HLTH is still more than five months away but interest around the annual digital health conference is already starting to bubble up.

On Wednesday morning, the namesake organization announced its Be Bold theme for the 2024 HLTH conference set to take place from October 20 to October 23 in Las Vegas.

HLTH also opened speaker applications for the more than 350 speaking opportunities at the ever-growing industry powwow

As for the keynote addresses, HLTH will be hosting Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato and Tom Mihaljevic, MD, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. The themes of their respective addresses are still being ironed out but there are plans to discuss integrating AI and quantum computing as well as the emergence of consumer health spinoffs from pharma companies.

Heading into its seventh year, the conference has swelled from 3,500 signups to more than 12,000 attendees coming together to discuss the trends and factors moving the industry forward. 

This year’s event will feature the AI Pavilion, the Oral Health Pavilion, a space dedicated to topics related to the nursing field as well as the latest iteration of the Market Connect program.

Jody Tropeano, HLTH’s head of content, told MM+M that the decision to go with Be Bold stemmed from changing the narrative focus on living longer to living healthier. Rather than simply extending a person’s lifespan, HLTH wants to empower healthcare leaders and decision-makers to prioritize health over longevity.

She said that when the conference kicks off Sunday, HLTH will have three concurrent stages prior to the main stage and opening remarks focusing on early life, midlife and senior care, as well as additional sessions focusing on health aging.

In contrast to its sibling conference ViVE — which tends to be more in the weeds — Tropeano said that HLTH is intentionally broader and allows for content to be changeable ahead of the event. This is especially critical when things like AI and GLP-1 drugs are popular discussion topics but are rapidly changing from week-to-week, let alone month-to-month. 

For prospective speakers, she said that what helps an applicant stand out are two factors: not relentlessly pitching their company and having a hot take to offer on a topic. 

Tropeano said she’s not encouraging contrarians for the sake of breeding more devil’s advocates, but rather to be a little more controversial than the average conference speaker.

“Let’s say it’s a topic like value based care. People can give the same talk with value based care over and over again,” she said. “I would love it if someone said in an application, ‘I don’t think value based care will ever work and here’s why.’ That actually would make my antenna go up.”

In prior years, the conference has attracted celebrities and well-known figures with connections to the industry, including Nick Jonas, Mark Cuban, Howie Mandel and Arianna Huffington, among others.

Tropeano added that while she can’t name which health-adjacent celebrity will be speaking at the conference just yet, she confirmed that it is an A-lister. She also noted that her dream celebrity speaker is tennis icon Serena Williams.

Prior to the U.S. version of the event, HLTH will host the European edition of the conference from June 17 to June 20 in Amsterdam.