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HIMSS Finale: It's not over 'til it's over...

February 29, 2008
by aguerra
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by Kate Huvane

After five event filled days at HIMSS — one spent in preconference workshops and four spent speed-walking from booth to booth attempting to make of all my meetings — I was understandably exhausted and looking very much forward to being back home in the Garden State. Everything was looking up. I checked out of the hotel, enjoyed a virtually traffic-free ride to Orlando Airport, and was even able to book an earlier flight, trading the 6:15 p.m. take-off for the 2:50 p.m. departure. Then, once we got into the air, the pilot announced that we’d be landing in N.J. early. Talk about the luck of the Irish! I could almost taste the Guinness and Sheppard’s pie (yes, I actually like Irish cuisine) that I’d soon enjoy in celebration of a successful trip.

Unfortunately, my luck would soon run out.

While we were “cruising at high altitude,” the pilot announced that there was a holding pattern at Newark Airport that was going to delay our arrival by a half-hour. The half-hour soon turned into an hour and a half, which posed an additional problem. Our plane didn’t have enough fuel to circle over Newark “indefinitely.” As a result, we would have to stop at an unnamed destination to refuel. After about an hour, we landed in Baltimore — first we were told it was going to be Washington, D.C., but it turns out Baltimore was the intended spot — where we were given tiny little bags of pretzels while we sat on the runway waiting for an update.

Fortunately, the gentleman seated next to me was able to access information about the flight using his Blackberry (he happened to be an exhibitor at HIMSS). Those lucky enough to be seated near him knew long before the pilot’s announcement when we’d be taking off, giving us a peace of mind that was desperately needed.

Soon, we were back in the air for what amounted to be the shortest flight — well, the shortest leg of a flight — that I’d ever taken. It was great to be back home.

And I have to say, I really learned quite a bit during my first trip to HIMSS. But the lesson that seems to resonate the most — particularly in light of the adventurous returning flight — is that while luck is “all well and grand,” as my Grandfather used to say, sometimes what you really need is technology.

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Anthony Guerra is Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Informatics. His blog contains story lineups for...