"Turn That Frown Upside Down"

If you ever are thinking about going to a health care conference, one thing you should consider is to volunteer. One of the perks of being a volunteer is typically getting your conference fees waived. On the downside, you may need to work crazy hours or run around the conference with a walkie talkie in your head.

As part of my volunteer duties, I oversaw one of the Continuing Education rooms today and monitored a session on healthcare reform and its impact on health IT. This session, as well as other sessions focused on the recent stimulus package, has gotten a lot of buzz at the conference and there is a lot of interest in how the $19.1 billion earmarked for health IT can be translated to good business and higher quality. Minutes before the session began, the room was filled to capacity and I had to close the door and turn people away. Attendees were angry at me, and many sighed, yelled, and rolled their eyes at me.

Using my knowledge and skills in conflict resolution, I tried my best to mitigate the wackiness. When some of the attendees realized I was just a student, they soon backed off and actually a few decided to strike up a conversation with me about graduate school. One thing led to another, business cards were exchanged and meetings were planned.

And that, in a nutshell, is what conferences are all about. Networking. Every person is an opportunity, whether a sales person or a potential employee. Walking through the exhibit hall again today reiterated that sentiment once again. Exhibitors come up to you, pitching their products, and somehow make a connection between what they do or provide with how it’s going to dramatically change your life or your job. I encourage you all to try it at YSPH, whether in class or in the computer lab. Practice makes perfect when it relates to schmoozing.

Which leads me to the other thing about conferences. It’s all about SWAG, or as Michael Scott would put it, Stuff We All Get. Pens. Highlighters. T-shirts. And at this conference, lots of booze. I am now in possession of a lot of random stuff that I somehow have to either throw away or stuff in my suitcase coming back. But seriously. Everyone needs a bouncy ball that lights up. I don’t know how I ever lived without one before this conference.

All kidding aside, it’s fun meeting new folks working in industry and having some fascinating conversations about the latest and greatest in health care. And that’s one of the great draws of going to conferences so specific like HIMSS. You really get a wide variety of people. Plus, you have an opportunity to get rid of some of those business cards that you bought.

Today’s thought of the day:
The Institute of Medicine has a goal that 90% of care in the US be based on scientific evidence by 2020.

Today’s quesiton of the day:
Is this number too high? Too low?


One Response

  1. I want your bouncy ball that lights up. Can you write another blog about your experience with C-suite people? Remember, this website is (totally) unofficial. That’s what Rob said. 😛

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