An Interesting MGMA Observation

Posted on October 25, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Lately I’ve been traveling to more and more EMR and Healthcare IT related conferences. The past couple days I’ve been enjoying my time at the MGMA conference in Las Vegas (although, I didn’t have to travel to this one since I live in Las Vegas). This is my first time attending the MGMA conference. From what I can tell the attendance and exhibit hall have done very well. In fact, I just asked and they’ve had 3500 conference attendees and a total of 5700 people in Las Vegas for the MGMA conference. They tell me that’s a 19% growth over last year.

What I’ve found most interesting is that unlike many conferences I’ve been at, the sessions at MGMA have been incredibly full. In fact, many of them have been standing room only. This is in contrast to the exhibit floor which has felt rather empty. There are a few short periods that were busy in the exhibit hall, but overall it seems like MGMA attendees prefer to go to the educational session as opposed to being in the exhibit hall.

I asked professional conference attender (otherwise known as Healthcare IT journalist) Neil Versel who blogs at Meaningful Health IT News why this might be the case. He said that maybe those attending MGMA have already made their EHR selection, so they’re more interested in hearing from experts as opposed to browsing products. Of course, he did highlight that it was those that attended had already implemented an EHR since we know that the majority have not yet implemented an EHR.

While I think this could be part of the reason, I wonder if there’s not something more at work. If I’d done better at taking notes during the Marcus Buckingham keynote, I could maybe look at the profiles he found in the MGMA audience to explain it. A part of me wonders how many of the MGMA attendees are decision makers as opposed to operational leaders. I’m sure they’re all over the spectrum, but sessions are likely more interesting for operations and compliance people.

As a first time attendee, I’ve been really impressed with MGMA. They’re well organized and brought together a lot of interesting vendors and attendees.