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New conference seeks to examine future of healthcare

by Bruce Shutan

Serial entrepreneur Jonathan Weiner has seen the future of healthcare, and it will take place at the Aria resort and casino in Las Vegas, May 6 to 9, 2018.

“Our mission is to be a catalyst that ignites the transformation necessary to improve healthcare,” says Weiner, founder, chairman and CEO of HLTH, pronounced “health” without the vowels.

His “Future of Healthcare Event” is shaping up to be a massive and groundbreaking production with more than 2,000 attendees, 200-plus pioneering CEOs and company founders, and 300-plus speakers who are expected to take part.

It will feature more than 100 thoughtful sessions across more than a dozen education tracks, covering the healthcare field’s latest innovations, trends and business models. With a 50% off discount available for a limited time, the cost to attend is $1,550 per person.

A cornerstone of what HLTH hopes to accomplish is help attendees reduce costs, as well as improve quality of care and outcomes. Another goal is to encourage partnerships with the help of exclusive networking opportunities such as peer group dinners, a curated exhibit hall that encourage networking and educational workshops.

Fresh content

The secret sauce in Weiner’s formula for success is fresh content that is carefully vetted and devoid of recycled speeches. Other unique aspects to his agenda include a startup pitch contest with financial awards for the best concepts, programs that match entrepreneurs with investors and qualified buyers from payers, providers and employers with service providers as well as personalized peer group dinners targeting industry thought leaders and influencers.

High profile speakers include pols and pundits such as Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., widely considered an architect of the Affordable Care Act, who chairs the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and Patrick J. Kennedy, the former U.S. Rep. (D-R.I.) who co-founded One Mind and founded the Kennedy Forum. There also will be several captains of industry stalwarts and startups alike on hand, as well as leaders of professional organizations.

The ideal attendee is someone who has a passion for healthcare, or wants a role in helping modernize, transform or even potentially revolutionize the industry, according to Constance Sjoquist, chief content officer of HLTH and a seasoned healthcare analyst who previously was at Gartner. She says other participants will include those who want to learn and translate that knowledge into actionable ideas, strategies, partnerships, and next steps for caring for populations and managing medical risk.

Sjoquist has worked with large insurance carriers or tech vendors that sought to reinvent the industry’s infrastructure through block chain, artificial intelligence and robotics. The trouble, Sjoquist laments, is that each research paper and interaction with industry players “took place one conversation at a time, in a siloed manner.”

“One of the bigger concerns is the lack of interoperability of systems and data sharing across the healthcare ecosystem,” she continues. “Another is the lack of appetite to re-imagine healthcare. To move forward, we need an honest and open conversation amongst all the industry stakeholders. We need to shift our dialogue from what is broken to what is possible - even in the face of government mandates and data privacy concerns. Healthcare needs to borrow lessons learned from other industries, like ecommerce, travel and banking. The winners will be those who transform by using innovative technologies, adopting new business models and putting the consumer first.”

Impressive track record

If his past is any indication of the future, Weiner’s forecast is a bright one. He has been a part of venture-backed businesses since the late 1990s mostly in the payments and financial technology space. Also, a partner at a $1.1 billion venture fund that invests in fintech and healthcare tech, he co-founded the nation’s first third-party processor for prepaid Visa and MasterCard products, then sold it to the world’s largest credit card processor.

Afterward, Weiner started a trade show and publication that were later sold. His next venture, the leading platform for emerging payments, was so successful that Google acquired it in 2012, Weiner stayed on for a few years and helped launch Google Wallet as the head of global business development for payments.

He also produced an annual event called Money20/20 to examine the impact of macro trends in financial services, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and mobile apps, on financial services. Within a few years, it became the world’s largest fintech event.

Based on that track record, Weiner co-founded another event called Shoptalk that examined disruptive innovation in the retail and e-commerce, including a sea change for brick-and-mortar operations. It didn’t take long for Shoptalk to become that industry’s most influential event.

As Weiner started looking at healthcare events, he discovered that the larger shows focused only on one part of the industry. “There really wasn’t one large-scale industry event that was pulling together the entire healthcare ecosystem at a very senior level,” he explains.

His ambition is to assemble all key stakeholders, including employers, payers, providers, big pharma, startups, government officials, investors, media and analysts. The focus will be on disruptive innovation across the healthcare industry.

Weiner hopes to “create positive energy at the show,” including announcements and a hack-a-thon challenging healthcare platform developers.

Learn more about how HLTH here and how they are revolutionizing the discussions around healthcare today.


Bruce Shutan is a Los Angeles freelance writer.


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