ViVE and HIMSS – Apples to Apples? Apples to Oranges?

Buzz on “X” On These Two Back-to-Back Meetings Is An Invitation to Rally Health Industry Priorities

In the days immediately preceding HIMSS, exchanges on “X” (AKA Twitter) – some expected and others surprising – popped up:  “Why does HIMSS need to schedule its meeting so close to ViVE?”  Some even opined that the timing was a nuisance.  Others thought one was better, but comments were based on attending only one of the two gatherings.

But what would I do if I could only attend one and not the other?  Sorry, you’ll have to crystal ball that answer. 

I’m dedicated to health innovation that can improve people’s health.  I recognize that the fragmented health ecosystem creates a self-inflicted system-wide chaos that diminishes the provider’s ability to help people seeking healing. It results in patients having to re-tell their medical narrative again and again to each health provider they engage.  It leads people needing preventive or follow-on care to fall through system cracks.  It means that people most at risk due to enduring and unjust health disparities are left to wither.  That injustice pains and angers me.

The Business of Industry Conferences

Who doesn’t have FOMO – the fear of missing out – as we see the explosion of selfies on LinkedIn, X, Thread and Instagram of industry friends and colleagues and realize we’re not among Nick Adkins’ #Pinksocks or Swaay Health group photo glam? It’s like being invited to a hot party, not showing up, only to hear later that it was “incredible” and how we missed out. That’s life. Even Bruce Wayne and Batman can’t be in the same place simultaneously.

Industry gatherings – conferences, summits, and meet-ups – are revenue-generating businesses, from selling lanyards to exhibit costs to sponsoring satellite sessions.  To accommodate attendees, the companies that organize these mammoth events need to drive efficiency to reach profitability.  They need to inform and entertain. Don’t begrudge them the right to make money – sustainable gatherings lead to enduring communities.  We all benefit from the consistent, collaborative exchange.

Logistics are Often Planned Years in Advance

These meetings are geo-positioned corresponding to audience size, and space is secured many years and years in advance.  HIMSS is a 36,000-person gathering.  In the United States, only three venues can likely accommodate that meeting size: Orlando, Chicago, and Las Vegas.  ViVE has almost 8,000 attendees, more location flexibility, and wisely, it is heading back to Nashville – the nation’s capital of health provider services.  As businesses, their timing depends on the competitive strategy to attract sponsors, speakers and attendees. Retaining attendees annually creates a powerful magnet to draw in others – friends of friends.

ViVE, only three years old, is a hit. The blend of major sessions held within the exhibit hall, evening social events, and size speak to people’s need to connect with thought leaders and find a place within the CHIME/ViVE community.

Competitive or Different Missions 

Our mindsets are too often structured to pit one against the other.  Don’t go there. These two health industry gatherings are very different in rationale, structure, duration of time, and desired outcome. I don’t favor one over the other and schedule for both.  Imagine if we started to choose among ATA, HIMSS, SXSW, and ViVE.  

It’s an interesting polemic – especially if you only have the budget to attend one or two of these gatherings.  If budget and time demand, I recommend picking two to three and investing your time in cementing a network of advisors, mentors, and community.  [NOTE: I tend to center my meeting schedule around CNS Summit, HIMSS, HITLAB, HLTH, and ViVE – though I attend others such as the Digital Health & AI Innovation Summit.]

Keep in mind the top speakers rotate among all these gatherings. It is their responsibility as institutional thought leaders to share their wisdom.  So, we must listen to and learn from leaders such as Rasu Shrestha, MD, Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D., or Tom Lawry, who are likely to attend or speak at many of these gatherings.  However, the attendees and the call-to-action required determine their message flow and should set your scheduling priorities.  

ViVE draws me in due to its intimacy and community.  Like CNS Summit (Collaborate for Novel Solutions), ViVe is “right-sized” to rub shoulders with key colleagues, move swiftly from session to session, and have an exhibit floor that doesn’t require cutting through the jungle.  It is a magnet for like-minded digital health grass-tops leaders who want to check in and connect about how the system can better align workflow processes.  Clear process results in better (health-system) performance.

Photo Credit: Author – ViVE attracts thought leaders across the health ecosystem. Here (L) Katherine Saunders, MD co-founder of Intellihealth, and John Whyte, MD, chief medical officer, WebMD, discuss the priorities and policies around obesity management and the newer therapies available.

Digital health in itself is misunderstood.  Apps and wearables are the tip of the information iceberg.  It is about digitizing the health system overall and connecting the provider system to the consumer – seamless care.  That remains an enormous undertaking for an industry sector that still clings to the old ways, like a three-year-old to a beloved teddy bear, despite being told to abandon its treasured fax machines.  Digital encompasses how we will deploy AI, ChatGPT and GenAI to improve workflow.  It demands that we position health equity as the core priority of these efforts.  It considers how we can connect consumers to their providers confidently and well within HIPAA parameters.

I like ViVE for many reasons – mainly because I can enter into conversations with people seasoned enough to influence corporate strategy or at least inspire each other and are eager to learn and hear from others who care equally about the patient experience.  I think ViVE enables attendees to revisit critical elements of the health system that determine business success. Don’t ever underestimate reflection. The CHIME/ViVE connection offers added value and brings a strong community mindset.

