HIMSS opens to more attendees, heightened focus on EMRs

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ORLANDO–On the eve of opening day of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) 2008 annual meeting in Orlando, enthusiasm is high as the attendee registration numbers are up and those making the journey are increasingly focused on electronic medical records (EMRs). Attendance at today’s preconference sessions was strong.

Registration is currently 17 percent ahead of last year. And people also have made plans to stay longer at the conference—with hotel stays up by nearly 20 percent and Wednesday night reservations 16 percent higher than in 2007.

Some 20,000 healthcare information technology (HIT) decision-makers, trendsetters and thought-leaders are converging from around the world to view the latest in HIT products and services from almost 900 exhibiting companies. They have the opportunity to partake in more than 300 education sessions with solutions to real problems and in-depth insight on the industry’s future. The national scramble to meet President Bush’s repeated calls for electronic medical records (EMRs) for all Americans by 2014 has gathered approximately 125 EMR vendors to this year’s HIMSS meeting.

The society also has seen an increase in higher level executives compared with last year’s attendance. The society has seen a registration increase in:

  • Chief operating officer/executive VP/senior VP/VP/general manager by 46 percent from 2007;
  • Chief information officer, chief technology officer, VP of IT/IS/MIS/Network by 13 percent from 2007;
  • Nurses by 33 percent from 2007; and
  • Physicians by 10 percent from 2007.

This year’s keynote speakers include:

  • Bill Frist: 23rd U.S. Senate Majority Leader and U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1995-2007);
  • Eric Schmidt: PhD, chairman and CEO of Google;
  • Steve Case: chairman and CEO, Revolution; co-founder and former CEO and chairman of America Online (AOL);
  • Steven D. Levitt: best-selling author of Freakonomics, Alvin Baum Professor of Economics, director of the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business;
  • Michael O. Leavitt (Invited): Secretary of the U.S, Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • Robert Kolodner, MD, (Invited): National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services.