One of the largest medical meetings in the country has selected Las Vegas as the site of its 2012 annual conference, with officials citing the economy as a critical factor in the decision. It will be the first time the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has met in Las Vegas.

HIMSS chose the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas as the site of its 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibition. Las Vegas beat out Chicago, which hosted the 2009 annual conference this past February for the first time. The event attracted about 27,000 attendees, down from 29,000 in Orlando in 2008.

The economic climate was top-of-mind in the decision, HIMSS officials said. “We made the selection based on specific input from our members and exhibitors and our lengthy discussions with [Las Vegas and Chicago]. Las Vegas committed to the unified cooperation of the Sands Expo Convention Center, the hotels, and the city so that HIMSS can provide our members and attendees with a productive and economical experience,” said Stephen Lieber, president and CEO, HIMSS, in a statement.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the high cost of electrical services labor in Chicago for exhibitors and organizers was a big factor. The cost was multiple times higher than it was for the 2008 show in Orlando, Lieber told the Tribune. Without assurances that costs would be different in 2012, Lieber said they couldn’t put the extra financial strain on exhibitors and organizers in this economy, according to the article.

Lose Some, Win Some

While it lost HIMSS, Chicago did just sign a deal to bring another large medical meeting to Chicago for the next decade. The American Society of Clinical Oncology will hold its annual meeting in Chicago for the next 10 years, starting with the June 2010 annual conference and running through the 2019 meeting. The meeting attracts about 30,000 attendees per year.

”We are very glad to be entering this partnership with the City of Chicago,” said Allen Lichter, CEO of ASCO. “Chicago is a terrific town for ASCO for so many reasons—the convention center, the hotel space, the cultural offerings, the restaurants. We are so pleased that our annual meeting has found such a welcoming and hospitable home for the next decade.”