UPDATE: HIMSS20 Will be a Handshake Free Meeting

As of 3/2/2020 – The HIMSS20 conference in Orlando is still a go. HIMSS is reporting continued monitoring of the situation but has NOT canceled any parts of the conference.

Although shaking hands is like second nature, think twice before you extend your hand at HIMSS this year.

A message from HIMSS…

HIMSS is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and continues to provide regular updates. As of February 26, 2020, HIMSS20 is proceeding as scheduled Mar. 9-13, 2020 in Orlando, Fla.  Currently, registration is experiencing an upswing of 7% over HIMSS19 participation. Cancellations remain under .05%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has publicly deemed the health risk of coronavirus for the general American public to be low at this time.

The health, safety and well-being of the community is the highest priority. HIMSS20 will be a handshake free meeting.

Travel to HIMSS20

  • At this time, HIMSS is accommodating cancellations from attendees travelling from countries designated as a Level 3 alert by the CDC. Updates can be found here.
  • Orlando Airport (MCO) is complying with the travel restrictions signed by the U.S. Government on January 31, 2020.
  • HIMSS is providing guidelines and updates to conference attendee hotels on healthy procedures and tips. All guests checking in will receive printed copies of safety measures.

HIMSS20 Preparedness Plan

  • HIMSS has collaborated with a regional hospital system to engage in a preparedness plan, which includes:
    • A direct line to local ER physicians to address on-site questions or concerns and provide ready access to telehealth services.
    • A dedicated health professional from the Florida Department of Health who will be on site throughout the conference, conducting screening for any attendee who may be at risk of infection.
    • Screening procedures established by the CDC will be conducted on site throughout the conference; HIMSS and the Orange County Convention Center will consult health teams at Orlando health organizations when necessary.
    • Should screening reveal an elevated risk for an attendee, the person will be isolated immediately to prevent exposure to conference participants. Further, the Emergency Department teams at Orlando health centers will be consulted to ensure isolation is maintained and risk to conference attendees is proactively managed to ensure the safety of all conference participants.

Onsite Preparedness

  • There will be three medical offices on site at the Orange County Convention Center. One of the medical offices will be dedicated to addressing flu-like symptoms and will be staffed by a trained medical professional who will have direct access to the Florida Department of Health and an epidemiologist.
  • There will be an increased number of hand sanitation sites available in the Orange County Convention Center and surrounding HIMSS20 venues, providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for all attendees and staff.
  • Disposable, disinfectant wipes will be provided so commonly used surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, keyboards, presentation materials, desk surfaces, etc.) can be routinely wiped down by staff.
  • Interested attendees can access medical-grade face masks at any HIMSS20 information booth.
  • Orange County Convention Center has a disinfectant procedure in place for nightly and day cleanings during move-in and throughout conference, which adhere to the CDC and the WHO guidance.

Situation Monitoring

  • HIMSS staff is meeting on a regular basis with key conference stakeholders, including Orange County, the Orange County Convention Center and Florida Public Health agencies to evaluate any risk in the host city. HIMSS is also actively monitoring CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) updates for further information.