Blog: Keynote speeches and karaoke - It's healthcare conference time in Chicago

Even with a presidential election coming up and healthcare budgets being threatened by the sequestration-driven cuts mandated by one law and the sustainable growth-rate formula cuts mandated by another, the big question on everyone's mind at the four healthcare conferences filling the convention halls of Chicago just might be, "Who's having the most fun?"

The American Health Information Management Association and the American College of Surgeons have taken over separate halves of the McCormick Place Convention Center; folks at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo are taking in Lake Michigan breezes at Navy Pier; and the American Urogynecologic Society is meeting in between at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue.

Along with exhibit-hall receptions, the facilities symposium is hosting a mixer at the Merchandise Mart and offering a riverboat architecture tour as well as field trips to the North Park University School of Nursing simulation center and Chicago's newest healthcare facilities: the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital and Rush University Medical Center's new 14-story tower.

The AUGS will host exhibit-hall receptions as well as an "AUGSome" Friday night party and foundation fundraiser at the Art Institute of Chicago. The event will be capped by the AUGS Karaoke Challenge, an event I'm sure you won't want to miss.

Only AHIMA could feature an ICD-10 Refreshment Bar in its exhibit hall. But the fun doesn't stop there. Five universities are holding alumni events, and a "1920s speakeasy" party was set for the Excalibur nightclub (for you old-timers, that's the former Limelight).

The surgeons offer the most extensive events program—a program perhaps second only to the social calendar offered at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting.

The calendar featured an architecture cruise, the House of Blues Gospel Brunch, live theater productions, trips to Bloomingdale's, a progressive ethnic dinner featuring Italian, Greek and German food, and a jazz and blues program.

Yes, that's a lot to do, but some may note that the RSNA offers much, much more (PDF). The surgeons, however, offered their guests a chance to view history: the Oct. 1 game between two of the worst teams in baseball, the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, at Wrigley Field.

That night, while the Chicago White Sox were losing their chance for the American League Central Division championship, the surgeons and their guests were able to witness the Cubs losing their 100th game—something even the Cubs hadn't done since 1966.

Top that, RSNA. Until then, wait 'til next year!

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks.



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