Episode 23: HIMSS21 Preview

Karen Malone and JoAnn Klinedinst discuss lessons learned from canceling HIMSS20 and look ahead to this year’s hybrid event.

Like many events over the past year, the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2020 conference was canceled by the organization due to the pandemic. HIMSS is the world’s largest health information and technology show, so the decision to call off HIMSS20 was difficult—especially since it was one of the first conferences to make that call. This year, HIMSS21 is poised to return with both in-person and virtual elements Aug. 9-13 in Las Vegas.

Look Left’s Davida Dinerman recently spoke with HIMSS Vice President, Meeting Services and Sales Karen Malone and HIMSS Vice President, Professional Development JoAnn Klinedinst about lessons learned from 2020 and what to expect from this year’s new hybrid event. Conversation highlights:

  • Karen says canceling HIMSS days before the event wasn’t easy, but it quickly proved to be the right decision: “Days later, on March 11, of course as we all know, what would have been in the middle of our meeting, a global pandemic was officially declared. And HIMSS has 830 million touchpoints in hospitals and care delivery settings, and we really felt above and beyond anything, it was our responsibility to keep people safe and not propagate the spread of COVID-19.” 
  • Karen says the approach to putting on HIMSS21 will incorporate a lot more flexibility and thoughtful planning: “It takes managed risk; you’ve got to be informed and work collaboratively with others. And those elements are going to be top of mind as we work through all of this with our members and our community, and find a way to success and safety for all. That’s what’s most important.” 
  • JoAnn explains why the show is evolving away from social media ambassadors: “We’re positioning social media ambassadors as influential changemakers. We’re doing this because influential changemakers are a community of digital-savvy folks who we can engage across the health ecosystem and provide broader opportunities. Influential changemakers do bring context to the education of the conference, not only beforehand, but they do help continue the conversation moving forward.” 

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