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A Commentary from Federal Business

HIMSS Orchestrates A Happy Refrain

by | Mar 25, 2022

Conference Aisles Were Clogged with Robust Exhibitors and Energetic Attendees

The most prominent technology conference in healthcare arrived in Orlando, FL, from March 13th to 18th. Driven by either an eagerness for personal interaction in the wake of an arduous pandemic, or the excitement of healthcare technology, or both, the show floor was at capacity with cutting-edge technology vendors and crawling with enthusiastic attendees. What else could you ask for?

The sessions were consistently top-notch. Some were spot on to technology while others were tangential. All – that I attended – delivered strong content with high production value.

The number of sessions across the conference – including Monday’s pre-conference – was mind boggling. Ten different registrants could have attended sessions from beginning to end and never crossed paths.

More than Bits and Bytes

For example, take Ben Sherwood’s presentation “Daring Greatly: Leading and Succeeding in the Age of Disruption”. Mr. Sherwood is the former Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney/ABC Television. Admittedly, I was skeptical. Other than perhaps producing a TV drama with a setting in a hospital emergency room or a doctor’s office, what does he have to do with healthcare technology? His message on “connection” connected with me. Click here.

 

Prior to the actual opening of the conference, there was a pre-conference opening called Executive Summit. I’m not sure I understood the difference between this opening and the conference opening. Doesn’t matter. The fireside chat between Chris Ross, HIMSS Chair, and John Mackey, Whole Foods founder, was riveting and dealt directly with healthcare. Mr. Mackey is passionate about how lifestyle habits can greatly impact our health.  Further, he mentioned how our society’s penchant to avoid cooking and buying processed food is leading to obesity and the harmful health issues associated with that. Riveting!

 

Automation Has Arrived

Technology is impacting every imaginable aspect of healthcare. As well as the unimaginable. This topic was front and center with a terrific panel moderated by the CEO of Federal Business, LLC, James Gfrerer. Panelists included Michael Parrish, Veterans Affairs (VA), Chief Acquisition Officer; Danielle Krakora, CEO of Iblility, LLC; and Jason Warrelman, UiPath’s Global Director of Healthcare. Among other things, the topics addressed the maturity of automation in all aspects of healthcare, from patient processing to patient care.

The (A)isle of HIMSS Flourished

Traffic flowed from one end of the show floor to the other. Exhibitors ranged from the elaborate 2-story expos to the modest desktops. Based solely on visual appeal, my favorite exhibit was Salesforce. An attendee could not help but see the curved entry then stop to investigate.

 

Strong Showing by Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs’ exhibit attracted a consistent flow of attendees. Congratulations to Reggie Humphries and the entire Strategic Comms department. As America’s largest integrated health care system, it was important for VA to show up at the world’s largest health and information technology conference. I’m confident coordinating the numerous kiosks was challenging. Yet, clearly, based on the foot traffic, the exhibit received a strong thumbs up from the attendees.

 

Let the Networking Begin

HIMSS22 featured multiple happy hours… which ultimately led to unhappy mornings. In my opinion, Splunk chose the most interesting venue for their Happy Hour, Bronze Kingdom African Museum. As Board Chair Rawlvan Bennett conducted a fascinating tour, he described the difficulty of securing and transporting these remarkable artifacts into the United States. The best name of all the Happy Hours was Flamingle, courtesy of DSS Inc.

 

Orlando Is No Vegas

The HIMSS22 Conference combined with Spring Break was a test for Orlando FL. In some ways, Orlando met the challenge. For example, although travelers were shoulder to shoulder at the airport, flights seemed to arrive and depart on time. However, in other areas, Orlando has room to improve. The internet connections were maddingly slow; the restaurants near the convention center were stressed; and the Uber/Lyft/taxi situation was frustrating.

HIMSS22 was impressive. Congratulations to the HIMSS staff for putting pulling off such a remarkably successful event. Can’t wait until HIMSS23 in Chicago!

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