Last month, the largest gathering of health IT professionals converged in Orlando for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2014. It was an event marked with hundreds of exhibitors, educational sessions and networking events. Many health IT companies use HIMSS to launch products and get attention for their business.
I sat down with health IT evangelist Jennifer Dennard (@smyrnagirl), Social Marketing Director for Porter Research and Billian’s HealthDATA, to get her take on what caught her eye at this year’s event.
What stood out the most at this year’s HIMSS meeting (e.g., sessions, booths, networking, social media, parties)?
For me, and I think a majority of other attendees and even exhibitors, networking is the No. 1 reason to go to HIMSS. From sun up to sun down, there are networking events and opportunities around every corner. It’s such a convenient way to catch up with colleagues that you don’t otherwise get to see the rest of the year. My favorite networking events included HIStalkapalooza (great dancing) and the New Media Meetup (great opportunity to meet influencers and followers within the #HITsm community). Speaking of #HITsm, another great event was the #HITsm tweetup, hosted by HealthStandards.com and HIMSS just outside the exhibit hall. I never knew bingo and social networking could go so well together!
Social networking played a big part in my experience at the show. While the #HIMSS14 hashtag seemed to be streaming a mile a minute, I still found it to be a very effective way to stay on top of what other people were experiencing at the conference, and what events I should be thinking about next. Twitter is the first thing I check when I’m at a conference like HIMSS, and the last thing I look at before I go to bed. I guess that’s why I love social marketing, especially when it comes to healthcare. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships, whether you’re a doctor trying to engage a patient, or a vendor trying to engage a provider.
Which companies would you say had the most effective/attention-getting booths, and why?
I’ll answer this with the caveat that I did not get to see all of the exhibit hall. I think I probably covered two thirds over three days, at which point my feet simply would not walk any further.
As far as effectiveness, I’ll have to give credit to HISTalk.com, which was a first-time exhibitor with a tiny patch of real estate that seemed to always have a crowd. Traffic like that directly correlates to whatever the exhibitor is offering, and so it was refreshing to see a blog grab such a foothold on the show floor right out of the gate. I’ll also mention the Georgia pavilion, which was actually a cluster of 10 or so mini booths, all belonging to companies and organizations from Georgia. That area offered attendees such an effective way to get a feel for what Georgia has to offer as the Nation’s Capital of Healthcare IT.
As far as attention-getting, I’d have to say I did a double take at the Medecision booth, where a guy and a gal in bright orange and pink bodysuits were moving to Wii’s Just Dance game. I also loved the Siemens Wheel of Fortune-like screen that spanned quite a bit of real estate. The name escapes me, but there was one booth in particular that offered freshly baked scones, which I saw very few people try to resist.
How was social media used most effectively by either HIMSS or exhibitors?
HIMSS – Cari McLean and Michael Gaspar, in particular – always does a great job of building up the momentum of social networking, getting it to #HIMSSanity levels, and then keeping it going a week or so after. Their strategy included hosting the #HITsm tweetchat a few Fridays before, offering a variety of tweetups during the conference at the HIMSS Spot, and bringing the HIMSS Blog Carnival back to encourage blogging about the show before, during and after. I believe they once again reached a record number of tweets for the #HIMSS14 hashtag.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the activity of @billians and @PorterResearch. I knew gearing up for the show that the #HIMSS14 tweet stream would be manic, so I didn’t invest too much time in over scheduling tweets. I instead devoted our social networking activities to more personalized activities, such as directly messaging our Healthcare Intelligence Hub group members with news of our participation at the show, participating in #HITsm tweetchats leading up to the show, and following folks who seemed to be active in the tweet stream.
Tags: Alpine Communications, Alpine PR, Billian's HealthDATA, Health IT, health IT public relations, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2014, HIMSS, HIMSS 2014, HISTalk.com, Jennifer Dennard, Medecision, Networking, Porter Research, Siemens, social media, social media marketing, Social Networks, tweetchats, Twitter, Wendy Alpine