There’s no better place to get a rigorous sampling of the new and now in clinical laboratory science than the floors of the conference Expo. More than 750 exhibitors will be displaying the best of the in vitro diagnostics industry at the 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in San Diego.

The Expo at the San Diego Convention Center will be open Aug. 1-3, starting each day at  9:30 a.m., closing at 5 p.m. on Aug. 1-2 and at 1 p.m. on Aug. 3.

Among the many exhibits, attendees will be able to sit in on a dozen Industry Workshop Exhibit Hall Theater presentations at three exhibit hall theaters on Aug. 1-2 and enjoy the OEM Lecture Series in the exhibit hall’s Theater 3 on Aug. 1. Outside of the exhibit hall, there’s the Hotel Industry Workshops at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina to look forward to. 

Access Expo info on the go with the 2017 AACC mobile app, available from both the Apple Store and Google Play (search 2017 AACC). This 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;
  • interactively locate sessions and exhibitors on maps; and
  • visit bookmarked exhibitors and more.

AACC’s conference website offers a variety of options to search for exhibitors. You can scroll through an alphabetized list, which provides the exhibitor name and booth number, search by subject matter category 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.

With so many booths and things to see, it’s helpful to adopt a strategy for perusing the exhibit hall.

AACC member Alina Sofronescu, PhD, FACB, NRCC, technical director of the chemistry laboratory and assistant professor in the department of pathology and microbiology at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, likes to keep up with market trends and usually visits the Expo on multiple days so that she can see as many booths as possible.

Her approach in navigating the exhibits is to stay focused on what’s most important for her and her lab. Taking the immediate needs of her institution into consideration, Sofronescu’s current focus is on mass spectrometry (MS) instrumentation.

“Therefore, at the beginning, I will concentrate on booths from MS vendors and related products,” she told CLN Stat. Afterward, if time allows, she will visit other booths and Industry Workshop Exhibit Hall Theater, OEM Lecture Series or Hotel Industry Workshops.

David Alter, MD, DABCC, has adjusted his strategy over time. Instead of trying to see everything, he focuses on the vendors his institution currently works with and those it might work with in the future. “As we all know, the Expo is too big to absorb it all, to get all the free pens as possible, and be enrolled in all the drawings. Over time, I have shied away from the latter because it involves too much energy for too little reward,” said Alter, a pathologist and point-of-care testing-system medical director at Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

First-time visitors should set aside additional time to walk through the Expo and see as much as possible, to get an idea of the range and variety of the exhibits, he advised. While not a big fan of “swag,” Alter said the cloth bags some booths provider are useful to have as you walk through the Expo. “Lastly, bring your pedometers and Fitbits because strolling through the expo is a great way to put miles and steps on the counters,” he recommended.

The 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo takes place July 30–Aug. 3 in San Diego. There’s still time to plan your visit to the Expo and enjoy its many offerings.