Breaking News: HIMSS20 canceled; Naidex update; what is the outlook for other major conferences? (updated)

UPDATED 5 and 12 March

At 12.25 pm today, according to an email visible on HISTalk, HIMSS has canceled HIMSS20. This cancellation is the first in the 58-year history of the conference.

Quick facts are on HISTalk at the link above, on the HIMSS announcement, and on their FAQs.

The advisory panel recognized that industry understanding of the potential reach of the virus has changed significantly in the last 24 hours, which has made it impossible to accurately assess risk. Additionally, there are concerns about disproportionate risk to the healthcare system given the unique medical profile of Global Conference attendees and the consequences of potentially displacing healthcare workers during a critical time, as well as stressing the local health systems were there to be an adverse event.

Also from the announcement: “HIMSS20 exhibitors and attendees will be contacted with further information regarding booth contracts and registrations. Please contact exhibitors@himss.org for immediate booth concerns.”

The CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives)/HIMSS CIO Forum symposium on Sunday 8th-Monday 9th is also canceled, per a comment on HISTalk. The only indicator on their website as of now is a large ‘CANCELLED’ on their event list. Later this month is the 5G Executive Forum on 25-26 March in Plano, Texas; is that now being reevaluated?

Neither will be rescheduled for this year. Further chatter on the 3/6 HISTalk centers on what to do with all the promotional items and after-action assessments of losses to marketing and sales. There are companies which center their annual budget and marketing efforts on HIMSS, perhaps not the best ‘eggs in one basket’ strategy, but one that many follow. Hat tip to HISTalk and their ace staff

For our UK and European Readers, Naidex is one of the largest conferences for independent living and healthcare. So far, it is on at Birmingham NEC from 17–18 March, they are taking a long list of precautions based on guidelines set by the WHO and local authorities, but according to their site statement by the event director, it is a fast-moving situation and may change based on those advisories. POSTPONED 10 March–see 12 March update.

Original article follows:

There is a growing list of exhibitor and attendee cancellations for HIMSS20 in Orlando, Florida, starting next Monday the 9th. HIMSS is one of the largest global healthcare conferences, and is a ‘must attend’ for a wide swath of healthcare-related companies, including clinical and monitoring technologies, software from the giants (Microsoft, Cisco) to the startups, hospital systems, payers, telecoms, and all sorts of governmental entities like CMS. (When the opening keynote speaker is President Trump, you know it’s important.)

Health IT website HISTalk, a regular exhibitor at HIMSS, has been tracking the cancellations as of today, doing their own research and following reader leads and public announcements, with a follow up article dated tomorrow. It’s well above 50, with major companies like Humana, Siemens, IBM, and the aforementioned Cisco and Microsoft, on the list. Modern Healthcare has an update.

Based on the comments and HIMSS’ own advisory, HIMSS is accepting cancellations from the CDC’s Level 3 or 4 alert countries, but other cancellations are not being refunded (likely pushed to 2021). Hotels/airlines may not be refundable based upon policies and the clout of travel bookers. Onsite, HIMSS is preparing onsite medical offices for care and screening, as well as promoting the HIMSS elbow bump in lieu of the handshake. It’s regrettable as there are hundreds of staff involved year to year who are responsible for all the planning, marketing, logistics, and security for HIMSS and any conference of this size.

The major reason? Many companies, including healthcare companies, have indefinitely canceled non-essential travel across the board for the next 30 to 60 days as a matter of institutional policy. The large destination conferences taking place March-June are the most affected by this. Consider that for the immunocompromised, attending any large conference is dicey, but COVID-19 is one large red flag.

IBM has canceled Think 2020 in May, which regularly attracts 30,000 attendees to San Francisco. Mobile World Congress Barcelona, the largest in the telecom sector which crosses over to mobile-based healthcare, canceled two weeks before starting on 24 February. The American Physical Society (physics) canceled this week’s conference in Denver the day before it started. The LA Times has a roll call of canceled conferences including Facebook and Google I/O. Others remain on, but monitoring the situation:  the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on 23 March and EPIC 2020 in Croatia 19-21 March [TTA 16 Jan].

Small, local conferences and meetings are the least affected, so you’re probably safe in London and NYC. The King’s Fund has a full roster of London meetings, including the Digital Health and Care Congress 2020 on 20-21 May. Upcoming are also DHACA Day on 18 March and the NYC meetings listed last week. (Don’t go if you’re sick, steer clear of the inconsiderate, avoid buffets, and wash your hands!)

HISTalk’s 5 March article (scroll down) reports on the findings from the leader of the WHO team which spent two weeks in China studying their COVID-19 response. China is moving patients from their best hospitals to ‘routine care’ to accommodate COVID-19 patients. Children do not seem to become infected or be carriers. The trend in infection there is trending down. Overall, it seems to be a series of global outbreaks, not a global pandemic. And they came away with a fatality rate in China of 1-2 percent, which seems low based on other reports.

