The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced today that its global health conference scheduled to take place from March 9-13 in Orlando, Florida has been cancelled. This is the first time in 58 years that an HIMSS conference has been cancelled.
President Donald Trump was scheduled to speak on Monday at the conference and till yesterday, everything was scheduled to go as planned. However, organisers have now confirmed that the conference will not take place among fears of COVID-19 transmission.
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Hal Wolf, President and CEO of HIMSS has said, “We recognise all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference. 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.”
While some may be surprised at this sudden change of heart, the organisers justify their decision on the grounds that the potential reach of the coronavirus has changed significantly within the last 24 hours. Also, the organisers have stated that this is not the time to put healthcare workers at risk and put further pressure on local health systems. HIMSS’ obligation is to ensure the health and safety of the HIMSS global community and hence this decision is in line with this goal and responsibility.
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