BREAKING NEWS: HIMSS20 Cancelled: HIMSS Takes Unprecedented Step to Cancel Its Annual Conference, in the Wake of Spreading Coronavirus

March 5, 2020
HIMSS, the healthcare IT industry’s nationwide association, took the unprecedented step on Thursday of cancelling HIMSS20, its annual conference, in the wake of the growing spread of the coronavirus

The Chicago-based HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) took the unprecedented step on Thursday, March 5, of cancelling its annual conference for the first time in its history, citing World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warnings around the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Below, in its entirety, is the announcement that HIMSS posted to its website at about 12:30 PM eastern time on Thursday:

“ORLANDO, Fla., March 5, 2020 – Today, following recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIMSS announced it is clearly necessary to cancel the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition. ‘We recognize all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference,’ said Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS. ‘Based on evaluation of evolving circumstances and coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making, it is clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.’”

The announcement went on to say that “The advisory panel recognized that industry understanding of the potential reach of the virus has changed significantly in the last 24 hours, which has made it impossible to accurately assess risk. Additionally, there are concerns about disproportionate risk to the healthcare system given the unique medical profile of Global Conference attendees and the consequences of potentially displacing healthcare workers during a critical time, as well as stressing the local health systems were there to be an adverse event.”

The announcement continued, “This will be the first time in 58 years the event has been cancelled, but it is now clear that cancellation is unavoidable in order to meet HIMSS’ obligation to protect the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees and local residents, as well as for the healthcare providers tasked with keeping our U.S. and global communities healthy. HIMSS20 exhibitors and attendees will be contacted with further information regarding booth contracts and registrations. Please contact [email protected] for immediate booth concerns. Any further updates regarding HIMSS20 will be published on himssconference.org. Please see the HIMSS20 Cancellation FAQ page for more information.”

This is a developing story. Healthcare Innovation will provide readers with further updates as more information emerges.

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