Bahrain selected as site of inaugural MidEast healthcare IT conference


Healthcare information technology (IT) executives will gather in Bahrain from May 5 – 7, 2009 for the first Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Middle East Conference.

HIMSS is the healthcare industry’s membership organization dedicated to providing global leadership for the optimal use of healthcare IT and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. It represents more than 20,000 individual members and over 300 corporate members that collectively represent organizations employing millions of people. Headquartered in Chicago, HIMSS was founded in 1961 with offices in Washington DC, Brussels, and other locations across the United States and Europe.

According to Cathy Ryan, CMP (Certified Meeting Professional), senior manager – Meeting Services at HIMSS, the assistance they received from Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority (BECA) and the local authorities, in terms of supporting and promoting the conference, encouraged them to select Bahrain as the site for HIMSS’ inaugural conference in the Middle East.

“We are very excited to bring this event to your beautiful country,” said Ms. Ryan. “We are currently working with Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority, the Economic Development Board, and the Ministry of Health on this meeting.”

HIMSS is looking to book 150 hotel rooms on the peak night of the five-day conference. Its inaugural event in the Middle East will generate revenues of approximately BD 105,000 (US$279,278) for Bahrain attributed to hotel, taxis, food, and retail shopping. This excludes air fare and venue revenue.

HIMSS’ enquiry came through the Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority (BECA), which arranged the site visit of Ms. Ryan and Steve Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO to Bahrain in June 2008.

In addition to meeting with BECA acting CEO Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, Ms. Ryan and Mr. Lieber inspected the facilities and met with representatives of Crowne-Plaza Hotel, Diplomat Radisson SAS, Gulf Hotel Bahrain, Gulf Convention Centre, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, Regency Inter-Continental, and Sheraton Hotel. They also met with officials from Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Health.

HIMSS frames and leads healthcare public policy and industry practices through its advocacy, educational, and professional development initiatives designed to promote information and management systems contributions to ensuring quality patient care.

“We are absolutely delighted with the news and look forward to meeting with Ms. Ryan and Mr. Lieber for a planning meeting in Bahrain in October,” said Ms. Stanford-Kristiansen.

Formed by a Royal Decree in 2006, Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority (BECA) has begun engaging in the bid process for congresses organized by international associations with an eye to diversifying revenue streams.

The Authority is the country’s flagship organization dedicated to delivering quality, business-to-business events aimed at promoting Bahrain as the preferred business tourism destination in the region. It functions under the directive of its board of directors with H.E. Dr. Hassan A. Fakhro, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, as chairman of the board. As well as
maintaining a strategic partnership with key industry stakeholders such as Tourism Affairs, the Bahrain International Circuit, the Economic Development Board, Gulf Air, and the hospitality sector, Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority (BECA) manages and operates the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre (BIEC).

For further information about the conference, please contact Ms. Ryan by e-mail at .