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HIMSS 2024: Finding the hidden gems

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Hal Wolf, HIMSS president and CEO, offers some tips for making the most out of the 2024 conference.

The HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition takes place in Orlando this week, and thousands of healthcare leaders will be in attendance.

Many of them will come to the health technology conference with some goals. With hundreds of sessions at the conference and about 1,000 exhibitors, it’s best to have do a little homework to make the most of the time, says Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS.

“You have got to have a plan,” Wolf says.

The conference has a free app that offers a rundown of sessions, speeches and exhibitors, and the ability to create your own calendar to navigate the conference.

“It's amazing for getting you through and actually guiding you to the right booths and, and points of interest,” Wolf says.

At the same time, Wolf also says it’s best to be a little flexible. To find hidden gems at HIMSS, attendees should look at sessions outside of their own field or interest, Wolf says.

“Step into a segment of the industry that's different than where you normally partake,” Wolf says.

“It's rare that you get that opportunity,” he adds. “It's rare that you're in a building, that no matter what your discipline is, your segment, there's another piece of the healthcare ecosystem that you don't get a chance to partake in, which can expand your point of view.”

A session featuring European health leaders may not appear at first blush to be a must-see for a healthcare leader from the midwest, he says. But that’s a panel that could offer important perspective on efforts to improve interoperability across Europe, and shed a little light on efforts to improve the sharing of patient data in America.

Other panel discussions on government policy could also provide valuable insights, Wolf said.

“I would say the great secret is: expand your horizon,” Wolf says. “Find those different areas, walk in and listen. You may be absolutely surprised about what you can learn in just walking in a door. And it can actually be one of the few times in your career, you get to come up for air and do so.”

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