The 2nd Annual 2019 HLTH Conference – billed as the event to “Create Health’s Future” – took place in Las Vegas last week. In true Las Vegas fashion, the HLTH organizers created an event that was brighter, shinier, informative and certainly more entertaining than last year’s inaugural HLTH event. Unlike some conferences that lean toward specific sub-groups of attendees – like health plans, providers, and investors – the HLTH conference offers something for all of healthcare’s constituents. Over 6000 attendees, speakers, and others representing healthcare providers, payers, life sciences, investors, and government – converged on the MGM Grand hotel to share their insight, ideas, and opinions about creating healthcare’s future.
As Aaron Strout of W2O Group shared in a recent post sharing his takeaways on the HLTH conference: “it feels a little like if SXSW, ASCO and HIMSS decided to have a baby.”
Something For Everyone at 2019 HLTH Conference
As is the case with most healthcare conferences nowadays, sessions at HLTH were organized into tracks whose content varied each day. Over the four-day long HLTH conference, a total of 19 different track themes were presented. Like last year’s HLTH event, organizers assigned all sessions in each track to the same room location; making it easy to navigate between tracks and sessions. Also similar to last year, there were a few crowded sessions and some rather sparsely populated sessions. An interesting addition to this year’s sessions was the closed captioning displayed on a large screen in front of the presenters.
Based on a review of the HLTH conference agenda and some of the early recaps shared by other attendees and media, a few common threads dominated the HLTH event:
Cost & Transparency Needed to Create Health’s Future
Given the unabated rise in costs, it was no surprise that greater financial transparency was a dominant theme in HLTH keynotes and sessions. Many of the sessions at the HLTH event addressed the importance of providing cost-effective services and products to three groups of people:
- 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
Social Determinants of Health – aka ‘Barriers to Health’
As has been quite popular over the past 5-6 years, quite a few speakers and panelists spoke of the need to extend health services beyond the walls of the treatment room and out into the local community.
Not surprisingly, Uber and Lyft – and a number of companies seeking to sit between these non-emergency medical transportation giants – had a significant presence in the sessions and the exhibit hall. Several sessions mentioned other non-medical services that Medicare Advantage and some other plans are offering members – like personal emergency response systems, home safety assessments and modifications, home environmental services like pest control and air conditioning.
Voice Technology Will Be Huge – Just Add Trust to Create Health’s Future
The ‘Voice First’ approach to improving customer and patient experience in the healthcare industry was shared by presenters in the Voice.HLTH track. And voice technology was observed as a key aspect of the product and service offerings from more than a handful of HLTH exhibitors.
It should be no surprise to anyone reading this that ‘Building Trust is Essential to Transforming the Healthcare System.’ This sentence was shared over and over and over again in many of the sessions. And the HealthCare Executive Group did its part in promoting this all-important quality that the healthcare industry needs more of.
In the “Unlocking Voice Tech’s Power” session on Tuesday, October 29th, Dr. Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA of Atrium Health, shared the following in regard to consumer adoption of voice technology:
“Think about trust as perhaps the most valuable currency that exists in healthcare and trust is really difficult to build and to nurture and grow but it’s really easy to break” – Dr. Rasu Shrestha, MD
Read more about how ‘Building Trust is Essential to Transforming the Healthcare System’ in this recent HCEG post.
Non-Traditional Innovators & Return to Bricks and Mortar
It was clear from all the sessions and exhibitors that healthcare is witnessing an insurgence of non-medical providers and a resurgence of traditional, physical locations where health care is delivered:
Larry Merlo of CVS Health shared how CVS is opening up 1400 “Health Hubs” and that traditional and non-traditional ‘providers’ serving health plan members and healthcare patients need to ‘consider all the activities before and after a patient is in a physician’s office.’
Marcus Osborne of Walmart then went on to echo Merlo’s point by sharing a virtual tour of Walmart’s new Health Center concept where primary care services, diagnostic tests, mental health services, dental, optical, hearing, fitness, and other community health benefits are offered. And then a ‘health navigator’ walks the healthcare recipient through Walmart’s store where they can obtain many of the products they need.
In addition to the above, executives from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Oracle, Samsung, and Apple also shared their insights.
Thinking Outside the Hospital Room to Create Health’s Future
Similar to the return of bricks and mortar service care settings previously mentioned, many of the keynotes, conference sessions and products/services offered by exhibiting vendors at the HLTH conference addressed the growing movement to provide more healthcare in the home. Many of the vendors aspiring to enter this space between traditional hospital places of service and the patient’s home are focusing on coordinating services between established large companies and individual health plan members and patients.