HIMSS is the Davos of Health Information

HIMSS is a 70-year-old society with 125,000 members worldwide.  Since 1962, it has held an annual global meeting, part of a bigger effort to serve patients by democratizing information with best-practice standards.

“HIMSS is where big ideas are discussed, innovation is created, and professionals make the connections that will change the future of healthcare. From the engineers and developers building new solutions to the technology leaders guiding health systems through major challenges like the ethical use of AI and cybersecurity, HIMSS conferences are a meeting of the minds that will create tomorrow’s health,” said Christine Buck, HIMSS chief marketing officer.

Yet, the HIMSS conference is much more than scale – 36,000 people focused on health information. It’s about where these attendees come from and their determination to shape health access and delivery standards.  They hail from 70 countries, and their titles range from Health Minister of Korea to call center manager from South Dakota.  They’re wearing US Armed Forces non-commissioned officer to bird colonel military ranks or t-shirts and jeans from the top dogs at global giants like CISCO, EPIC and Microsoft to health tech start-ups.

“My favorite part? The authentic, genuine, and casual nature of interactions with other humans in the health industry who are navigating the mutual hallways of mixed indifference and passion — the marketing formality gives way to our better nature of connection and collaboration,” says Matt Cybulsky Ph.D., host of edgy The Digital Health Roundtable.

HIMSS is a moving city, and expect to cover your step goal during its five-day 8 AM to 6 PM schedule, including hundreds of sessions curated, tracked, and peer-reviewed by HIMSS-member volunteers.  Along with a bolus of professional development, there are key NGO moments where government leaders announce new international health information management agreements. HIMSS is a society that encompasses best-practice solutions, professional development and public policy.

Photo Credit: HIMSS – Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS, and Geun Chan Lim, CEO of Korea Health Information Service, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) cementing a three-year relationship between HIMSS and the Republic of Korea for Electronic Medical Record adoption.

For example, during the meeting, Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS, and Geun Chan Lim, CEO of Korea Health Information Service, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) cementing a three-year relationship between HIMSS and the Republic of Korea for Electronic Medical Record adoption in hospitals throughout the country.  HIMSS transcends the definition of a meeting; it’s a professional society that works across industries and countries.

“HIMSS conferences and events provide our membership – and all our attendees – with unrivaled access to best-in-class thought leaders, educational programming, and groundbreaking speakers. HIMSS24 helped drive awareness of pressing health equity issues and social determinants of health while also creating a space for everyone from CIOs to nurses to build connections and collaborate,” adds Buck.

Apples or Oranges?

The idiom comparing two dissimilar objects was originally apples to oysters.  Things change over time. Originator John Ray penned his thoughts in a collection of sayings in 1670.  It wasn’t a competition between two fruits but a reminder that they’re different, so don’t compare. 

I was at ViVE.  I was at HIMSS. I value lessons learned – albeit different – from both.  Apples and oranges.  I like them both.

Photo Credit: Gregg Masters, MPH – Gil Bashe at HIMSS


Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Health advocate connecting the dots to transform biopharma, digital health and healthcare innovation | Managing Partner, Chair Global Health FINN Partners | MM&M Top 50 Health Influencer | Top 10 Innovation Catalyst. Gil is Medika Life editor-in-chief and an author for the platform’s EcoHealth and Health Opinion and Policy sections. Gil also hosts the HealthcareNOW Radio show Healthunabashed, writes for Health Tech World, and is a member of the BeingWell team on Medium.


Editor in Chief, Medika Life

Meet the Medika Life editor-in-chief, working closely with founding editors Robert Turner and Jeff Livingston, MD.

Not your usual health-industry executive, Gil Bashe has had a unique career shaped by more than three decades in health policy, pharma, life science, digital health, eco-health, environmental innovation and venture capital and informed his determination to ‘give back.’

A champion for health innovation that sustains people’s lives and improves their care, Gil honed his perspectives on both battlefield and boardroom. He started in health as a combat medic in an elite military unit. He went on to serve as a clergyman tending to the ill; as a health products industry lobbyist in environmental affairs; as CEO of one of the world’s largest integrated health marketing companies; as a principal in a private equity-backed venture; as a Medika Life author and Health Tech World correspondent; and as Chair Global Health and Purpose at FINN Partners, a community of purpose dedicated to making a difference.

In the forefront of change, Gil is ranked as a Top 10 Digital Health Influencer; Medical Marketing & Media Top 10 Innovation Catalyst; Medika Life named him a “Top 50 Global Healthcare Influencer,” and PM360 presented him with its “Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award.” He is a board member for digital health companies and is an advisor to the CNS Summit, Galien Foundation, Let’s Win for Pancreatic Cancer, Marfan Foundation and other health-centered organizations.





All articles, information and publications featured by the author on thees pages remain the property of the author. Creative Commons does not apply and should you wish to syndicate, copy or reproduce, in part or in full, any of the content from this author, please contact Medika directly.