For more than three decades, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has been the leading advocacy organization in the health information industry. HIMSS was founded in 1961 as the Hospital Management Systems Society. The word “Information” was added to the title in 1986.
The organization, which has more than 70,000 members, has held conventions or conferences since 1962. It wasn’t until the focus shifted to health information and technology in the mid-1980s that the annual HIMSS Conference began to evolve into a destination event for the Health Informatics industry.
The 2018 HIMSS Conference takes place in Las Vegas in March. In 2017, it was held in Orlando and drew more than 42,000 health and information technology professionals, along with more than 1,300 vendors and hundreds of subject-matter experts who presented at more than 300 education sessions.
Jacksonville University’s Dr. Roberta Christopher, Assistant Professor, Keigwin School of Nursing, strongly recommends that students and graduates of the Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) program consider attending the HIMSS Conference if they can.
“They’re going to see the latest and greatest equipment, resources, that they may not have access to in their places of work or educational programs,” Dr. Christopher said. “Everybody in the (Health Informatics) world will be at this event. It’s a great opportunity to network with the movers and shakers of Health Informatics.
“When you’re in school, and you are reading books and articles relevant to the field – these authors and thought leaders will most likely be at the conference. Students have the opportunity to speak to these scholars – they’ll be on the forefront of everything going on in their profession. If they have the chance to go, it’s well worth the money to have that kind of experience.”
While meeting people active in the industry is the top takeaway for most HIMSS Conference attendees, the spectacle of the huge exhibition hall is a big highlight. In Orlando, HIMSS 2017 featured more than 500,000 square feet of floor space – filled with booths, food stands, private conference rooms, elaborately decorated showcases and enough cutting-edge electronic gadgets and software to keep even the most avid health informatics fanatic busy for days.
“For me, I get goosebumps when I walk in and you see thousands and thousands of other people who are passionate about health informatics and their profession – and you have the opportunity to connect with HI professionals from all over the world,” Dr. Christopher said. “I think it would be phenomenal if all students could have the opportunity to go to the HIMSS conference.”
Here is a breakdown of three of the main draws at the annual HIMSS Conference: the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to network and the opportunity to explore a health IT career path.
The week of the HIMSS Conference is so full of educational opportunity that it is not easy to decide where to turn. That’s why it is so important to plan ahead and check the HIMSS Conference schedule to determine what sessions, presentations and exhibits you want to take in.
In addition to informative and interesting keynote presentations such as former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and NBA legend Magic Johnson, the HIMSS Conference allows attendees to pick from sessions on topics such as:
- Data analytics/CBI
- Emerging payment models
- Interoperability and data integration
- And more
One efficient way to get the most exposure to educational experiences is to spend time at the Interoperability Showcase. This 30,000-square-foot pavilion features ongoing presentations about a wide variety of health IT subjects, including appearances by several featured speakers.
The presence of so many high-profile organizations such as Oracle, IBM, Cerner and many others means that the HIMSS Conference is an ideal destination for meeting leaders in the health IT industry. There are many opportunities to mingle and exchange ideas with industry peers, as well as movers and shakers during investment and entrepreneur activities.
There also are networking events such as breakfasts, receptions, awards presentations, special interest group meetings and more. A stroll through the exhibition hall provides many opportunities to chat and exchange business cards with new acquaintances from around the world.
Job seekers who pre-register for the HIMSS Career Fair have a great opportunity to connect with prospective employers at the HIMSS Conference. In addition to posting their resumes and scheduling appointments with company representatives, job seekers can attend a networking breakfast, receive a free professional headshot, get a second opinion on their resumes, learn how to sell their skills during a personal brand workshop, and more.
Separate registration is required for the Career Fair, but it is free for HIMSS attendees.