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HM09's exhibit hall was abuzz today as representatives from about 200 companies stood poised and ready to greet a steady stream of hospitalists making their way into the hall following this morning's plenary sessions.

The American College of Chest Physicians' (ACCP) booth, for example, was quickly enveloped by hospitalists trying out the society’s robotic patient stimulator. "We use [it] to train physicians at the variety of courses that the college offers," explains Chad Jackson, MS, RRT, CHT, senior manager of clinical skill and simulation education for the ACCP. "This robotic stimulator is very realistic: He breathes, he bleeds, he pees. We can shock him just like you do real patients."

This is Mark Jamieson's fourth SHM annual meeting. The regional vice president of PatientKeeper, an IT company based in Newton, Mass., says the feedback his company receives at annual meetings influences product development. "A lot of times you go to these shows and you talk to administrators and IT people," he says. "This is one of the very few shows where you talk to docs who are doing the work every day."

Jamieson, who expects to talk to more than 200 hospitalists today, says he's witnessed HM's growth firsthand. "Four years ago when we were in Chicago you'd talk to people and they'd say, 'Yea, we're starting a hospital group, there are four of us now and we're looking to get more.' Then you see those same people the next year and they say, 'There are five of us and we want one more.' The next year they'd say, 'There are 12 of us and we want to get to 20.' It's interesting to see this movement, this segment grow."

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