UPDATE: We just received the following email that HIMSS20 has been cancelled. We’ve reschedule a number of our HIMSS 2020 Meetups virtually if you’d like to join us.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have continued to monitor the situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Made apparent by recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus continues to spread globally and the situation is so dynamic that each day brings a new development. It is clearly necessary to cancel the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition.
HIMSS leadership has been gathering to discuss the situation at-length, in coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making. The advisory panel recognized that industry understanding of the potential reach of the virus has changed significantly in the last 24 hours, which has made it impossible to accurately assess risk. Additionally, there are concerns about disproportionate risk to the healthcare system given the unique medical profile of Global Conference attendees and the consequences of potentially displacing healthcare workers during a critical time, as well as stressing the local health systems were there to be an adverse event.
This will be the first time in 58 years the event has been cancelled, but it is now clear that cancellation is unavoidable in order to meet HIMSS’ obligation to protect the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees and local residents, as well as for the healthcare providers tasked with keeping our U.S. and global communities healthy.
This action was further informed by concerns received from HIMSS20 attendees, cancellations of similarly sized conferences in the U.S. and globally, as well as a growing volume of confirmed cases of coronavirus throughout the country. In light of these factors, HIMSS has determined it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.
I will be in contact with your organization within the 14 working days with additional logistics details.
Senior Director Exhibitor & Meeting Services
As you can imagine, we’re super-busy planning for the HIMSS20 annual conference that it scheduled to take place next week in Orlando. As we reported before, the situation is dynamic, which is a fancy way of saying that there are many unknowns, but we are getting regular updates. In this article, we are sharing the latest on we’re hearing.
[Aside: Be sure to check out our previous health IT coronavirus article to learn what healthcare IT organizations are doing to prepare for the coronavirus at their organization]
As of this morning, Karen Groppe from HIMSS has reiterated that the HIMSS Annual conference is still going ahead as scheduled. HIMSS has an independent medical team that is evaluating the situation regularly and they will be following the advice of this team as things continue to unfold. We will update this article as we receive more news.
It was confirmed this morning that President Trump will be making a speech at the start of HIMSS 2020. He’ll be speaking at 4 PM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. It was noted that this event was a White House event and not a HIMSS event. HIMSS attendees are invited to attend. If you are planning on attending in-person, be prepared for extra security – metal detectors, etc. If you can’t make it into the main room (limited space), the speech will be streamed to other rooms. Also, CHIME informed me that they’ll be streaming it to the CHIME Spring Forum main room so that CHIME members can attend the CHIME reception and then watch President Trump’s remarks. For those at home, the speech can be seen on WhiteHouse.gov.
While HIMSS20 is still forward, we’ve been seeing a lot of companies pulling out of the event. Plus, I’m hearing from many other vendors that they’re sending fewer people or that they’re allowing their staff to decide if they want to go or not. This is a dynamic situation (there’s that word again) and will continue to change in the days leading up to HIMSS20.
To help all of us, we wanted to share the companies we know that have pulled out and will add to this list as we get more information. Whenever possible, we have linked to the public statement made by these companies. To keep this list in perspective, HIMSS20 has over 1300 vendors.
- Amazon AWS
- Audacious Inquiry (unconfirmed)
- Butterfly Network
- Carin Alliance
- City of Hope
- Change Healthcare
- Cleveland Clinic (unconfirmed)
- Cognizant (confirmed via email)
- Dell Technologies
- Google Cloud
- Greenway Health
- Hillrom (confirmed via email)
- IU Health
- MITRE Health
- NTT Data
- Pariveda Solutions
- Pure Storage
- Quil Health
- Siemens Healthineers
- SOC Telemed
- Stanley Healthcare
- TENTE Casters, Inc
- Visage Imaging
- Zoom Video
It seems like HIMSS is updating their interactive exhibitor map now so you can verify who is in and who is out. Although, I’m sure that it won’t be updated quite as quick as the list above and announcements on social media.
You can see from the list that there are some major companies who have decided to pull out. HOWEVER, that still leaves more than 1000 companies that are planning on being there (or put another way, who haven’t yet announced plans to cancel). Someone also started a Change.org petition asking for HIMSS20 to be cancelled. So far it only has 160 signatures.
HIMSS has said in multiple emails that they’ve had a small number of registration cancellations and that they weren’t going to comment on exhibitor cancellations. Yesterday, they told us that they had 36,795 people registered and over 1000 new registrations in 2 days. Plus, they noted 1315 exhibitors. However, considering they have a no refund policy for attendees, hotels, and exhibitors, I’m not sure how HIMSS would really assess how many people aren’t planning to attend.
I wanted to create a list of companies I know are still planning to attend, but everyone that I talked to told me “as of now” which means they’re planning on it, but they’re open to changes as the situation evolves. We do see quite a few people and companies on the #HIMSS20 hashtag that are saying they’re still planning to come.
It’s a sad situation all around. Talking to many in the HITMC community, I joked that we may need a special HIMSS coronavirus session at HITMC20 to process this tough experience. As one person told me, it’s just heart breaking to have 5 months of work not yield the results that it did in past years. The same is true for the people at HIMSS who have spent all year planning.