HIMSS pushes back 2021 conference to August

Seema Verma
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society officials are planning a press conference Friday to offer more details about the HIMSS21 conference. (YouTube)

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has pushed back its five-day annual conference to Aug. 9 in Las Vegas next year.

The 2021 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition had been slated for March 1-5. Information on the HIMSS conference website indicates that HIMSS21 is now scheduled for Aug. 9-12.

A spokeswoman for HIMSS confirmed that new dates had been announced but would not confirm the exact dates.

HIStalk reported Wednesday that a reader forwarded an email HIMSS reportedly sent to exhibitors confirming a new HIMSS21 date of Aug. 9-13.

HIMSS officials are planning a press conference Friday to offer more details about the HIMSS21 conference.

HIMSS canceled its 2020 global health conference in March just days before it was slated to start due to concerns about COVID-19.

At the time, HIMSS organizers said the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak. "The fast-evolving circumstances, which were outside of anyone’s control, made it clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together," the organization said in a statement.

RELATED: HIMSS20 organizers step up on-site preparedness for coronavirus as major exhibitors back out

HIMSS organizers took a lot of heat on social media and from attendees for planning to go ahead with the conference under the shadow of pandemic fears. Others were frustrated that HIMSS canceled the conference so late.

After canceling the 2020 event, HIMSS originally announced no refunds, which drew a lot of ire from exhibitors and registrants. Attendees and exhibitors complained about a lack of communication from HIMSS organizers and a lack of available refund options.

HIMSS then adjusted its policy and announced April 8 that it would provide partial credits for the HIMSS21 and HIMSS22 events.

The organization shifted some of the in-person conference content to a digital conference and made sessions available online.

In May, 21 health IT companies that planned to exhibit at HIMSS20 sent HIMSS CEO Harold Wolf a letter expressing anger at how it handled the situation and requested a 100% refund of exhibitor fees, according to reporting from SearchHealthIT.