The 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo features at least 850 exhibitors highlighting the latest in in vitro diagnostics technologies. Before you hit the ground running, Annual Scientific Meeting veterans advise you to pace yourself. “Keep in mind that the Expo is huge. Don’t try to see it all in one day and put time in your schedule to specifically visit the Expo,” David Grenache, PhD, DABCC, chief scientific officer of TriCore Reference Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and chair of the 2018 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee (AMOC), told CLN Stat.

AMOC scientific session coordinator Mark Kellogg, PhD, MT(ASCP), DABCC, FAACC, likens the Expo to a hike. Next to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, it’s his favorite place to explore. “I have two plans of attack for the Expo. Checking the product showcase is my first step to creating my must-see hiking route. But I also block one hour each day for random trail walks through the Expo floor,” said Kellogg, associate director of chemistry at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Department of Laboratory Medicine.

The Expo will take place in the Exhibit Hall of Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 31 and August 1, and from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on August 2. In addition to myriad booths, participants will be able to peruse the product showcase and take in 11 industry workshop theaters, 11 hotel-sponsored workshops and nine lecture series theaters. “I always look forward to seeing new technologies and making connections with current and potential vendor partners,” Grenache said of the Expo’s offerings.

Attendees have multiple options to search the extensive list of exhibitors. You can look through an alphabetized list, which provides the exhibitor name and booth number, or search by subject matter category, the exhibitor’s country of origin, or use specific keywords to search for an exhibitor. There’s also a special option to search by exhibitor name only. Attendees can create a list of exhibitor “favorites” they’d like to see at the Expo.

One feature attendees should take advantage of is the AACC meeting mobile app. “It has a section for just the Expo that you can use to find exhibitors, add the ones you want to see to your favorites list, make notes, and even get directions from your current location on the Expo floor,” Grenache said. The mobile app is available from both the Apple Store and Google Play (search 2018 AACC).

Specifically, the app enables attendees to:  

  • Stay organized with up-to-the-minute exhibitor, speaker, and event information;
  • Sync the app across all of their devices;
  • Build a personalized schedule and bookmark exhibitors;
  • Take notes and download event handouts and presentations;
  • Rate and comment on sessions;
  • I nteractively locate sessions and exhibitors on maps; and
  • Visit bookmarked exhibitors and more.

The app is also available this year via computer. Participants can create an account before the meeting, plan an itinerary, and then sync it to the app, or just use the online version.

Directions for syncing to the app are as follows:

  • Go into the 2018 meeting.
  • Choose “Sync with my FollowMe Account.”
  • Choose “First Device.” (If you want to sync to more than one device, that’s possible. But the first one needs to be “First Device.” All others would be the second option, “Additional Device.”)
  • If you sync multiple devices, all will update with changes.

Grenache advises that participants schedule meetings in advance with particular exhibitors. “It’s easy to be intimidated by the sheer size and number of individuals in the large booths, but remember that the exhibitors are there to see and talk to you,” he emphasized. “If you’re curious about their technologies, ask them! They want you to see what technologies they have that address your specific needs.”

Attendees should allow themselves enough time to explore the Expo, AMOC Vice Chair Bonny Van, PhD, FAACC, HCLD(ABB), clinical laboratory informatics lead at J. Michael Consulting, suggested. “Put it in your calendar with all of the other things you’ve got going on during the meeting. Otherwise all the shiny things can be very distracting, and you can miss out on the very things you are going to the Expo floor to see,” Van told CLN Stat. She also advised that attendees use the exhibits map to get a realistic estimate of how much they could accomplish in one session. “After all, it’s a very big show floor and you probably haven't received your transporter yet,” Van quipped.

As for herself, Van said she may ignore her own advice and wander randomly around the Expo to discover new vendors, devices, and services. “I’m not much for swag, except the occasional piece of candy to keep my blood sugar up on those long conference days.”

AMOC scientific session coordinator Melissa Snyder, PhD, laboratory director for the antibody immunology lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, always makes a point to stop at the AACC booth (2231). “This gives you a chance to see new initiatives being started by AACC, as well as to meet with the staff who keep our organization running. You can also get information on next year’s meeting!” she said.

Develop your own strategy to explore and fully experience the 70thAACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo.