HIMSS 2024: Where Healthcare and Business Meet

Sparks Marketing
Himss hero

When the pandemic shut down live events, HIMSS was just weeks away from holding their annual gathering of Healthcare Information Management professionals from around the world. So close, in fact, that they had no other option than to cancel the 2020 event entirely leaving no time to pivot to virtual. The road back was initially a struggle, but a quick scan of this year’s event confirms that HIMSS is back in a big way.

As over 35,000 attendees packed into the Orange County Convention Center, we were happy to be among them and observe once again what a unique and compelling event HIMSS truly is—for attendees and for the 11,000+ healthcare technology companies that packed the entirety of Hall D. The model for exhibiting successfully at HIMSS is different from most of the events in the healthcare space. But this isn’t really a surprise, because HIMSS lives on the border of healthcare, technology, and business.

For clients looking to build a relevant and meaningful experience for this audience, it’s critical to understand the currency of engagements on the floor at HIMSS. That currency is meetings, presentations, and demos.

HIMSS Meeting Rooms

HIMSS is Driven by Meetings

From its inception, HIMSS has developed a value proposition built upon actively connecting buyers and suppliers. The show organizers don’t leave this to chance, in fact a large portion of the show floor is dedicated to nothing but meetings. HIMSS makes direct connections between attendees with buying power and solution suppliers through their Hosted Buyer Program that delivers free airfare and hotel for buyers who agree to a series of short meetings with suppliers in the dedicated Hosted Buyers Connection Zone. And they offer a huge suite of meeting rooms for purchase (some of them branded) in “The Meeting Place”. All of this has built a culture of meetings and doing real business on the floor that has influenced the nature of exhibit and engagement design. A large number of “booths” on the floor are actually nothing more than beautifully designed and branded meeting rooms that exclusively host pre-arranged meetings. And almost all of the larger exhibits on the floor include at least some private meeting rooms. So, the normal design imperatives of attracting attendees, driving traffic to the booth, encouraging lingering, etc., simply do not apply in many cases.

HIMSS Presentations

It’s About Presentation(s)

Huge, flashy digital displays. Interactive and immersive experiences. High-end, café style hospitality. These trends have taken over show floors over the past several years, often in lieu of traditional theater presentations. Not so at HIMSS. Presentation theaters are alive and well here and often occupy prime real estate on the hot corner with eager attendees spilling out into the aisles. A quick walk of the floor quickly demonstrated the value of expert-led presentations for those brands who were looking to draw a crowd—a one-to-many meeting of a different kind.

HIMSS Technology Demos

A World of Demos

It is a technology meeting after all, so the product demo plays a huge role in the design of the space and of the attendee journey at HIMSS. Booths were filled with traditional demo stations where one-to-one conversations were happening on the floor. Successful design of these spaces really focused on matching the solution to the attendee need by “zoning” the demos making navigation easy. Looking to better understand how AI can streamline insurance claims processing or inform more accurate treatment protocols? Intuitive spacial design informed by content is critical to creating a simple and effective journey.



Our key takeaway from HIMSS 2024 is that success for brands really hinges upon an understanding of the unique nature of the HIMSS experience. Attendees here arrive ready to meet and to conduct business. So, a laser-focus on your objectives and on how you plan to engage with attendees on the floor is critical. In some cases, it might mean throwing out most of what you think about the nature of exhibit design (maybe all you need is meeting rooms). But the value of the opportunity is clear: it’s not about leads, it’s about meetings. And meetings mean business.