We’re a week away from the call for speakers deadline for the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, on February 11 through 15. It’s the largest healthcare information technology (IT) conference (with some excellent regional events as well) and pretty much a who’s who of the industry.
Last year, reviewers selected 224 out of 742 speaking proposals — most of which covered topics in the intermediate category, followed by introductory and then advanced. Topic examples included clinical informatics, consumerization of health, disruptive care models, healthy aging and technology, population health and appeal to a global audience. New this year, HIMSS has added “Content Streams,” which allow learners to add an additional “filter” to their educational agenda by selecting sessions relating to technology, information, organizational efficiencies, care, environment or grand societal challenges.
Every year, the education planners come up with something new — whether it’s enhancing the existing rich list of topics, adding new ones (Healthy Aging and Technology, Grand Societal Challenges, Public Health, Supply Chain Management and Telehealth) or redefining others. HIMSS has added a new presentation format called SPARK (Session Providing Actionable & Rapid Knowledge) to the lecture and essential conversation formats. These 20-minute educational sessions focus on a single key factor that encourages fresh and new ideas aligned with an HIMSS19 topic category and content stream. The intent of SPARK is to explain a concept or idea or offer a solution to a problem.
As you work through your proposal, here are three foundational principles (and some extra guidance) for boosting your chance of getting your submission accepted:
- Offer an end-user case study — Like you, HIMSS19 participants want to learn about transformative change through the best use of information technology tools and strategies. People are particularly interested in case studies of how health information and technology is impacting a host of things like: care coordination, outcomes, workflow, administrative and cost efficiencies, the provision and payment of care, innovation, leadership, change management, security and privacy.
- Choose the right category — HIMSS19 will include 24 speaking categories, some of which have been expanded or consolidated based on attendee feedback from the HIMSS18 show. Be sure to review the categories and their definitions to determine which category is right for your technology and topic. Then, it is critical to ensure the abstract is understandable, the learning objectives match the session description and category, and the goals are specific. If the reviewers understand how you fit into the category, it will improve your chances of being accepted.
- Make your point quickly — Assume industry knowledge on the part of the reviewers, so save your word count for the meat of the proposal. Spend more time on what the proposal will address, clearly articulating the learning objectives and outcomes. If you are offering completed research and must explain your methodology, that is understandable. Either way, be sure the submission contains practical, timely, relevant recommendations and insight that are not product-focused. Even if you offer an end user, reviewers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. Be sure the title of the session accurately reflects the summary description.
- Understand the process from the reviewer’s seat — Reviewers seek proposals that demonstrate the adoption and optimal use of health IT with a real-world look at results. Participants value sessions that highlight best practices or beneficial uses of health information and technology and those grounded in research that contains definitive outcomes with supporting data. As to the review process, every proposal is evaluated by a minimum of three volunteer reviewers, who meet throughout the summer to recommend proposals.
Reviewers rate submissions on the following criteria: value of the content; timeliness and appropriateness of the data; how consistent the title, description and learning objectives were throughout the proposal; and past speaking experience. The review committee then notifies all proposal submitters, whether or not they were accepted, in October.