Attending an EHR conference is a great stepping stone to gaining knowledge and expanding your professional network. EHR conferences provide the greatest benefits when you come prepared with questions, a well-thought-out agenda, and a thirst for coffee and networking.
So how do you get the most out of your EHR conference? Here’s a valuable guide that will help you and your colleagues make your EHR conference a productive experience.
Before the Conference: Brainstorm & Prepare
Get into the pre-conference mentality. It’s important to be open-minded, well-rested, and prepared with goals before attending your meeting.
- Research exhibiting EHR vendors and make a list of those you want to visit
- Create a list of questions, notes, and/or concerns you have for each of the EHR vendors you plan to visit
- Review the conference program to see which social events and educational sessions you would like to participate in
- Prepare a schedule of EHR vendors, events, and sessions you plan to attend
During the Conference: Educate & Explore
Turn your scheduled items into action.
- Visit the exhibit hall and watch demonstrations.
This is a chance interact with the EHR vendors on your list and explore new possibilities along the way. Meet with different sales representatives and ask all the questions you have prepared. Schedule demonstrations and test EHR products so you will get first-hand experience—and be sure to follow up on anything you’re uncertain about.
- Attend informational sessions and educate yourself.
Make sure you attend presentations that will provide you information in areas where you want to learn more. Take notes, participate, and ask questions.
- Network and socialize.
Meeting people, making contacts, and interacting and sharing ideas are some of the most important reasons to attend a conference. Establish connections and make sure to exchange business cards—you never know which initial introductions will lead to long-term relationships. Attend events like golf outings, coffee breaks, or evening dinner events. Not only are these opportunities great ways to network, they also let you take a breather from your busy schedule, unwind, and have a little fun.
- Research what other physicians and administrators are saying.
Ask your colleagues about the pros and cons of their EHR systems so you will receive an unbiased perspective. Leverage this opportunity—word of mouth is a powerful reference source—especially since your peers have had personal and direct experience.
After the Conference: Review & Follow-Up
As you unpack your suitcase, remember everything you’ve learned and everyone you’ve met.
- Evaluate your experience while the conference is fresh in your mind. In addition, conferences typically offer a survey: fill one out—your opinion counts!
- Follow up with new contacts. Send e-mails and share how much you enjoyed your conversations, or discuss potential business. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook so you can keep in contact.
- Contact the EHR vendors that are still of interest to you. Discuss and schedule on-site visits and/or demonstrations. Review their references and reach out to your new contacts to ask for their opinions.