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Switching up the HIMSS format (and going green)

April 1, 2009
by kate
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With HIMSS 09 just days away — at least that’s what most of the messages in my in-box are telling me — I thought this would be the perfect time to relay a few thoughts about the event.

First and foremost, the timing couldn’t be better. Health IT has been a fixture in recent news headlines, and next week’s show presents a great opportunity for industry leaders to meet and discuss ARRA, EMRs, CCHIT, and other acronyms.

Secondly, as many of you know, HCI is trying something new at this year’s show. Rather than booking appointments with a select number of vendors at their booths or in the press room, my fellow editors and I are making ourselves available to as many people as possible by hosting an “open house” at our booth (#7019). During all exhibit hall hours, two editors will be available to speak with visitors.

In the past, we’ve packed our schedules with back-to-back-to-back meetings so that we could accommodate as many vendors as possible. This plan, however, left no room for error. And when you have to cross an entire exhibit hall in a matter of minutes (doing that awkward half-running, half-walking thing in heels), or dart up to the press room (which is of course situated 2.1 miles from the exhibit hall) for a meeting, only to find out it’s been moved to the booth (“Didn’t you get our email?”), there is going to be some error. Meetings are cut short or missed altogether, and both parties’ time has been wasted.

So this year, we’re hoping to solve that problem by staying put. We value the opportunity to meet face-to-face with vendors to put names to faces and to find out what’s new with your company. That, in turn, helps us to generate article ideas. With our new format, we’re hoping we’ll be able to broaden our scope a bit.

Lastly, I have a request. Many of you are going to visit our booth armed with information about your company, your projects, and your customers — this is very helpful to us. But what would be even more helpful is if the information was available on a thumb drive, a disk, or even in an email format. There are two reasons for this; first, we end up with a lot of folders and papers, which makes for very heavy bags to haul around. But more importantly, we should all be trying to use less paper when possible. It’s just the right thing to do. And in age of laptops and handhelds, where we have technology at our fingertips at all times, surely we don’t need to rely so much on paper, cardboard, and other materials.

Let’s try to keep HIMSS as green as possible. We hear about hospitals going paperless — maybe conferences don’t have to be far behind.

Thanks & we’ll see you in Chicago!

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