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HIMSS18: Expert tips to ensure an exhilarating, educational and enduring event

This year’s HIMSS conference will be my 12th in 12 years, so I consider myself something of a HIMSS expert. HIMSS is much like a 30-ring circus when you consider the massive exhibit hall, the all-star line-up of keynote speakers, the hundreds of sessions, and the non-stop networking opportunities.

While HIMSS can definitely be exhilarating, educational and enduring, it can also be exhausting and frustratingly fruitless if you fail to make a conscious effort to learn, connect, and be open to exploring the unfamiliar and unknown. Whether this is your first HIMSS or your 20th, here are a few tips for making HIMSS a valuable experience.

Identify your goals before you pack your suitcase. Between the 1,300+ exhibitors, the 300+ educational sessions and the nightly parties, there’s no way to experience every aspect of HIMSS. Regardless of what you hope to get out of the conference, you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you take the time to make a tentative agenda before you even leave home. Be sure to jot down room and booth numbers for all activities because once you get to the massive Sands Convention Center, you’ll soon figure out that you may need to walk a mile to get from one end of the hall to the other. Save your feet and come up with a daily plan that is achievable – both physically and mentally.

Expert tip: Load the HIMSS mobile app on your smartphone. You can set up a personalized schedule and look up just about anything you need to know to navigate the HIMSSanity.

Bring snacks. One year a friend of mine and I were hoping to catch up over a quick bite of lunch. Unfortunately, even when there are dozens of food options, it’s nearly impossible to get served when 45,000 other people are also trying to catch a quick bite. I must confess that my friend and I ended up getting a glass of wine for “lunch” because the bar was the only place we could sit down and get in and out within 30 minutes.

Expert tip: In a pinch, you can always find fresh cookies or hot popcorn as you walk the exhibit hall.

Network, network, network. Where else can you go and find 45,000 other people who work in your same industry – and likely share your passion for technology and healthcare? Don’t be shy when standing in the Starbucks line! Everyone has a story and opinion, so ask the guy behind you if he’s been to any good sessions, or what his company does, or if he has been hitting any of the late-night parties. You never know who might turn out to be your best new prospect, employer, or employee – so don’t forget your business cards.

Expert tip: Look for the folks wearing the #pinksocks with black mustaches. I promise you that members of the Pink Socks Tribe want to connect – and they may even gift you with a pair of your own pink socks.

Venture off the beaten path. Even though you created your handy daily agenda, consider venturing into parts unknown! Much like going on vacation to a new city, HIMSS offers opportunities to experience new things you’ve never seen or heard about before. Thus, go check out that session on blockchain – that technology you keep hearing about but don’t quite grasp. Purposively visit the 10×10 booths (that are often conveniently located next to the restrooms!) because often this is where you will find some of the most bleeding-edge technologies that could be the next “big thing.” Tour the Interoperability Showcase or visit the Cybersecurity Command Center and absorb information on topics you think you understand but could know better. Grow!

Expert tip: Follow the crowds. If you find a rush of people heading to a certain session or crowded around a particular booth, check it out. They may know something you need to know.

Finally, if you are an exhibitor here are some essential points to keep in mind:

  • HIMSS is not cheap, especially if you consider the cost of the booth space, travel for staff, and the hours and hours of time prepping for the event. If your company spends a total of $50,000 to exhibit and send 10 people, that equates to over $200 per person per hour for each of the 24.5 hours the exhibit hall is open. Keep that figure in mind as you pull out your iPhone to check Facebook.
  • Know your company’s elevator pitch! Even if you are not at HIMSS as a “salesperson,” you still need to be able to concisely explain what your company does. You never know if the person you are talking to is a real prospect or an anonymous blogger who may share your inarticulate response with the whole health IT world.
  • Wear comfy shoes. You’ll thank me.

Safe travels and see you in Vegas!

Orion Health Engages Amendola Communications for Public Relations and Content Creation

Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning public relations, content creation and marketing firm specializing in healthcare and health information technology (HIT), is pleased to announce that Orion Health™ has selected Amendola as its PR agency of record for the United States providing media relations and content creation services.

Orion Health, a large, global healthcare data technology firm with U.S. headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., is improving healthcare now while also anticipating what’s ahead with its scalable technology that drives interoperability. With more than 100 million patient records in its systems worldwide, Orion Health’s open-data platform serves as an end-to-end solution for effective management of all types of clinical, genomic, social and environmental data. This data can then be leveraged to identify and prioritize patients’ needs, effectively manage patient care, and proactively drive wellness.

“We chose Amendola Communications because of our synergy and cultural fit,” said Wayne Oxenham, president-North America at Orion Health. “Amendola shares our vision of using health IT to improve our healthcare system. They have the industry knowledge as well as media and analyst relationships to help shine a light on the innovative work that we are doing at Orion Health to transform healthcare.”

Amendola Communications will provide broad PR and marketing services, including media research, aggressive media relations, and securing top-tier awards and speaking opportunities. The agency also will be responsible for delivering a range of content demonstrating the thought leadership and expertise of Orion Health’s subject matter experts, including bylined articles, blog posts, press releases and other materials.

“The work that Orion Health is doing to further precision medicine and the tools they provide are critical in creating individualized, targeted treatment plans that engage patients and improve preventive health and outcomes,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “Our deep experience in this area positions us perfectly to strategically share with the market the details about Orion’s leadership and innovation — as well as the many success stories of customers using their open-data platform.”

The timing couldn’t be better, Amendola said, given that precision medicine is such a high priority right now. For example, the U.S. government’s newly launched Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) calls for $215 million in fiscal year 2016 to support research in this area “with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.”

About Orion Health

Orion Health is a technology company that provides solutions which enable healthcare to over 100 million patients in more than 25 countries. Its open technology platform seamlessly integrates all forms of relevant data to enable population and personalized healthcare around the world. The company employs over 1,250 people globally and is committed to continual innovation, investing over 30 percent of total operating revenue year to date in research and development, to cement its position at the forefront of Precision Medicine. For more information visit www.orionhealth.com.

About Amendola Communications

Amendola Communications is an award-winning national public relations, marketing communications, social media and content marketing firm. Named one of the best information technology (IT) PR firms in the nation four times by PRSourceCode, Amendola represents some of the best-known brands and groundbreaking startups in the healthcare and HIT industries. Amendola’s seasoned team of PR and marketing pros delivers strategic guidance and effective solutions to help organizations boost their reputation and drive market share. For more information about the PR industry’s “A Team,” visit www.acmarketingpr.com, and follow Amendola on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Marcia Rhodes | 480.664-8412 | mrhodes@ACmarketingPR.com