Guest Authored by Eric Thrailkill
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The fifth annual HLTH conference from Las Vegas was the biggest and boldest yet.
HLTH was founded in 2018 by two fintech entrepreneurs, both venture partners with Oak HC/FT. Jonathan Weiner and Anil Aggarwal formed HLTH after the successful formation (and exits) of ShopTalk (a platform conference event for technology and retail) and Money 20/20 (a platform conference event for fintech) with an initial venture investment of $5 million. HLTH conducted the first conference in 2018 with 80 speakers and 3,000 attendees.
A look back at speakers and sessions gives us an indication of how far we’ve come as an industry and, frankly, how much work is left to do to deliver on the promise of superior health outcomes, an improved patient experience, lower overall costs to deliver health services – all the while reducing the stress on clinicians delivering care.
Three key topics discussed in 2018 were:
- People with multiple chronic conditions – particularly diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma, and depression
- Patients who drive a large percentage of total health care costs
- Patients discharged from the inpatient setting
In addition, also in 2018. the Healthcare Executive Group (a national network of select healthcare executives, thought leaders, and industry professionals from health systems, payers, provider organizations, and health technology vendors) summarized the need to advance value-based care discussions as follows:
“While the rise of personalized medicine, targeted therapies, specialty pharmaceuticals, and molecular diagnostics offer tremendous opportunity, payers are still growing their sea legs figuring out how to measure outcomes and associated value models – at the same time as providers and the healthcare supply-side are beginning to demonstrate outcome values in risk-based payment contracts.”
In addition to the plethora of society meetings, associations such as HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) and CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives), as well as other industry conferences and meetings, HLTH fills a necessary void to foster discussion, and collaboration, among the industry incumbents, investors, and innovators.
HLTH also announced the creation of HLTH Europe (Amsterdam in 2024) and widely promoted the upcoming ViVE event (March of 2023, Nashville), partnering with CHIME.
Sporting a new logo and featuring a concert from entrepreneur, philanthropist, and entertainer Chris Bridges (aka Ludacris, fresh off his honorary degree from Georgia State University), HLTH attempted, and succeeded, in bringing various stakeholders together to work together (“radical collaboration”) on the transformation necessary to ensure a more accessible, affordable, and equitable system.
HLTH 2022 consisted of eight stages, where overflow audiences attended presentations and panel discussions with a central theme of partnerships, alliances, consortia, and yes – radical collaboration (unprecedented next-generation relationships among various stakeholders) historically operating in siloed “lanes” despite an industry approaching 20% of the gross domestic product. This purposeful and deliberate approach to building the healthcare ecosystem was on full display at the conference stages, exhibit areas, and networking events.
Only at HLTH would you see Main Stage presentations from the CEOs of HCA Healthcare and Instacart – back to back – a reflection of the importance of the intersection of existing healthcare operational excellence and new technology to support the “drivers of health” (frequently referred to as the social determinants of health), including nutrition services.
Boasting over 9,500 attendees (double from 2021), over 300 speakers, and over 800 sponsors, HLTH raised the bar on post-pandemic conferences and meeting experiences. It remains to be seen how this novel approach to ecosystem building (modeled after very successful retail and fintech platforms) will impact industry stakeholders, align objectives, and ultimately contribute to healthcare challenges. However, we can all agree the “conversation” among participants needs to continue.
Unlike any other major healthcare and health tech conference, HLTH brings together providers, payers, employers, government, investors, life sciences, startups, media, and the patient community. HLTH attempts to make good on its promises of learning, connecting, discovering, networking, inspiring, and creating an enjoyable ecosystem experience. In my opinion – thank you, congratulations, and well done!
Over the next week, I’ll take you through five themes evident at the HLTH conference.