With only a short time to go, preparations for the 2017 Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) are in full swing! I attended the 2014 MESC in Denver and found the conference a wonderful opportunity to learn more about industry trends and see examples of innovative approaches to Medicaid systems and administration nationwide.

For those of you heading to Baltimore this year, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Make a plan…

Review the sessions ahead of time and identify those that interest you the most. If you are attending the conference with a group, consider splitting up to attend different sessions. This will give you the opportunity to meet more attendees outside your group as well as allowing you to cover more ground.

…But don’t be afraid to improvise!

A plan is not set in stone. If you are in a session and realize that it is not what you were envisioning, feel free to quietly slip out and go to another. Abstracts are not always effective in conveying a presentation’s content and objectives.

If you find the session may not be applicable to you, go ahead and look for another. With only a couple days at the conference, your time is valuable.

Take notes

With so much to take in, retaining the valuable information gained throughout the conference is difficult. Plan to carry a small notebook and take notes throughout the day to capture information about industry trends, new business contacts, or follow-up activities.

Share with those who did not attend

Bring your knowledge back to coworkers and colleagues who were unable to attend. Consider sharing information via whatever channels are available – whether that be an internal newsletter, a corporate blog, or a casual conversation over coffee.

Increased knowledge of trends in the Medicaid space helps all of us serve our clients and ultimately Medicaid beneficiaries more effectively.

Have fun… and wear comfortable shoes!

Be sure to take advantage of the many opportunities to socialize and explore the host city. They are great opportunities to unwind, build relationships, and relax after a busy day.

Finally and perhaps most importantly – wear comfortable shoes! After a long day of sessions, visiting the exhibit hall, and networking, your feet will thank you.