Our kind of town: Staying social at HIMSS15

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.