Update: HIMSS has published a HIMSS Cancellation FAQ
Update 2: HIMSS is working to make all HIMSS20 sessions available online. They also said “For those already registered for HIMSS20, you will have access to HIMSS20 Digital and, as is our policy, you will be automatically registered for HIMSS21 in Las Vegas!” HIMSS20 registrants will also have access to HIMSS20 digital.
We’re sorry to report that the HIMSS 2020 annual conference in Orlando has been cancelled. Here’s the email that was sent out by HIMSS.
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
For those of us who love health IT and the HIMSS community, it’s heartbreaking on so many levels. The number of hours that have been spent by people to prepare for this event is astounding and it’s unfortunate that much of that will go to waste. Plus, many of us enjoy HIMSS because we come out of it with a renewed excitement and energy that comes from meeting amazing people and learning about the latest health IT happenings. However, given all of the circumstances, this seems like the right decision by HIMSS.
I know we all have a lot of questions and there will be a lot to process from this announcement. We’ll update this article as we get more information.
For those planning to attend our various #HIMSS20 meetups, we’ll be working with our partners to provide these in a virtual format. We’ll announce all the details for how you can participate in those as they become available.