HIMSS back in Chicago, as is ignorance about health IT

According to the Chicago Tribune, HIMSS will join with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Monday morning to announce that the organization will put the Windy City back in its rotation for its massive annual conference.

As you may recall, Chicago-based HIMSS pulled its 2012 event from its hometown, citing high labor and materials costs for vendors at the McCormick Place convention center. Instead, HIMSS12 will be held in Las Vegas.

The conference has outgrown smaller venues in places like San Diego and Dallas, and only five cities currently have enough exhibit space and hotel rooms to accommodate the 27,000 attendees and more than 900 exhibitors: Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla. (host of HIMSS11), Atlanta and New Orleans. I understand the conference won’t return to New Orleans for a while because there aren’t enough service workers in that hurricane-ravaged city. If you attended HIMSS07 in the Big Easy, you probably remember long waits at understaffed restaurants.

If you clicked on the above link to the Tribune story, you may have noticed that the paper calls the conference a “medical” meeting. At the risk of sounding nitpicky, I need to know why people outside healthcare can’t distinguish between the industry of healthcare and the practice of medicine. Health IT is a tool to support medicine, but it’s not medicine in and of itself. HIMSS is a healthcare event. It’s a technology event. It’s not a medical meeting.

UPDATE: The 2015 and 2019 HIMSS conferences will be held at Chicago’s McCormick Place.