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HIMSS24: AI, Amazon, TEFCA and Security

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After a few days at HIMSS and some taxing spring break travel to Orlando, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the year’s largest health tech event. I hadn’t attended HIMSS since pre-pandemic days, and I’d received some negative feedback from clients about the ROI of attending the last few years. I wanted to check in on the event myself. Here’s what I learned.

  1. AI is both a marketing buzzword and a technology having a huge impact on healthcare. Every other session at HIMSS had the term “AI” in the title. Next PR has a long-time client who has been using machine learning and AI to power its platform since 2019. So, what’s different now? 

    AI technology is sophisticated enough for day-to-day use, and care providers are more directly interacting with note-taking tools. There are healthcare companies making great advancements with AI (shout out to DeepScribe). But there are also companies retooling to force AI into their marketing messaging. I find the latter disingenuous. Yes, share your use of AI, but the technology itself is not the value proposition of your company.

  2. Amazon – specifically AWS – is focused on healthcare. With the explosion of tech-enabled healthcare, health providers need faster data storage solutions. AWS made significant announcements with brands like Phillips and a big investment in the show to promote its solutions for enabling AI research. (I also appreciated the espresso bar at its booth.)

    When I attended HIMSS in 2018, digital transformation was happening at a rapid pace. The data storage needs for payers and providers have only grown, and AWS is on the case.

  3. HIMSS is a great conference for knowledge sharing. The federal government took advantage of the opportunity to share the latest on TEFCA (The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreements), which became operational in December 2023. Interoperability, data exchange and patient privacy have been gigantic sticking points in the health tech world.

    There was even a designated pavilion, sponsored by MITRE, to encourage these conversations. In a highly regulated industry, it’s important to build relationships with regulators and have the opportunity to ask live questions face-to-face.

  4. Not everyone knows about the Change Healthcare hack. The first person I chatted with at the show was a nurse working on behalf of a large health tech company. She hadn’t heard of the Change Healthcare hack or its impacts. I really expected it to come up more. Security companies were in attendance, but since the conference speakers are set so far in advance, there wasn’t much on the agenda relevant to the hack or the resulting catastrophic payment issues.

    On a related note, my colleague and I did take a moment to catch up with the team at HITRUST. I firmly believe security audits and certifications are an important part of building customer trust.


With the event in Las Vegas next year, I’m advising clients in the space to make plans to attend. Not only is it a popular location with attendees, but the new organizers did a great job attracting C-level executives to attend this year.

Have a plan to make the most of your time and embrace the trade show media trends. It’s a noisy environment, but there are ways to break through with an integrated public relations strategy. If you’d like to debrief your HIMSS experience, or are looking for support with next year’s event, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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