My journey to HIMSS started early this morning. I am the type of traveler who likes to arrive at the airport hours in advance so as to avoid the stress of last-minute traffic, parking delays, and check-in and security lines. I also enjoy taking the time to walk through the airport concourses to my gate. I reason that the exercise will do me good before I spend several hours sitting down. I was pleasantly surprised to find the ceiling of one concourse transformed into a rainforest-like canopy. The leafy, backlit branches of green and blue were accompanied by piped in birdsong and patches of ceiling monitors that resembled the sky. I imagine such an environment may have calmed my nerves if I had been nervous about flying.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find this private pod set up for nursing and pumping moms. I’m not sure how many are scattered throughout the airport, but I’m sure it beats trying to perform either task in a crowded public space. I’ll never forget watching a mother try to find an outlet and pump in the bathroom at the St. Thomas airport in the US Virgin Islands. Privacy was nowhere to be found. I’ve heard from more than one female colleague that such spaces should be made available at conferences like HIMSS. I’m not sure if there are any laws regulating this sort of thing, but I’d give big kudos to conference organizers that consider it.
My flight was full, which wasn’t surprising given that most of metro Atlanta’s school systems are out for winter break. As such, many families are making their way to Disney for the week. My flight was surprisingly free of HIMSS vendors, which has been the case in years past. I snapped this pick while boarding; I thought it was interesting that they promote being among the “Best Places to Work.” I wonder if any HIMSS exhibitors will have similar signage. If I were a prospect, that would certainly boost any confidence I might have in the company’s products and corporate culture.
HIMSS signage was everywhere. I was disappointed, though, in the lack of little ones already dressed up as their favorite Disney characters.
I had a fairly typical wait in the taxi queue, and a delightful ride to my hotel with Viviana of Quick Cab. It seems the taxi drivers are taking a cue from Uber when it comes to customer service. She was quick to offer me refreshments when I got in, and – thank goodness – swiped my card using Square rather than the more traditional card readers that never seem to work.
I’m staying in a modest, family-friendly hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the convention center, and an even shorter distance to the Pointe Orlando nightlife area. It has several dining options, all of which are very affordable, and the staff has so far been eager to please.
Flowers like these haven’t yet bloomed in my neck of the woods. They are certainly a nice contrast to the seedier, concrete and neon jungle that typically greets me when I travel to HIMSS in Las Vegas. Orlando’s weather definitely has me ready for spring!
Like Mr. H mentioned in his Sunday, update, the conference center was fairly quiet. There were a number of pre-conference symposia going on, but it looked as if they had all wrapped up by the time I walked over to pick up my press credentials.
It took me all of five minutes to run into a familiar face. It was great to catch up with Amanda Greene, one of HIStalk’s HIMSS patient advocate scholarship winners from a few years back. She has returned to represent the patient in that oft-used healthcare buzz phrase – “patient-centered healthcare.” I know it’s a growing (but still very much grassroots) movement aided in part by organizations like The Walking Gallery, the Society for Participatory Medicine, and the Personal Connected Health Alliance. Amanda recommended that I check out one such title on the subject, “Participatory Healthcare.” And so I headed over to the HIMSS bookstore …
I don’t know if this was the main bookstore or a smaller, satellite location. As readers of HIStalk Practice already know, I am a big bibliophile.
I came across the recommendation, plus a few others I might have to check out in the near future.
I have always envied Dr. Jayne for her HIMSS routine of checking out the conference with long-time friends and colleagues. It always sounded like such fun to hike around HIMSS with a buddy, and this year, I’m happy to say I got that chance for a few hours with my former college roommate and colleague Jessica Clifton. The day got even better when we ran into Ross Martin, MD a former HIStalkapalooza host who is now a program director at the CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients) regional HIE in Maryland. He was kind enough to bestow upon Jess an honorary membership to the American College of Medical Informatimusicology.
And speaking of music … The night was still young, and so I hopped into a cab and scooted over to the Doyenne Connections meetup at the Caribe Royale. Not only were we serenaded by this female saxophonist, which I assume is a rarity, but we were sent home with Girl Scout Cookies – my new favorite HIMSS giveaway.
Though not quite as young, the night still had some life in it, and so I made my way back over to the Pointe Orlando area for Divurgent’s networking event at the Funky Monkey.
I’ve been to several Divurgent events over the last several years, and the team knows how to throw a good party. This year was no different, except for the fact that Amos the monkey held court in one corner of the restaurant. Where else but HIMSS?
After chatting with indie HIT consultant, freelance CIO, and HIMSS Social Media Ambassador Drex DeFord and friends, I decided to call the #HIMSSanity a night. (And I couldn’t resist the siren call of HGTV beckoning me back to my hotel room.) Plus, I need to rest up for tomorrow morning’s keynote and, of course, tomorrow night’s HIStalkapalooza festivities.