Three major health care events vied for the distinction of being the best-attended show of 2012, according to the Healthcare Convention & Exhibition Association’s annual list of the 50 largest meeting meetings, released earlier this summer.
Less than 700 total attendees separated the top three shows in terms of total attendance. The Federation of International Medical Equipment Suppliers(FIME) Show, held in Miami, was No. 1 in attendance last year with 54,147.
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting in Chicago was No. 2 with 53,778 attendees, just 400 less than FIME, and No. 3 was the Greater New York Dental Meeting, held in New York City, with 53,481.
While FIME was first this year, both the RSNA and New York dental meeting had previously held the No. 1 ranking in the last four years.
The three may be neck and neck in total attendance, but FIME was the clear winner with professional attendance—a metric many exhibitors are more interested in. FIME had 49,661 professional attendees compared to RSNA’s 26,154 and the dental meeting’s 36,480.
HCEA Executive Director Frank Skinner pointed out in his “State of the Industry” presentation at the HCEA Annual Meeting in Austin in June that, while total attendance at health care meetings was up slightly to 692,121 in 2012 from 687,752 in 2011, non-professional attendance
was down to 305,548 in 2012 from 309,565 in 2011.
”While there are more professionals going,” Skinner says, “there are fewer exhibit personnel there too.”
“There is a gain, but it’s a small one (in total attendance),” he adds, but also points out that the average professional attendance at the 50 largest health care meetings had shrunk 0.01 percent over the last five years, from 13,986 in 2007 to 13,842 in 2012.
Rounding out the top five on the list were the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference & Exhibition with 36,535 attendees at No. 4 and the Am
erican Dental Association Annual Session with 35,074 at No. 5.
With two dental shows in the top five, it is clear that it is the busiest sector of large health care shows. Seven dental meetings are in the top 50 and six of those are in the top 15.
“You know, there are a lot of dental meetings out there,” says Catherine Mills, director of the Council on American Dental Association (ADA) Sessions.
In fact, she points out, there’s one somewhere in the United States every four days.
Rounding out the top 10 largest medical meetings by total attendance are:
6. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting—32,118
7. American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting—31,250
8. Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting—31,089
9. California Dental Association—Anaheim—28,934
10. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting—28,574
Theis available from HCEA.
In a companion report, HCEA notes that 64 percent of all meetings were held in 20 destinations with the most popular being San Diego, Orlando, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Francisco, respectively.