A Startup's Guide to HIMSS19

By Jonah Comstock
09:21 am

While the HIMSS Global Conference is often thought of as a health IT conference for physicians and CIOs, the annual event actually caters to a wide variety of stakeholders in healthcare including entrepreneurs, investors, informaticists, and a wide variety of clinicians and executives.

In order to highlight that diversity of attendees and offerings, this year HIMSS is organizing HIMSS Circles, an opt-in, curated conference experience. One circle, the Entrepreneur Circle, is aimed specifically at helping startups make the most of HIMSS.

We hope you’ll join us! But whether you join the circle or not, here’s a guide to the world of HIMSS19 — through an entrepreneur’s lens.

Innovation Symposium

On Monday, before the conference proper kicks off, a number of preconference symposia can be added to a conference registration for an extra fee.

A number of these events might appeal to entrepreneurs, especially if they line up with their startup’s particular focus, including events on blockchain, interoperability, the opioid crisis, big data, and aging tech.

For any entrepreneur though, there should be something to gain from the Innovation Symposium.

“The folks who are showing up for this program are really the high-motivated innovators who are out there,” Ian Hoffberg, HIMSS’s Applied Innovation Manager, said on a recent circle webinar. “Last year we focused on the cultural side of innovation, why innovation is important. This year we’re looking more at best practices and next practices from those high-performance innovators.”

Speakers including Aneesh Chopra and Geisinger’s Karen Murphy will go deep on topics from operational capabilities to approaches for scaling and partnering.

The Digital Health Collaborative

MobiHealthNews wrote about the Digital Health Collaborative and its efforts to create a national standard for security assessments a few months ago. That’s just one of many projects the mixed stakeholder group of entrepreneurs and provider organizations is tackling, and they’re still looking for more partners to join the group. The Collaborative will be hosting an open meeting at 10:00 am on Tuesday.

Scaling Your Startup workshop

On Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 pm, interested entrepreneurs can pay a little extra for a three-hour workshop on scaling up and building out their team. The event will include tips on hiring and structuring a sales team and identifying and reaching your ideal customer.


Another can’t-miss event for the startup crowd is Health 2.0 VentureConnect, a day-long event on Wednesday (also for an additional fee).

The day will feature panels, education sessions, and a rapid fire series A pitch competition, all aimed at an audience of investors, entrepreneurs, and other folks interested in this space.

Investors and experts (and yours truly) will discuss investment and market trends and startups will share success stories around funding and exits.

Innovation Forum

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, a number of education sessions should appeal to the startup crowd. But on Thursday specifically, a series of talks will be focused on innovation, specifically the idea of “game-changing partnerships”.

For instance, the State of the Healthcare API session at 10:00 am will feature FHIR Product Director Graham Grieve, Atrium Health Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Rasu Shrestha, and Santosh Mohan, the leader of athenahealth’s More Disruption Please Ecosystem.

Innovation Live

All week at HIMSS, in addition to the education sessions and special events, there will be innovation and startup-related content aplenty on the exhibit floor.

At the Innovation Live area you can see Debut Square, where healthcare products and services launching in the next year are previewed, NursePitch, a pre-seed and series A pitch competition conducted in partnership with the American Nurses Association, the HIMSS Winner Circle, which will play host to winners of various contests across the enterprise at HIMSS, and the Developer Lab, where developer experts will offer hands-on workshops, tech talks and networking.


Some startups will be participating in MarketConnect, a Health 2.0 event that convenes startups and potential customers in one-on-one meetings.

“At its simplest point, MarketConnect is just a strategic matchmaking program where we’re connecting tech innovators and tech companies like yourselves with hospital executives, and they tend to be C-suite executives within these hospitals, that are looking to technology to solve their most pressing needs,” Health 2.0 Sales Associate Patrick Ryan explained on a recent webinar.

Over 70 hospitals will take 20-minute meetings on Tuesday and Thursday. Most of those meetings are booked already, but you can contact Pat at patrick@health2con.com to learn more about future iterations of the event.

HIMSS19 Preview

An inside look at the innovation, education, technology, networking and key events at the HIMSS19 global conference in Orlando.


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