At HIMSS15 in Chicago, there were the usual wall-to-wall session offerings, evening events and impromptu chances to meet with colleagues. Increasingly, there is also a virtual space for engagement running alongside the real-life conference action. While social media can quickly turn into a noisy echo chamber, we found that – with the right approach – it enhanced the conference experience.
In particular, the HIMSS15 App proved to be a powerful tool, rather than a gimmick some feared it might be. It made organizing your schedule and appointments much easier, with the chance to compare agendas and link up with other users – a far cry from scrawling things on the back of business cards and folders.
If you wanted to meet the people and organizations that were most highly engaged in the conference, you could consult the handy social media leader board. We had the chance to attend the HIMSS15 Social Media gathering hosted by John Lynn – further evidence this whole thing has moved beyond mere fad.
Across several platforms (LinkedIn and Twitter, in particular), attendees shared useful, real time information so that we could be in two places at once – especially helpful if you were needed to staff a booth. The rules of engagement are simple: to offer a value proposition (not sales spam) and do it in an interesting way. If you've got followers re-tweeting your up-to-the-minute conference analysis or laughing out loud (with you, hopefully), you’re probably in the right ballpark.
Not all business
We came to HIMSS15 to learn and accomplish a number of business objectives, but conferences - especially in a world-class town like Chicago – aren't all work.
We also enjoyed the serendipity of the conference and city. DHIT team members took part in the HIMSS15 Wellness challenge, tracking the many steps we took to cover the 22 football fields’ worth of exhibition space and sharing our experience with other HIMSS15 app users. Our stay at the newly-opened Virgin Hotel came complete with a ride in a Tesla (at right). We got an up-close look at a Verizon robot designed to facilitate care in immuno-compromised patient settings. And we got to experience a little bit of the Chicago nightlife.
It all served as a reminder for why we exist as a company – to pursue innovation and have fun doing it.