Last week, we joined 6,000+ executives at HLTH 2019 in Las Vegas for four days of learning and exploring trends that are shaping the future of healthcare.
Pronounced “health,” HLTH is one of the few events that brings together leaders from across the healthcare ecosystem — including providers, payers, life sciences, and government — to talk about how they are defining the future of healthcare.
The conference provided a platform to discuss the wide-ranging ways in which innovators are addressing unmet needs in healthcare, including novel models for delivery of care, with a focus on tech-enabled methods such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, chatbots, voice and even social media
During one panel, Facebook announced a new initiative with the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American College of Cardiology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer a Preventative Health tool that connects consumers with information about recommended preventive care and checkup reminders. While it will initially focus on cardiovascular health, cancer screening and seasonal flu, we’ll be watching how these types of resources help further democratize healthcare, as well as how the platform addresses users’ data privacy concerns.
The conference also provided a forum for companies to discuss how a digital-first future is transforming their organizations from the inside out, requiring them to think differently not only about drug delivery, but also about the skillsets required to lead these transformative efforts spanning everything from R&D and supply chain to manufacturing and marketing. Chief Digital Officers from large pharmaceutical companies, such as GSK and Novartis, candidly discussed learnings and progress to date across the industry and addressed some of the major barriers to scaling digital initiatives across their multinational organizations.
Another key theme was combating the shortage of healthcare providers in remote areas across the US, as well as to address the evolving shift in the way Americans interact with primary care physicians. A common thread that reappeared in discussions was the need for implementing a system which offers patients better user experiences, transparent pricing and personalized care which will ultimately enhance human health for generations to come. Walmart’s VP of Health Transformation Marcus Osborne, for instance, previewed the future of consumer-oriented healthcare with a virtual tour of their new Health Center in Dallas, Georgia, that offers everything from primary care, imaging and other diagnostic tests, to mental health services, dental, optical, hearing, fitness and other community health benefits.
One of the most well-received initiatives at HLTH this year was expanding the focus on women in healthcare. We already know that when women are in executive positions, businesses perform better. It was inspiring to see several sessions and events specifically focused on celebrating the impact of women in healthcare and their numerous accomplishments over the last year.
Another key initiative was the WEGO Health Awards, which honored 15 patient advocates for their important and inspiring efforts to transform healthcare. We hope that next year HLTH places a greater emphasis on patient advocacy throughout the conference, and we see more patient advocates participating directly in the conversations that are dictating the future of their health.
We need to start somewhere, so the progress we have made thus far in defining the future of healthcare is both promising and exciting. We’re already looking forward to discussing where the next decade may take us at HLTH 2020.
Article written in partnership by two Porter Novelli staff members: Smitha Nagrath and Kristin Minish.