My Guide to #HIMSS16

I just looked over my HIMSS calendar and I have almost 50 events listed and I haven’t even finished scheduling my week. That’s going to make for a packed week at the mecca of healthcare IT conferences, the HIMSS Annual Conference. If you read this site, you’re probably already familiar with HIMSS and the annual conference that will bring together ~45,000 health IT professionals and ~1300 exhibitors. It’s massive and packed full of incredible people, technology, and experiences.

Each year, I post my schedule and guide to the HIMSS Annual Conference. This year is no different. I’m happy to share some of the places I’ll be at HIMSS and the topics and sessions that interest me. I hope that readers of this blog will join me at some of these events and come say hi. There’s nothing better than meeting someone who reads your blog.

I won’t go through each of the HIMSS 2016 keynotes in detail, but I’m excited to hear what Michael Dell and Peyton Manning say for their keynote addresses. I also enjoy a good “mental floss” keynote that I think Dr. Berger will provide. Most people will be gone for it, unless they’re staying to hear Peyton Manning talk that afternoon. It’s too bad since I always find it a refreshing end to an exhausting week.

Each year of HIMSS, they create some sort of innovation section of the conference. Sometimes this includes conference sessions. Other times it includes an exhibit hall area. This year they have both in what they are calling HX360. I heard Shahid Shah mention today that the great thing about HX360 companies is that these companies are often doing something pretty unique. Unlike some other HIMSS vendors, you don’t usually know 20 other companies doing the same thing when you’re talking to HX360 companies.

There’s also a great luncheon keynote for HX360 that includes Mitt Romney and Michael Leavitt (Former HHS Secretary and Governor of Utah). I like them because they’re connected enough to Washington to have tremendous insight, but far enough removed that they can actually speak frankly about what’s happening. The one problem with HX360 is that it requires a separate registration. So, we’ll see how much of it I get to see. I might have to live vicariously through other people’s tweets on the #HX360 hashtag.

Now for some very specific conference sessions, meetups, and events:

#HITMC Meetup – What has become a bit of an annual tradition, Shahid and I will be holding a meetup with members of the healthcare IT marketing and PR community and the broader healthcare social media community as well. The official title of the session is Marketing to Customers in an Uncertain Healthcare IT Marketplace and it’s happening Monday, Feb 29 from 3:00-3:45 at the HIMSS spot. Join us for an open and engaging discussion with the community.

#HealthITChicks Meetup – I’ve been so impressed with the efforts Jennifer Dennard has put together to bring together the #HealthITChicks group. What an amazing community that’s formed. This community of women (and men) are some of the best and brightest in healthcare IT. They’re doing a meetup on Tuesday, March 1 from 10-10:45 at the HIMSS Spot. Check out the full list of speakers, and don’t be surprised when you see the caliber of people who attend this meetup.

@MandiBPro Tweetup – At 2 PM on Tuesday March 1st, Mandi Bishop (better known as @mandibpro) and Dr. Joseph Kim (@DrJosephKim) are doing a tweetup at the Dell booth #4416 where they’ll be talking “Can the Right Data at the Right Place and Right Time Make a Difference?” Should be a lively discussion since if you know Mandi, you know how much she loves data. Is there anything better at HIMSS than talking to someone who’s passionate about a topic?

DataMotion Video Interview – I’m excited to take part in a number of video interviews with the team from DataMotion at booth #12144. One of those interviews will be with DataMotion advisory board member Peter Tippett, MD, PhD. He’s a great advisor for a company like DataMotion that focuses on secure data delivery and communication solutions in healthcare. I look forward to hearing what else they’re talking about at HIMSS16.

Sutter Health Video Interview at SAP – Shahid Shah will be interviewing Souvik Das from Sutter Health at the SAP booth #5828. They’ll be talking about SAP’s HANA being used for analytics and data aggregation for managing an ACO shared savings program. Given ACOs current track record, I’m interested to hear how their ACO has done. Shahid’s interviews are always must see for me thanks to his personal “No BS” rule.

#HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassador Meetup – Bring 20 of the most active social media people at HIMSS into one session and that’s what you’ll have at the Social Media Ambassador meetup. No, this session isn’t just for social media ambassadors. Everyone is welcome to come and interact with this group of social media ninjas. Just be ready to take a selfie.

New Media Meetup – I can’t believe this will be the 7th annual New Media Meetup at HIMSS. I’m biased since I organize the event (which is technically not affiliated with HIMSS), but it’s an amazing experience to be with so many amazing healthcare social media people in one room. Be sure to register if you want to come. A big thank to you to Stericycle Communication Solutions for sponsoring the New Media Meetup.

ONC’s Meaningful Use Session – ONC has a whole schedule of sessions at HIMSS. The one that stood out to me was this MU session called “Understanding the 2015 Edition: Meaningful Use & Other Use Cases.” This session is being held in the Sands Expo, Palazzo B and Elise Sweeney Anthony, J.D., Acting Director, Office of Policy, and Michael Lipinski, J.D., Division Director for Federal Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Policy are presenting. This felt like a real practical session where I could learn something as opposed to many government sessions where they use vague generalities that don’t better my life.

Patient Engagement: No Diamond Ring Required – On the last day of HIMSS I always try and sneak in a session or two while everyone is mostly gone. There are often some nice gems of sessions and you don’t have to fight for seats. This year I’m looking at this patient engagement session by the leaders of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum. I’ve heard good things about the work they’re doing, so I’d like to learn more.

Like I said, I have almost 50 appointments on my calendar (including a party or two), so this is just a small sample of sessions, meetups and events that others are welcome to attend. I’ll also be doing a video interview with Jon Melling from Pivot Point Consulting which should be a lot of fun. I’ll be talking with the people from HIPAA One to see how their efforts to automate HIPAA compliance is going along with their partnerships with many EHR vendors. I’m also interested to learn about what large companies like Oracle and Samsung are doing in healthcare. I think they’ll both have much larger presences than past years.

Plus, I always like to block out some free time on the exhibit floor so I can see if ClinicSpectrum will be attracting attention with balloons and jewelry again and hopefully I can make some time to enjoy Greythorn’s foot massages (I’m sure to need it). Given there are ~1300 exhibitors vying for your attention, you never know the serendipitous connection and interaction that can occur just by strolling through the HIMSS exhibit hall. Yes, be sure to plan ahead to get the most out of HIMSS, but include in that plan some time to explore the unknown (Yes, that includes the exhibit booths downstairs at the Sands Convention Center).

Just writing this up has me excited and tired. I can’t wait for the fun to begin next week at HIMSS in Las Vegas! I’ll be doing 2 different blabs leading up to HIMSS and one blab after HIMSS, so be sure to check those out too and join our conversation about the HIMSS experience.

Bonus Tip: As a local Las Vegas resident, I feel it my responsibility to share some local insights into Las Vegas experiences you might not expect to find in Las Vegas. Here’s what I suggested to one person who asked me for some unique Las Vegas experiences that were a little more kitschy/fun than you can normally find on the strip:

Sounds like you need to check out the new Downtown Las Vegas that we call Fremont East. I’d start with some time at the Downtown Container Park. It has kitschy/fun experiences and live music written all over it. They also play live music on the weekends and have a mix of stores, restaurants and bars that make for a fun experience. The fire breathing preying mantis at the entrance just adds to the fun along with the 2 story slide.

You can grab some great bbq from Big Ern’s at the container park, or head over to La Comida (mexican) or Le Thai which are both very popular. Afterwards, you can grab a drink at Downtown Cocktail Room (intentionally hard to find, but it’s right on Las Vegas Boulevard and there’s a black door with no handle and just one small sign above the entrance. It’s kind of speak easy style). After that you can head over to the Gold Spike for some games, music, and fun. They rotate live music and DJs.

It will be something you totally don’t expect from Las Vegas, but sounds like it will be right up your alley. The other night you should do something more traditional Las Vegas and grab any of the Cirque du Soleil shows (except for the Criss Angel one). They’re not cheap, but they’re awesome.

If you want a surprisingly incredible performance check out Terry Fator. For outdoor fun, rent a car and drive out to Red Rock.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.