The big show begins: HIMSS 2016

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/HIMSS-2016.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Now that Mobile World Congress, which increasingly features mobile healthcare tech like International CES, is wrapping, probably the world’s largest healthcare oriented conference, HIMSS, will be kicking off on Monday the 29th in Fabulous Las Vegas. ‘Connected health’ and security is a part of it, along with its traditional emphasis on HIT and traditional devices. If you are going, you’ve likely made your arrangements months ago. There’s a lot of guides out there on making the most of the conference, but this Editor recommends Roberta Mullins’ quick guide to HIMSS highlights in HIE Answers. For the fun parts of HIMSS and a link to the HIMSS16 mobile app, here’s Roberta again, plus HealthcareITNews’ roundup (though the chapter events are sold out).

We’ll be noting the news from our New York perch. If you have news, insights or comments you’d like to see here (objective and not promotional), please email this Editor. (These will be used at editorial discretion.) TTA has been for years a media partner of HIMSS Connected Health Conference/mHealth Summit (which, rumor has it, will happily be returning to December this year). 

Upcoming will be the other US ‘big show’ in telehealth and telemedicine, ATA 2016, 14-17 May in Minneapolis, where we again are media partners. More on ATA in coming weeks!

 

Accessibility arriving at the Top Table (guest blog)

Chris Lewis, a world-renowned telecoms expert and regular presenter on disability issues has kindly offered to share some thoughts with readers prior to his presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine event on the Medical Benefits of Wearables on 23rd November. This is the first of two he has written specially for TTA.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona accessibility I took to one of the main stages for the first time. IBM, Microsoft, Google and the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) joined me to present perspectives on how accessibility is going mainstream.

I introduced the session with some of the key findings from the second Telefonica accessibility report “Digitising the Billion Disabled: Accessibility Gets Personal“. In summary, the billion disabled people represent a major spending group, combining earnings of some $2.3 Trillion and state support of $1.3 Trillion. Disabled people on average earn only 60% of their able-bodied peers and, of course, many disabled people don’t get the opportunity to work at all. 4% of children and 10% of the working population are disabled, but perhaps most striking, over three quarters of the elderly. Combine this dynamic with Douglas Adams’s theory of adopting technology getting harder as we get older and you can see the ticking time bomb of disability and age. (more…)

Smartphone health data, privacy concerns rear head at MWC

As Editor Charles is chronicling at the world’s largest mobile event, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has a great deal of focus on healthcare–and that includes healthcare data security. Both telehealth monitoring and telemedicine virtual consults are increasingly phone-based. That data transmitting via and in virtual storage a/k/a The Cloud, including personal health records (PHRs), is overly assumed to be secure, but security protocols vary. “We are at the mercy of who the app providers are and how well they secure the information, and they are at the mercy sometimes of the cloud providers.” according to Kevin Curran of the IEEE. This article also points out that there’s real consumer concern that insurance companies will access their personal identified data via various databases, (more…)

mHealth guide to the 2015 Mobile World Congress

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Mobile-World-Congress-20151.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]For our readers attending the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) extravaganza 2-5 March, there’s plenty on health tech to be found, but the MWC organizers on their website don’t make it easy. Filling the gap smartly is David Doherty on mHealth Insight with his annual mHealth guide to the 2015 Mobile World Congress–both presentations and exhibitors. Personal logistics is important as the 70,000 delegates jam Barcelona and the 2nd Health & Wellness @ Mobile World Congress organized by the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) is held at two venues. Save it on your mobile and let it be your guide.

How much longer will ‘mobile’ be different from ‘living’?

The news that the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week broke all attendance records is hardly surprising, given the way mobile communications are inserting their way into almost every aspect of life. It does though make one wonder how much longer the MWC can retain it’s broad focus as communications mobility becomes indistinguishable from normal living (and additional accommodation in Catalonia becomes harder to find). Indeed, as mHealth News pointed out last week, mobile comms keeps people living, worldwide

Not all age groups have been able to gain the same level of benefit from mobile comms though, most notably older people. It is therefore great to see (more…)

Telecare – time to lose the last “e”?

Many years ago when I co-founded eForum to promote what was then called “eGovernment”, it was common for smart speakers to begin their conference presentations by saying that it’d soon be plain “government”, which indeed it has been now for many years; around the world, government sector workers have embraced technology to offer huge improvements in quality of service to citizens at reduced cost. Sadly health services have proved far more resistant to the beneficial use of technology, so eHealth & mHealth seem likely to take rather longer to lose their prefixes, in spite of pleas from the VA. If any support for this view was needed, the telehealth news from the flat earth society of a recent survey of GPs (more…)