How to Improve Health 2.0 (and Every Other Health-Tech Conference)

Janae Sharp
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018
health 2.0 himss,health 2.0 meeting,health innovation conference,hca news
Janae Sharp got a lot out of Health 2.0, but she also has some advice for health-tech conference organizers everywhere. Photo credit: Rasu Shrestha, M.D., MBA.

I was delighted to attend the annual fall Health 2.0 conference in California last week, and I was proud of the leadership and caliber of attendees. I spoke to a few of them about the event, asking for ideas that could make it better in the future. The feedback, it turns out, can apply to just about any health-tech meeting.

One participant said that while Health 2.0 was overall an impressive event, many startups didn’t seem to recognize the opportunity to collaborate with leadership. Another participant was pleased that organizers invited patients and provided scholarships for them, further praising how it highlighted aspirational problems — Health 2.0 wasn’t afraid to address some of the “uglier” parts of healthcare.

I wanted to say positive things because Health 2.0 was a great experience. It feels like saying, “bless your heart,” but I wanted to point out that this event is going the right direction. Building on the “wins” of the conference is important. It’s also valuable to explore the shortcomings. Here are six ideas for how to improve Health 2.0 — and any other health-tech conference.

1. Healthcare Investor Matchmaking

I went to the investor breakfast on Monday, where I spoke to an investor. She mentioned that Monday is usually not a day that investors go to events, as they tend to review deals at that time. Holding the investor matchmaking breakfast on a different day would be beneficial.

>> READ: 6 Top Takeaways from Health 2.0 for Healthcare Leaders

Another other key missed opportunity was in the area of research. Some of the startups were seed or pre-seed. I spoke to Gene Wang, CEO of People Power, a company in the “aging in place” industry and home security marketplace, which has raised funding in the past and is planning to raise its Series C round later this year. I don’t know that any later-stage funds’ reps attended the breakfast (although I didn’t meet all the investors). The research and vetting of startups was not clear. I would love an event where there was clear information about how much people had previously raised — and pre-match funds that share a very clear investment preference.

2. We Need More Startups

Most investors are very open about the type of companies they are looking for. Before a startup meets with them, it makes sense for the startup to research whether that investor has already invested in that space. First meetings can be valuable for new startups that want to get more feedback, but several of the investors mentioned that they didn’t find great investment opportunities at Health 2.0. Market trends and valuable connections in the healthcare investment industry, as well as among operators, were clearly present.

To create a successful investor event, it is important to invite talent — and there were impressive investors and portfolios represented at Health 2.0, as well as corporate financial decision makers for many of the major insurance companies and electronic health record (EHR) vendors. The leadership of HIMSS was present and very accessible. I wonder if knowledge about the funds and leadership attending the conference was under-represented, which led to a seemingly small number of startups.


3. Venue Meets Industrial Design

One of the most important aspects of industrial design is layout. When I was 18, I worked with a company that worked with Freightliner on workplace accident reduction. With tape. They placed colored tape on the factory floor and walls, which reduced site accidents and increased efficiencies. Organizational design has huge effects on output, and this industrial design concept appeared at Health 2.0, but it should be taken a step further.

I would love to see a Healthcare conference that had a similar vision about meeting efficiency as Freightliner’s.

Small details affect overall outcomes. For example, Matthew Loxton, a healthcare analyst, mentioned that small differences at the point of care have facilitated better care. When physicians are closer to the door in the emergency room setting, they can address emergencies. The PatientSafe Network specializes in simple workplace and patient safety changes, such as single valve IV Fluid Bags.

Having a set location for meetings and brighter meeting rooms would facilitate more conference interaction for smaller sessions. Maximizing good outcomes starts with a bit of consideration for industrial design. This starts with the scheduling and venue. If we are creating leadership in health, the conference should emphasize better brain performance and facilitate interaction.

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