From March 3-7, the HIMSS 2013 Conference and Exhibition, the largest healthcare IT gathering with as many as 34,000 attendees, was held in New Orleans, LA. It was my first time attending HIMSS, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Upon walking into the convention hall, I was surprised of the size and complexity of the booths before my eyes, and I couldn’t even see every booth. The isles stretched beyond my view, with booths set up for live demos, in-booth speeches, ER/ICU rooms, booths with a complete bar set up within it, and even booths spanning so large it was like walking in a house with multiple levels. Our own booth was set up with a Geodesic dome which was completely unique compared to the other booths. Trying to view all of the booths in the time frame allowable for the first day was not even a remote possibility. The range of possibilities and vendors that can encompass the words “healthcare IT” was astounding for a first time attendee to experience. I could not believe that this many people were invested in healthcare IT. Just the sheer number of EHR vendors was astounding, who were there to help healthcare providers meet government standards.
While surveying some participants and exhibitors, one issue stood clear as a major discussion at HIMSS 2013 and as a major discussion for the upcoming year, Meaningful Use. There is such a high demand for healthcare IT personnel, it is important to get the word out that clients need assistance with meeting government requirements. Every day, several educational sessions were offered for the major issues being talked about today, including Meaningful Use, Health Information Exchange, and ICD-10. I was able to attend a few of these educational sessions.
I was able to share my incite to attendees on what it is to be a Junior Consultant and the opportunities that I am gaining versus what I would have a few years ago when news grads were not given the opportunity to become consultants. The responses I received about the program were all very positive, with most people surprised that there is such a program available. I was also able to explain the work I have done on the Stoltenberg Help Desk and how beneficial it is for our clients.
HIMSS was a great experience to network and meet people, expand educationally, and to see what is occurring in the industry. As a new grad with limited healthcare industry knowledge, it was amazing to hear about new innovations that many major vendors are creating. It would have been great to be able to see every booth, but in the three days, it is not realistically possible. Just remember, if you are a first time attendee, it doesn’t matter what type of shoes you wear! In the future I feel as though the conference may need to be extended in order to allow participants the ability to experience more of the booths, especially if the convention is going to keep growing as the years go by. Overall as a first time attendee, HIMSS was an overwhelmingly great experience on many levels.
Thank you for your time!
-Sheryl Voloskie, Stoltenberg Consulting Junior Healthcare Systems Consultant