February 4, 2019

HIMSS 2019 Survival Guide

Travis Good, MD

Co-founder, CEO & Chief Privacy Officer

The HIMSS conference anchors the annual calendar in health IT. Organizations plan announcements around HIMSS. Organizations begin strategic partnership discussions or form close partnership relationships at HIMSS. Others use HIMSS as a way to take a pulse on the industry. HIMSS largely represents the general mindshare in the health IT industry.

When I’m tired, I rest. I say, ‘I can’t be a superwoman today.’ - Jada Pickett Smith

I’ve debated not attending because it’s exhausting and logistically frustrating, but I always go back because it feels like a place you need to be if you work in health IT. If you don’t attend, tracking HIStalk coverage of HIMSS is the next best thing.

I start thinking about HIMSS the week before the event. About right now actually. Managing emails for meetings and setting a calendar for HIMSS is probably 20% of my month leading up to it. I wrote a post last year on surviving HIMSS, and that made me feel a little better going into the event.

Most of the advice last year remains the same, but Orlando is a unique beast. I am not a huge fan of either venue, but I prefer Vegas to Orlando. I think it’s logistically a bit easier to get around Vegas than sprawling Orlando, but at least you don’t have to walk through a rendition of an Italian City, remade as a casino, to get to the conference center.

With that, here are my suggestions for HIMSS 2019 in Orlando.

Find and Remember your bus stop

Maybe you’re lucky and get to stay at a resort (I’m fortunate enough to be a “beach resort” in Orlando this year) and the shuttle to/from the conference center is easy to find. But, maybe you’re unfortunate like I’ve been in past years and stayed at a condo or townhome community. In those case, the shuttle stops aren’t always obvious. Look for your friendly HIMSS sign holder and remember where to get the shuttle, and what shuttle you have to get back to your accommodations.

Bring deodorant (or a change of shirt)

Orlando is hot a lot, including in February sometimes. It looks like it’ll be in the 70s and 80s next week so if you tend to run hot, I’d suggest wearing undershirts and bringing some deodorant with you during the day. If you’re wearing a blazer, you may want to keep it on all day.

Find a way to get out of walking distance of the conference center

To me, the worst part about HIMSS in Orlando is the sprawl outside the conference center. Hotels are distributed far and wide. There aren’t a ton of restaurants within walking distance of the conference center, at least not a ton to support the conference and all the private events. If you do not have an event, get a ride away from the conference center if you don’t want to wait forever for a table and food.

Don’t use your pre-check

OK, this one is debatable. But last time I left HIMSS, it seemed shorter to take the regular security lines at MCO than to use pre-check. Now, two years later and with TSA giving out pre-check like candy, I worry the pre-check lines are even worse. In any case, I’d get to the airport early for your return flight, especially if you leave Thursday afternoon or evening.

Visit Datica at booth #621 to talk about compliance and EHR integration and we’ll gladly show you how our product family can help. Stop by or pre-schedule a time to talk to us here. We’ll have copies of my new book, Complete Cloud Compliance, to share. You can also find us in the Microsoft Booth, where we’re a showcased partner, or the AWS booth at 9:30 am Thursday where we’ll be presenting “How to Pass a HITRUST audit on AWS.”

See you there!

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