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Live from HIMSS: What recession?!

April 5, 2009
by kate
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I wasn’t sure what to anticipate at this year’s HIMSS conference, but considering the state of the economy, I expected, well, less — from the exhibits, anyway.

But judging from the walk-through I did earlier today of the exhibit floor, I can say that “scaling back” is not this year’s theme. Allscripts, Siemens, McKesson, QuadraMed and Epic are among the many vendors staking out large chunks of real estate at McCormick Conference Center.

The smaller booths are compensating with extras like entertainment or amenities. For instance, attendees can grab a bite to eat at HMS Diner, or toss down a drink at OnBase’s sports bar or the tiki lounges sponsored by Sapphia and Risarc. Phillips’ gigantic exhibit featured a mime show on Sunday, and USA Mobility boasted a computerized slot machine.

After one day on the exhibit floor, I can say that the bells and whistles people have come to expect are out in full force at HIMSS. But there is one thing missing: the crowds. Is it me, or are the attendees a bit thinned out? And if so, is the economy fully to blame, or did this last gasp of winter (and the resulting delays at airports all over the country) play a role?

Those of you who are at HIMSS — what’s your take on the situation?



I agree that the corridor traffic in the exhibit hall was lighter than usual. That said, the lines for buses and cabs were heavy, especially in the rain and snow. Even so, although long, they moved well. I waited in the taxi line today for 20 minute for my ride to the airport.

Our client appreciation event was on Sunday night. We booked the entire second city comedy club and had them do a HIMSS-themed show. We were concerned 2 months ago about attendence; we ended up having a waiting list and filled every seat.

Kate: Sunday was a bit light - but Sunday's are always light at HIMSS. I think we will have a much better feel on Monday (today) and tomorrow. What I have noticed - is the "buzz" and the "energy" at the conference. People are excited - and for good reason. This is a great time to be in HCIT and most of us are finally starting to figure that out!