Veteran health IT reporter shows how to sift through the whiz-bang at industry conferences

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Photo: Tim Gee via FlickrThe exhibit floor of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference commanded 600,000 square feet of exhibit space.

So your editor wants you to cover health information technology at a conference. Whether it’s a product launch, upgrade or the policy implications of health IT, the prospect can be daunting.

In a new “How I Did It” article, veteran health IT journalist Neil Versel explains how he has covered health IT conferences in the past, including the gigantic HIMSS conference that takes place in Orlando every winter.

Versel’s recommendations including opting out of media lists and having someone back at the office cover the product releases remotely.
Instead, like other important conferences, reporters should spend their limited and valuable time meeting with sources and scheduling interviews with hard-to-reach executives and government bigwigs.

Health reporters with little tech background can break stories and gain confidence by attending health IT conferences. That can lead to better coverage once they are back on the beat at home.

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