The Most Refreshing, Innovative, and Engaging Experiences from HIMSS 2017

Looking back at the very best in experience design from the HIMSS 2017 healthcare IT conference.

HIMSS 2017, the largest and most important annual healthcare IT conference, came to a wrap just a couple short weeks ago. Let’s take a look back at this year’s top trends as seen from the show floor—all the exhibit booths and experiences that had us wanting more!


Reference the SlideShare as you read through the trends below!

Trending in Design

One of the most refreshing trends this year was the rise of the “living” booth, with vendors incorporating plants, light, and water into their activations—bringing the beauty of the outdoors to the convention floor.

From what we saw, these booths:

  • Enticed attencradees with a calming presence
  • Had a fresh, clean, and modern feel
  • Expanded on traditional wall and seating formats for increased visibility
  • Promoted brand identity by implying the vendor is environmentally conscious

Mobile optimization. Social media integration. Cloud-based storage. Constant connectivity isn’t an industry buzz word anymore—it’s business as usual. With this in mind, a lot of this year’s vendors were visualizing their commitment to connectivity via booth graphics. Animations and illustrations with a tech feel were popular, as were the more consumer friendly, connect-the-dot type infographic.

Most Innovative Use of Space

The sky was the limit for vendors who wanted to maximize their impact by building upwards. By owing the substantial space between the booth floor and the convention hall ceiling, high-minded vendors could:

  • Increase visibility by creating activations that were seen from across the entire show floor
  • Maintain an overall smaller booth footprint—allowing for more creative structures within activations—thereby attracting additional attention from passersby

One of the more innovative trends we saw was increased utilization of double decker activations. Instead of just hosting signage or small meeting areas, our favorite two story booths:

  • Used top tier areas for multiple functions. We saw everything from a small studio space for media interviews, to quiet spots for phone calls. One even had a second story coffee bar, letting convention goers reenergize with caffeine and a view!
  • A larger-than-life recreation of a popular game show challenge—with great prizes for the winners.
  • An in-convention kitchen that gave off an authentic home-y vibe. Featuring fresh baked treats and delicious aromas that wafted for aisles—this booth attracted all kinds of hungry visitors.
  • A chalk timeline showcasing one brand’s history—done in real time by a talented artist. Increasing the interactivity, passersby were invited to add a Post-it to the wall, explaining how and when they first connected with the company.
  • Capitalized on a social media moment. These spots present a great photo opp for visitors to grab the obligatory “having a great time at #HiMSS” picture—often with the vendor’s branding nicely framed in the shot.

Effective Audience Engagement

What’s the ONE thing all HiMSS goers have in common? They’re going to get tired at some point.

A lot of this year’s vendors capitalized on this universal truth by reimagining their seating set-ups. The traditional theater arrangement—with several rows of chairs all lined up and facing forward—was on the decline. Instead, a more casual, lounge style set-up ruled the day.

From what we could tell, this made attendees feel comfortable taking a short break in the booths, which allows for organic connections to be made by sales teams.

Other vendors chose to entice visitors with truly unique designs, and interactive experiences that were hard to ignore. Some of our favorites included…

Hitting All the Marks

We were particularly impressed by Salesforce’s booth for the way it managed to incorporate many of this year’s hottest trends into a single experience:

  • Outdoor theme for the “living booth” feel
  • Interactive activations
  • Inviting seating areas for breaks—and, if guests were so inclined, presentations—creating opportunities for for casual audience engagement
  • Utilizing height by drawing eyes upwards to their branded “horizon”

The Salesforce team gets bonus points for their close attention to detail. Every aspect of the set-up was designed to provide a completely immersive experience, taking attendees off the show floor and into the great outdoors, with the Salesforce team acting as their guide.

Kudos to athenahealth for maximizing their massive booth space to create big takes on this year’s most sought-after booth experiences.

  • Living walls defined spaces, added color, and gave off a fresh feeling
  • Lounge style seating for causal connections with sales staff
  • Interactive installations to draw in audiences and keep them engaged once in the booth
  • A second story break area with a great view of the entire convention center floor
  • Double height activations for unparalleled visibility across all of HIMSS

Want to make the trending list next year? Let's achieve more at HIMSS 2018.

Mary Poluikis

Sr. Director, Business Solutions

Request as Speaker

Tripp Underwood

Senior Writer

Additional contributions by Tim Owens and Carolyn Cross

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