In addition to a focus on coordinating non-medical services and addressing determinants of health impact outcomes and costs, the challenges, issues, and opportunities for providing home-based and telehealth services were the dominant themes.
Realizing Impact of Women in Healthcare
More than a few HLTH sessions spoke to the need for increased focus on collaborating, integrating, and developing products and services that put individuals – specifically females – and their health needs at the center of improved outcomes and lower costs. With women making the clear majority of healthcare’s buying and usage decisions, it’s no surprise that “gender parity’ was a general theme. Some ways that parity for women in healthcare was advanced at the event include:
Interesting Aspects of HLTH’s Conference
One aspect of the HLTH conference that sets it apart from most all other healthcare conferences – at least those with multiple 1000’s of attendees – is the meals provided by HLTH. Serving a varied, hot meal to 5000+ people is no trivial matter and HLTH did a remarkable job in that regard. Some other interesting ‘accompaniments’ to the HLTH conference – apparently intended to create a relaxing and energizing atmosphere included:
- Dark hallway illuminated with neon signage – to transition attendees from the shiny, glittery hotel-casino to the shiny, glittering HLTH venue
- Mimosa’s in the registration line – to calm those early morning nerves and get attendees in the mood for networking
- Musical jazz quartet at lunch – pleasant sounds from a quartet of young women
- Patio Lounge – a great place to get fresh air and network with fellow attendees
- Coffee, tea, and water all day long – to save time waiting in lines and keep the dry desert air at bay
- The Bumbys – a very entertaining couple of people who silently and humorously judge your appearance
- Docents to guide your way – ever-present individuals to help you find your way and answer your question
Executive Leadership Roundtable – HCEG, CHI, IAIOP and WEDI
Like last year, HCEG partnered with the Center for Healthcare Innovation (CHI), the International Association of Innovation Professionals (IAOIP), and the Workgroup Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) to present a special three-hour-long roundtable event.
In an effort to Create Health’s Future, HCEG co-hosted a special HCEG Executive Leadership Roundtable at the HLTH conference. We partnered with the Center for Healthcare Innovation (CHI), International Association of Innovation Professionals (IAOIP), Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) and special guests, Dr. Jason Woo, MD, MPH, FACOG, Dr. DeLeys Brandman, MD, and Dr. Sunnie Giles to present a three-hour roundtable on the last day of the forum. See “Flying the Plane While Building a Plane: Do you have what it takes to pilot the transformation of healthcare?” for a recap of that special roundtable event.
This event, titled ‘Flying the Plane While Building the Plane: Do You Have What It Takes to Pilot the Transformation of Healthcare?’ offered the opportunity for session attendees to discuss the following:
- How the digital revolution makes leadership, transformation and innovation more challenging, especially for healthcare organizations transitioning to a consumer-centric focus
- Identifying hidden barriers that keeps leaders from creating a workplace culture that supports long-term success and leading-edge technologies
- Personal success factors (expertise, knowledge, technical skills) that distort your ability to see problems clearly and truthfully
- Approaches to adopting the values required for digital transformation while recognizing the value of legacy businesses
- Ideas on addressing the public’s declining trust in US health care systems
Seventy people attended this session hosted by our sponsor partner Appian. For more info on this roundtable, see this post.
Other Recaps of the 2019 HLTH Conference
Over the past week, several other healthcare thought leaders and industry participants have shared their insight on the HLTH event.
Journalists Help Create Health’s Future – Power Press Party
Dennis Dailey, the publisher of mHealthTimes, held the 4th annual Power Press Party at the 2nd Annual HLTH Conference. The Power Press Party showcased the latest, brightest and very best of healthcare journalism from national healthcare reporters, influential trade journalists, industry publishers, editors, social media ambassadors, and analysts. And great food and drink were served to all!
If you’re a journalist, industry analyst/reporter or vendor of healthcare-related products and services, check out the Power Press Party website and contact Dennis for more information on his upcoming Power Press Party events. You can also follow Mobile Health Times on Twitter too!
More Insight and Ideas for Healthcare Executives to Create Health’s Future
HCEG invites healthcare leaders from across the nation to participate in the 10th Annual Industry Pulse research survey. Please consider sharing your insight, experiences, and opinion to help define the issues facing healthcare. Your insight will help to reveal how the industry is responding in today’s uncertain environment. Learn more about this survey and share your insight here.
Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our eNewsletter. And if you’re a healthcare executive who wants to benefit from collaborating with C-suite peers on the challenges, issues, and opportunities you and your organization face, consider becoming a member of the HealthCare Executive Group!