressively flag down people walking past their booths to try and scan their badge. I admit I used to do this, but it always made me feel slimy. Then one day I stumbled onto a better method when I decided to do a good deed at HIMSS09. I bought a coffee for a total stranger. Seriously.

One morning I decided that I wanted to brighten someone else’s day. I was in line at Starbucks and I just decided to pay for the order of the person who had also just ordered at the register next to me. The gentlemen, who had been in a #HIMSSHaze perked up and smiled. It turned out he was the CIO of mid-sized hospital. We spoke for 15min at the Starbucks and we exchanged cards. I tried it five more times that day and each time I had a great conversation and ended up with a strong connection.

Try it. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is…and you’ll feel amazing having done a good deed.

So there you have it. With just a few days before #HIMSS18 there is still time to do all the things above. Play your cards right at #HIMSS18 (sorry couldn’t resist the Vegas cliché) and you’ll come home with new friends and valuable connections.

See you in Vegas!

 

#HITMC Chat and Health IT Marketing and PR Conference Early Bird Registration Ends

Posted on January 27, 2015 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.

Today we held the first ever #HITMC (Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community) Twitter chat. The turnout for the chat was amazing and it was so active I don’t think anyone could keep up. That’s pretty amazing for a first time chat. In case you missed it and are interested in health IT marketing and PR, here’s my tweet that links to the transcript:

I’m particularly interested to look back at the answer to question 3 on the chat which talks about the tools that people use to make their lives easier.

Here’s a look at the stats for the first HITMC chat:

All of this tells me that I should have started this twitter chat sooner. It’s amazing how a Twitter chat can really bring a community together. Plus, it always leads to interesting new connections that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Tomorrow I’ll be participating in another new Twitter chat that’s focused on Health Information Governance. If that topic interests you, be sure to join us on #InfoTalk at Noon ET on January 28th.

We’re also 5 days away from the end of Early Bird Registration for the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference. Register now and save $500 off the registration price. Plus, as a reader of EMR and HIPAA, use the promo code “emrandhipaa” and you’ll save an extra $100. We’ve just started uploaded the speaker profiles for those who will be speaking at the event. It’s going to be a fantastic 2+ days of the best in healthcare IT marketing and PR. I can’t wait!

For those not interested in the above topics. Tomorrow we’ll be back with our regularly scheduled programming.

Live Stream of Health IT Marketing and PR Conference and Free Guitar Giveaway

Posted on April 3, 2014 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.

Next week (April 7-8) the inaugural Health IT Marketing and PR Conference is happening in Las Vegas. As most of you know, I’ve worked really hard to make this a great event for everyone involved. A look at the final agenda for the conference should give you an idea of how great this event is going to be.

Free Live Stream
For those of you who weren’t able to make it to Las Vegas for the event, we’ve put together a free live stream of the conference. All you need to do is go to that page and register. Then, we’ll email you the details you’ll need to access the live stream. We appreciate Health Innovation Media and Supernap which provided the technology and support needed to make the live stream available for FREE.

Guitar Giveaway
One of the speakers has also put together a great free guitar giveaway for those attending the conference or watching from home. Chris O’Neal from peer60 and formerly of KLAS will be giving a presentation on How to Influence Ratings, Marketing Research, and Analyst Firms from 9:30-10:30 a.m. PT on Monday, April 7 of the conference. To enter, tweet how many minutes and seconds into his speech Chris will repeat the famous Rolling Stones song title, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Be sure to mention @peer_60 and include the hashtags #HITmc and #guitargiveaway.

Here’s a simple link that will prime your tweet with everything you need to enter except the guess itself. Check out the peer60 blog post which has all the details, rules, and a picture of the guitar they’re giving away.

The official hashtag for the conference is: #HITMC. Following and participating in the conversation is a great way to see what’s happening at the conference and to connect with those interested in this event. We look forward to seeing you online and many of you in Las Vegas.

Don’t forget to register for the live stream.

Good Decisions, EMR Sales, and Patient Data Availability

Posted on March 9, 2014 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.


This is true if the actors are well intentioned. I’ve found that most in healthcare have the right intentions. Although, many don’t have the right data that could help them make better decisions.


I’m going to have to chew on the idea of EMR sales being non-linear. An interesting observation by Chandresh. I’m excited to hear Chandresh share more of his experience with EMR sales at the Health IT Marketing and PR conference.


I’m not sure if this was the exact intent of this tweet, but it reminded me of a discussion I had with some really chronic patients. To a person (and the parents since these were kids), they couldn’t give a rip about privacy. They were more than happy to give up any and all privacy if it would help them find a cure or treatment for their child. This reminds me that context is really important when it comes to privacy.

Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference

Posted on December 9, 2013 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.

The Background Story
A number of months ago, a marketing manager at an EHR vendor asked me if I knew of any Healthcare IT focused marketing conferences. As I considered the question, I realized that there wasn’t a conference focused on B2B healthcare marketing. Sure, there were plenty of general marketing conferences. There were even a few consumer/patient focused marketing events. However, I didn’t know of any B2B marketing conferences that understood the unique characteristics of marketing to hospital executives and doctors.

After telling this marketing manager that I knew of no such event, she replied that I should create the event and that she’d be the first to register. It took me a little while to see if indeed their was a need for this type of event and if I could create an event that provided real value to those who attended. After careful consideration and planning, I’m extremely excited to announce the inaugural Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference.

The Conference Content
As I started thinking about what a conference like this would look like, I realized pretty quickly that I needed to have both PR and marketing involved in the event. I believe the line between PR and marketing is getting grayer and grayer every day (although, I’m looking forward to a healthy debate about the difference at the event). Hopefully the event can help both specialties discover new techniques and improve on their current techniques.

I also decided early on that this event should include a healthy dose of marketing and PR experts from outside of healthcare to balance out the normal healthcare IT marketing and PR discussions. By incorporating interdisciplinary learning from other industries, I believe that we can stretch our thinking and discover new ways of doing health IT marketing and PR.

Besides the speakers, the conference will provide a great opportunity to network and connect with so many great healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. As is often the case with conferences, some of the best learning happens while breaking bread with your peers.

Founding Attendees
The conference will be held April 7-8, 2014 in Las Vegas. On the website, you can sign up as a Founding Attendee today. Along with a pass to the conference, Founding Attendees will also get their company promoted on EMR and HIPAA (this website), admission to a Founding Attendee ONLY dinner on April 8th, and our love and appreciation for supporting the conference. We’ll only be offering the Founding Attendee registration until we roll out the full conference website in early January.

Founding Sponsors
Below, you’ll find the four founding sponsors for the inaugural event. Each of these companies are deeply involved in healthcare IT marketing and PR and bring a lot of expertise and experience to the conference. I appreciate their faith in trust in our ability to put on a really great event. I’m proud to have each of them as founding sponsors of the event.

Agency Ten22

Billian

Dodge Communications

Aria Marketing

Over the next few months we’ll be announcing all the details for the event. Be sure to follow @HITMarketingPR on Twitter to see the latest event updates and announcements. In the mean time, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions in the comments or on our Contact Us page.