UPDATE: The HIMSS21 Conference has been officially moved to August 2021. Check out the link for more details.
I think we’d all been waiting for the shoe to fully drop, but it now seems official that there will be no large health IT conferences for the rest of 2020. We’ve been tracking the various Healthcare IT 2020 Conference cancellations and virtual events and we just updated the CHIME Conference moving to a virtual format as a replacement to the CHIME Fall Forum. That means all of the large health IT conferences we usually attend have all cancelled or gone virtual in 2020.
There are a few smaller conferences that are still out there including our very own Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference which was postponed to November. As a smaller conference, we have more options where we could meet with social distancing and masks. However, we’re definitely evaluating the situation and will decide soon whether even our smaller event can go forward in 2020 or not as we continue to gather feedback from the community. It’s tough because we all yearn to meet together in person again, but we also want to make sure we can do it in a safe manner.
We haven’t heard any updates on the Health 2.0 and Connected Health Conference yet, but they had never opened registration or posted the agenda. In fact, the Connected Health Conference never even had dates. So, it’s fair to say that they’re probably not happening in person in 2020 either.
I’m still waiting to see what the 170,000 CES conference does. It’s scheduled for January. Hard to imagine it can continue. Especially with such a large international audience, but the logistics of cancelling that event are daunting to consider as well. They have until January to figure it out.
Another rumor on the street is that the HIMSS 2021 Annual Conference that’s currently scheduled for March 1-5, 2021 in Las Vegas is going to be postponed until August 2021. This is probably a good move given all the uncertainty that still surrounds the coronavirus. Plus, HIMSS cannot go through another cancellation at HIMSS21 while many are still reeling from the HIMSS20 cancellation. I reached out to HIMSS to see if I could confirm the rumor, but haven’t heard back. I’ll update the article if I do.
UPDATE: HIMSS sent the following response to our request about postponing HIMSS21:
We are absolutely thinking about a new date – As we all continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees and local residents remain our top priority.
We are very close to finalizing details for HIMSS21 and will be making an announcement to press this Friday, July 31st at 12 NOON CT.
What do you think of HIMSS21 being in Las Vegas in August? As a Vegas resident that’s enjoying 118 degree heat right now, it’s not ideal. However, at HIMSS we generally move from one nicely air conditioned venue to another air conditioned venue, so it’s not as big of a deal as people make it out to be.
Interestingly, in the CHIME announcement of their Fall Forum going digital, they also announced a “standalone two-day executive forum in Las Vegas” in August 2021. Normally CHIME holds their spring CIO forum the day before the HIMSS conference. I imagine CHIME doesn’t want to move their Spring Forum to August and then hold their CHIME21 Fall Forum in October (CHIME21 Fall Forum is scheduled for San Diego for those keeping track at home). It will be interesting to see if CHIME’s 2 day executive Forum is close to HIMSS so that CIOs can attend both or not. I’d think they would, but the fact they say it’s a standalone event makes me wonder how that will go down with HIMSS.
As one person told me, it’s possible he’s going to go all of 2020 with no business travel. That would be the first time in 22 years that it’s happened. These are certainly not normal times.
The good news is that there are plenty of virtual health it conferences and events that we’re tracking as well. We’ll keep adding to the list as we hear about more of them. Plus, we’re close to announcing a series of EXPO.health virtual events that focus on attendee engagement and creating unique experiences. Just because we can’t travel doesn’t mean we aren’t still longing to connect with peers. I don’t think virtual will ever fully replace the in person experience, but it will have to do for now.