HIMSS 2021: What to Look For in a Different Kind of Year

July 30, 2021 | Events Trade Show


It’s one of the most anticipated shows of the year, not only because of its status as a leading healthcare information and technology conference, but because it’s also one of the first large-scale events to return to an in-person format. We’re talking about the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Global Health Conference, which takes place August 9th through August 13th in Las Vegas, NV.

In addition to its in-person format, the show (which requires that all attendees, staff, and exhibitors be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in addition to other safety protocols) is also offering a digital-only program for audiences who’d prefer an online format -- HIMSS21 Digital. Those attending in-person will receive complimentary access to the digital program as well.

“HIMSS21 Digital content and programming is a unique extension of HIMSS21—not a duplication or livestream of on-site activities,” notes HIMSS of the online program, which includes its own range of sessions, networking opportunities, and more.

Taking place during the show’s in-person dates in August, it will also be available to watch post-event, making it a dynamic example of the various types of live + digital formats we expect to see across several shows and industries in the months, and perhaps years, to come.

And as we continue to prepare for HIMSS 2021 to take place in a different kind of year, we’re sharing what to look out for. Take a closer look below.

What to Look Out For in the Healthcare Industry

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” While applicable to so many situations in life, when we think of those poignant words from Maya Angelou, especially in an experiential context, they take on even more meaning.

And as we look to HIMSS, there’s a great opportunity for companies to deliver content and experiences that directly speak to what today’s attendees are looking for. For many generations, especially Gen Z, that kind of honest connection and communication between brands and audiences is exactly what they’re craving.

“It’s key to deliver an experience that’s memorable and authentic,” notes Mike Ellery, Chief Creative Officer at Sparks. “It’s all about bringing true value to your customers by understanding them and showing an understanding of what they care about.”

And when we think about the healthcare industry as a whole, which by its nature is all about human connection and relationships, the idea of creating value-driven, genuine experiences becomes even more resonant. And at the foundation of it all is content, which is more important than ever, especially with the infusion of digital communications and evolving technological updates in the healthcare space.

“As AI is embraced across more brands, more therapeutic areas, more geographic regions, and more organizations, it will turbo-charge the demands for content” notes MedCity News. “Evolving consumer expectations and preferences around digital will also push the industry towards new content formats, such as a surge in personalized videos and AI-driven self-serve digital portals.”

One of the most important aspects to come out of the pandemic has been the digital innovation that has formed as a result. Particularly, how it’s changed the way healthcare providers engage and interact with patients and even each other. And when it comes to healthcare shows like HIMSS, it will be interesting to see how this melding of live + digital will factor into the content.

“Healthcare shows should be a mirror of what’s happening in the real world and what’s important to the people attending,” says Ellery. “Telemedicine, for example, has had a huge impact in the last year. Will there be tracks at shows around telehealth or remote medicine? It will be key to keep an eye on emerging trends in the healthcare industry and how they’re being discussed.”

It will also be interesting to see how healthcare events incorporate elements like streaming, which can be used, for example, in educational sessions to allow attendees to watch HCPs and learn on a whole new level.

“Streaming has improved,” notes Ellery. “Now you can stream in some of the learning operating theaters where students can watch an operation and they’ll beam that into the session during the show. This will be on the up because streaming has become so popular.”

A Shift in Perspective

What continues to be a driving force in the events and trade show industry, especially in the past year, is the need to take on a more empathetic approach and a more human perspective. And as we think about shows like HIMSS 2021 and beyond, this becomes even more important.

What’s more, in today’s ever-evolving world, the very focus of healthcare trade shows could see a shift in how they’re used to engage with HCPs. What’s going to be vital for brands and companies moving forward is to think in terms of providing real solutions for real world issues.

“When and how we listen to people who are vital healthcare workers is changing,” says Ellery. “Moving ahead, the role of healthcare shows could be to gather more information about the needs of HCPs, focusing on their challenges and then on solutions.”

Because at the end of the day, connection is what it’s all about, and for an industry like healthcare which is based on person-to-person relationships, taking on a more humanistic approach is not just important, it’s vital.

With those perspectives in mind, we can’t wait to see what HIMSS 2021 brings.

Posted by Dyan Cornacchio | Request as a Speaker

Social media and creative writing connoisseur. Obsessed with my golden retriever, pop culture, and pizza. Nothing makes me happier than being home on LI, relaxing at the beach with my family.