Are Live Lab Industry Conferences Returning?

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For several months, many of you have used conversations and email to encourage us to conduct a live Executive War College before the end of 2021. It was because of this support that we arranged a hotel in a state that has supported a return to more normal activities. Thus, our conference will take place on Nov. 2-3, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas, at the Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel. 

Meanwhile, some major healthcare conferences are showing the way forward. The large HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society) held its annual meeting in Las Vegas last month as a live event. Attendance was down from pre-pandemic levels and several lab vendors reported that, although traffic at their exhibits was down, attendees felt safe and business was being conducted that justified their participation at the HIMSS conference. 

For the lab profession, the next major annual conference to happen as a live event will be put on by the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC). It will be in Atlanta on Sept. 26-30. Because such a large number of attendees come from overseas, AACC has the challenge of establishing COVID-19 protocols that will meet the standards of different countries. For that reason, its website describes its “COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan” as requiring all participants to be vaccinated, “to have received a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving at the convention center,” and “to wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times they are indoors.” 

In planning our 27th annual Executive War College, we are consulting with travel industry experts and our COVID-19 health and safety policy will follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Details of the policy will be announced shortly. Several factors are shaping our thinking about this policy. First is the fact that CDC data shows 174 million Americans are fully-vaccinated and 38 million have been infected and have some level of antibodies. This means that a large proportion of our participants will be vaccinated. 

Second is the remarkable fact that 100% of our registered participants, sponsor representatives, and speakers have committed to come to San Antonio and are comfortable attending a live conference. They will be amply rewarded with compelling speakers and the usual high-level of networking. 

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