business

HIMSS to anchor new medical trade center

A Tennessee project is among the efforts to create permanent trade show venues for medical equipment and technology.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted June 2, 2010

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The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has signed on as the first anchor tenant for a major medical trade center scheduled to open in Nashville, Tenn., in 2013.

Cole Daugherty, vice president of communications for Market Center Management Co., the Dallas-based market center and trade show management company that is heading up the project, said the organization hoped landing HIMSS would help it sell the project as a major showcase for the health care technology market, including offering a place for physicians to view products and get technology training and education.

HIMSS plans to use the leased space as a permanent home for its Interoperability Showcase, long a staple in the exhibit hall at the organization's annual meetings. The showcase is an interactive demonstration of how patient data can be shared across multiple health care settings. HIMSS also plans to host trade-center-based educational activities and special events at the center, as well as offer continuing education opportunities.

"A permanent, year-round destination for HIT activity and innovation would only be possible inside this groundbreaking marketplace," said H. Steve Lieber, president and CEO of HIMSS, in a prepared statement. "By joining the trade center we are able to reach more participants, demonstrate meaningful use more completely, and offer more flexibility than ever before."

The Nashville Medical Trade Center, which could grow to 1.5 million square feet in downtown Nashville, will also include 150,000 square feet of temporary trade show space and 25,000 square feet of meeting space. Daugherty said while Nashville would love to play host to major medical conventions, it doesn't have enough hotel rooms to accommodate large conventions. The medical trade center is being built inside and atop the city's existing convention center.

Cleveland is hoping that a similar trade show project under way there will net a chunk of the medical trade show business. Chicago-based Merchandise Mart Properties is renovating an existing 300,000-square-foot trade show hall and adding an additional 150,000-square-foot showroom to create a destination for medical supply buyers to connect with vendors.

The Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center, also set to open in 2013, will house permanent showroom space, mainly for those dealing with large-scale medical equipment that is expensive to move from one trade show to another. There will also be a large trade show floor, which the city hopes will be attractive to a large chunk of the hundreds of medical trade shows that rotate through different cities each year, said Mark Falanga, senior vice president of Merchandise Mart Properties.

The project was initially suggested by the Cleveland Clinic, which was looking for a more convenient way to shop for medical supplies and equipment than traveling among vendors. The company hopes that the Cleveland Clinic and the other hospitals and medical centers in the Cleveland area will provide an attractive market for permanent tenants of the medical mart.

Meanwhile, a group in New York is looking at building a similar facility, although it has not bought land nor offered any final plans for construction.

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