The HIMSS14 convention from a first-time perspective is both a humbling and empowering experience. HIMSS 2014 was hosted in Orlando, Florida and closed out with over 38,000 attendees. Even more impressive, the list of exhibitors encompassed 1,233 booths throughout the exhibit hall. Highlights included keynote speakers Hillary Rodham Clinton and Erik Weihenmayer, and for a first time attendee, who is also relatively new to the industry, it was all motivating to be surrounded by power players of HIT throughout the week.
Building the Show Floor
The first day that I arrived, we were tasked with setting up the booth. The exhibit hall is much larger than I ever imagined. It was such an exciting time to see the show floor go from blank concrete to carpeted elaborate booths as far as the eye can see. Vendors utilized every square inch. The imagination of each vendor was truly unique, as there were exhibits ranging from ornate booths with a giant tree, a dance floor, programmed iPads and televisions, and even our very own geodesic dome. The next morning when the convention began, I was truly shocked.
The Show Floor Officially Opens
The sheer volume of people attending the conference is astounding. It was very interesting to engage with professionals from all across the nation, spanning all scopes of HIT. As a Stoltenberg junior consultant, I openly spoke with individuals about the Junior Consultant Program and Help Desk Service Line as staffing solutions.
This year, we used our signature Stoltenberg geodesic dome. Our very own CEO Sheri Stoltenberg shared that the driving force behind it was that it was a differentiator, and it very much so was. Not only was it a very different exhibit than most on the floor, but it was also the strongest free standing structure. I very much admired when Sheri stated that this represents our strength in the industry and our motivation to be different than our competitors. As you can imagine, during exhibitor hours, several conversations started just from the excitement of the dome.
What If For Health IT
For the HIMSS14 conference, our theme was What If…? Exploring the Future of Health IT One Question at a Time. We encouraged attendees and members of the industry to tweet, write down, or just ask any question that they felt would make an impact on the future of the healthcare IT industry. It was very interesting to hear what participants had to share. My personal favorite What If? came from a CHIME member asking, “What if we could engage younger generations to get involved in #HIT?” As a young professional, I would like to see more people my age pursuing careers in HIT, as well as being advocates for improved patient care. This campaign really drove home the fact that this industry is so very dynamic and ever-changing. It gets me excited to think about the possibilities and what the future may hold for both HIT and Stoltenberg.
A New Personal Outlook on Health IT
HIMSS14 paved the way for new outlook on the industry for me. I am no longer focused only on what I personally am doing or what my company is doing, but where is the industry is headed in years to come. The big questions that kept occupying my thoughts as I walked through the exhibition hall were, “What does this all mean for patient care?” and “What will my job look like in 5, 10, or 15 years from now?” It is inspiring to let your mind wander in the capabilities of HIT, as there are no real limits to what we are capable of achieving. Simply being in the room with some of the most influential people of the industry was truly a privilege. My first HIMSS convention will forever leave a lasting impression.
Thank you for your time!
-Kaitlyn Graber, Junior Healthcare Systems Consultant at Stoltenberg Consulting