HIMSS Cements Deal with Cleveland Caused-Based Nonprofit Set To Boost City’s Healthcare Profile


Cleveland, OH – Cleveland’s bid to beef up its profile in the healthcare sector paid off in spades when Chicago-based not-for-profit Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) signed on to lease 25,000 square feet of space at Cleveland’s new Global Center for Health Innovation (formerly Cleveland Medical Mart) adjacent to the new Cleveland Convention Center. The $465 million complex is set to open later this year.

HIMSS, which represents more than 52,000 individual members who primarily work for healthcare-related employers, plans to use half the space for the group’s own Innovation Center and the other half as exhibition space. HIMSS expects to lease an additional 12,500 square feet of exhibition space at the GCHI by 2016.

The HIMSS Innovation Center will be used as a testing, demonstration, exhibition and educational facility. It will provide services for health delivery organizations and health IT companies at a site connected to the new 1 million-square-foot Cleveland Convention Center. It is the first such facility designed for the healthcare industry and will be managed by Chicago-based Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI).

Jim Bennett, CEO of MMPI, told Trade Show Executive that the presence of HIMSS will extend the center’s mission of making a difference in healthcare quality. “It brings great credibility to (the center),” Bennett said. “Interoperability and gains from technology are keys to the kingdom of making healthcare better and HIMSS is at the center of that,” he added.

Carla Smith, executive vice president of HIMSS, said the organization has been working on interoperability for more than a decade in an effort to enable health information to flow seamlessly between vendors without losing the message. “For us to achieve the goal to transform healthcare with technology, we needed a permanent place to convene and connect virtually,” she told Trade Show Executive. Having a presence in the Global Center in Cleveland unites HIMSS in the same facility with the Cleveland Clinic, GE Healthcare, Johnson Controls, University Hospitals and Philips Healthcare.

HIMSS plans to feature “rolling exhibits” focused on themes attractive to attendees of the various health-related groups that schedule meetings and conventions in Cleveland. The group’s exhibition space also will be available to other Global Center tenants and event organizers using the convention center as well as for HIMSS’ own projects, Smith said.

Landing HIMSS at the Global Center for Health Innovation already has had a ripple effect in the meetings and convention sector, Bennett said. The regional HIMSS meeting will be held there in June and Bennett said MMPI expects 70 companies to be participating in themed exhibits at the Global Center within the next two years. Many of those have both IT and medical device interests. At least 10 companies told MMPI executives that signing HIMSS made a difference in their interest in their participation in the new endeavor. “Our phone started ringing already about additional meetings because of this announcement,” Bennett said.

Smith agreed that other regional chapters and members are likely to consider Cleveland for meetings because of the new space. “Cleveland stands head and shoulders above other cities for a health-related physical presence,” she said. And HIMSS itself plans an ambitious educational meeting schedule, with some of those meetings likely to take place at the adjoining convention center.

A partnership with Cisco Systems’ will enable live and virtual events using telepresence throughout the complex and will connect to local health institutions like Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University, Bennett said.

Smith said HIMSS has hosted 50,000 healthcare professionals at live events, 60,000 at distance events, and 55,000 who interacted with HIMSS in other ways over the past two years. “We’ve been using telepresence and it’s a major way we’ll be using the space in Cleveland,” she said.

Similar projects once planned for New York and Nashville with private financing have since been cancelled. The Cleveland Convention Center complex is publicly financed. In addition to the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, 12 of the largest medical device makers in the U.S. and roughly 400 bioscience companies are based in the Midwestern region.

“We’re re-entering the convention business after being out of it for major conventions for about 25 years,” Bennett said. He acknowledged that it takes time to book medical associations, but said he expects Cleveland to be among the Top 10 destinations for healthcare meetings in the not-too-distant future.

Reach Jim Bennett at (216) 920-1445 or jbennett@mmart.com; Carla Smith at (734) 477-0860 or csmith@himss.org