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BLOGS/TECHNOLOGY: HIMSS staying in the 20th century

Today is the first day of the annual HIMSS conference. I should be there, as it’s the main meeting and greeting place for all health care IT. In the past I’ve been there because my company (either a consulting firm or an IT vendor) paid my way. More recently if I’m not going in a paid capacity to work for a client, I’ve been going to conferences as a combined blogger and editor of Fiercehealthcare. Several conferences have let me in wearing that hat as a Press person. And if I’m not being paid to be there, and I’m reporting on the conference on my blog (as I did with this one on HIT in San Francisco) I don’t see why I can’t get a Press Credential.

But that’s not good enough for HIMSS. They told me that they’d never had a blogger request before, and that as I wasn’t a full-time employee of a mainstream media publication, I couldn’t get a press pass. Well actually they said they would consider it and get back to me, but of course they never did. Apparently they wanted people who would be independent. I did point out that as a solo blogger not working for anyone at all I was a damn site more independent that a typical trade press journalist. But perhaps independence is not what they really want…

The amusing thing is that the people dealing with this were not HIMSS themselves, but their PR company. How having me write a pissy post like this rather than blogging live from the conference for 4 days improves the show’s PR is beyond me. But apparently that’s what they wanted.

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. . .but then every TDH could create a blog and claim to be a member of the press. I understand your frustration but I also appreciate the position that HIMSS (or at least their PR company) feels they have to take. I’m not sure how I would structure the rules if I was in that position. I would probably develop a list of approved press organizations ahead of time.
HISTalk used reports from the floor by “plain old attendees” for MUSE.