It is promising that large conferences are once again happening in person. With the recent surges of the Delta variant, however, conference organizers are rightly vigilant and often needing to contend with a multitude of local and state regulations along with the needs of an international conference base. I was certainly hoping to attend my first Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in person but decided for a variety of reasons to attend virtually. At this point of the pandemic, I’m admittedly fairly sick of virtual conferences but I did enjoy how HIMSS21 tried their best to combine and accommodate both a virtual and in-person conference.
All things considered, HIMSS21 by all standards should go down as a success this year. Hearing straight from the source at HIMSS: “The HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition is the can’t-miss health information and technology event of the year, and in 2021, it was one of the most socially distanced events with more than 19,000 changemakers in attendance. As the industry’s most influential conference and trade show, HIMSS delivered both an in-person and digital experience covering topics from AI to machine learning to EHRs.“ said Karen Groppe Sr. Director, Strategic Communications, HIMSS
Colleagues at the Conference
When I asked some of my colleagues for their feedback on how this year’s HIMSS compared to previous years, here is what they had to say:
“Has HIMSS lost it’s way? Perhaps. I think it’s important for HIMSS to recognize its roots and focus on the fundamental aspects of technological and informatics. Overall, the content felt a bit focused on social aspects. And while I don’t want to diminish these critical implications, I go to HIMSS to learn about the big ideas around technology, artificial intelligence, big data, digital health and other technological game changers in this area.”
John Nosta, Founder of Nostalab
“The HMSS21 Digital experience was well-produced and the session discussions were consistent and high-quality. But the digital experience lacked interaction opportunities. There weren’t Q&A opportunities at the end of the sessions and chat didn’t include the speakers. Each day, there was one discussion option–and the high participation rates in those sessions highlighted digital attendees’ hunger for interaction. If hybrid events are here to stay, we need to build more interaction and discussion into the tools and the production.”
Jan Oldenburg, Participatory Health Consulting, LLC
“Hacking has worsened during and as a result of Covid-19 , jeopardizing hospitals’ strapped financial and IT resources, their reputations and the privacy of millions of patients.”
Evan Kirstel – Chief Digital Evangelist, eViRa Health
“I appreciate the opportunity to interact live with other online attendees during the #HIMSS21 Digital Dialogues. I look forward to the expansion of virtual and hybrid gatherings to interact with other thought leaders on how we can use technology to improve patient care and community health. These real-time online conversations remain an important venue in light of many stakeholders rethinking their travel priorities as the COVID pandemic evolves into an ongoing endemic.”
Wen Dombrowski, MD, MBA, CATALAIZE
Were you able to attend HIMSS21 in-person or online? I’d love to hear about your experiences as well.