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LIVE FROM HIMSS16: HIMSS16 Attendance Update

March 2, 2016
by Mark Hagland
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As of Wednesday afternoon, HIMSS officials had revised upwards their estimate of conference attendance figures
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As of Wednesday afternoon, March 2, HIMSS officials had revised upwards their attendance estimates for HIMSS16, the annual conference of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, being held this week at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. On Monday morning during the HIMSS media briefing, Carla Smith, senior vice president of HIMSS, had announced a total attendance of 40,510, down from the 43,043 final figure for HIMSS15, held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. As of Wednesday afternoon, that 40,510 figure had increased to 41,390--nearly 1,000 higher than those present on Monday morning. That 41,390 figure was confirmed by a HIMSS spokesperson.

Meanwhile, in a conversation with Healthcare Informatics, H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS' president and CEO, confirmed that while his statement from last year remained true--that for at least the next four years, the only conference sites will be Orlando and Las Vegas, in alternation, that he and other HIMSS executives are planning to bring the association's annual conference back to Chicago's McCormick Place "in about five years from now," as he told HCI. He did say that Atlanta was not completely out of the question at some point in the future.

Lieber confirmed that those will be the only sites for the conference in the foreseeable future, explaining that some potential conference cities--New Orleans and San Diego in particular--lack the air flight capacity to fly in 40,000 or more attendees at once, while other cities lack either the convention center convention space capabilities (including vast ballrooms, and large-, medium-, and small-sized rooms, plus the enormous amount of exhibit hall space required), or the hotel capacity, with hotels arranged in a convenient constellation around the convention center site.

In its many years of existence, the annual HIMSS Conference has outgrown a large number of city sites, including San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, and New Orleans, leaving just a handful of cities capable of hosting the conference.