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Want to talk to us at the HIMSS conference? Here's some advice

Next week is the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s annual conference, and we at SearchHealthIT.com are hoping that unlike last year, we don’t bring any snow from the Northeast with us to the HIMSS 2011 conference.

There’s certainly a lot on the agenda for this year’s HIMSS conference, from health information exchange (HIE) to the accountable care organization (ACO), to a little thing called meaningful use. One of the biggest challenges is deciding what to do and where to go. This is as true for attendees as it is for members of the press, who get inundated with interview requests from advocacy groups, government agencies and above all, vendors.

To date, I have received more than 150 emails with requests for interviews. I responded to no more than 10. My colleagues’ response rates have been similar. If you want to increase your chances of talking to SearchHealthIT.com at the HIMSS conference, here’s some advice.

First and foremost, our mission is to provide objective technical resources for health IT professionals. If you haven’t already, take the time to look at SearchHealthIT.com and our community site, the Health IT Exchange, to see what we cover and how. (To save you the trouble, we’re not that interested in printers or fax machines. But we welcome your feedback on which topics we’re hitting and which we’re missing.)

We will be covering the keynotes at the HIMSS conference, but we don’t really focus on breaking news. We’ll gladly take a copy of your press release, but we’re not going to sit down with you unless we also can speak with someone who is using your product in life-critical situations. If this means we won’t be chatting with you until June, when your product has been “in the wild” for a while, that’s okay; it only means that we’ll be able to report in richer, more comprehensive detail.

Along those lines, in all likelihood we’ll categorically ignore an “opportunity to chat” or a “briefing” with corporate executives unless it is tied directly to a significant announcement or initiative — and given the mission of our site, it should be a technical discussion, not a philosophical one.

In addition, it’s not enough to say just that you are working with HIEs and ACOs, or that you are focusing on meaningful use. These days, everyone is. Tell us what you are doing, why it’s important and ultimately, how you are differentiating your efforts from everyone else’s.

Finally, although we won’t respond to your email or phone call this week — our calendars for the HIMSS conference are full, and any additional briefings will cut into scheduled bathroom breaks — we will gladly talk to you after the show. After all, we will be covering health care IT long after the HIMSS conference is over.

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