By the time my plane landed at dusk on Sunday, the second annual HLTH event was in full swing. Situated near the top of the Vegas strip, the MGM Grand is by no means a long ride from the airport, but my Lyft driver still had time to share some eye-popping stats: this city hosts some 22,000 meetings a year and $14 billion in construction is underway. While it’s tough to top those musings, here’s a half-dozen takeaways from my two days there, which honestly felt more like five.
1. Digital transformation is (still) a work in progress.
Pharma’s new chief digital and technology officers have come—often from non-traditional roles—to help the industry disrupt itself. While they’ve certainly notched some nice wins, they still have a long way to go to deliver that Amazon-like experience. Novartis CDO Bertrand Bodson may have uttered the most sobering quote of this exuberant summit when the Amazon veteran told the crowd, “The biggest barrier we face is often ourselves. Fifty percent of my job is often cultural…How do we get out of the way when we need to unboss the organization?” See my detailed run-down of the CDO panel here.
2. IDNs are driving the social-care revolution…
Patient-centricity — that utopian vision — was obviously a big theme in the sessions I attended. And who’s closer to the patient than health systems? Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson noted how he’s made social determinants of health (SDOH) the third of Kaiser’s so-called building blocks, opening his talk with a video on housing security and closing with one on food security. Later, he told reporters how Kaiser is rolling out Food for Life, a multipronged social needs initiative for members. Tyson summed it up when he told the audience: “What sense does it make to give you a $1,000 pill if you can’t take it?” Ahem, drugmakers.
3. …as ride-sharing firms keep pace.
With SDOH integrated into the doctor’s workflow, social referrals are poised to increase (as I’ve noted previously). One of these is ride-sharing. For example, Uber Health recently announced integration with EHRs from one of the giants, Cerner. As Dan Trigub, head of Uber Health told me for the MM&M Podcast, ride-sharing is playing an increasingly bigger role in Medicare and Medicaid transportation.
4. Nurse Alexa?
Voice tech may be caught between consumer demand and the willingness of healthcare organizations to offer it. While half of 1,000 consumers want to use a voice assistant for healthcare, according to a study released Tuesday by conversational AI firm Orbita and the blog Voicebot.AI, only one in 13 have been able to do so. Nevertheless, more tools like Deloitte’s virtual bedside assistant could be the wave of the future.
5. Brace for a social media stampede toward public health.
Facebook’s launch on Monday of a preventive health tool was big news, representing the social giant’s official commitment to public health. If other platforms like Twitter join in, we could see a trend toward social-enabled health comms facilitating population health. Then again, living up to this commitment requires curbing the spread of misinformation and fake news. Twitter health lead Lisa Bookwalter, who’s been on the job all of seven weeks, seems all-in. (Listen to my interview with Bookwalter here).
6. HLTH has shed its chauvinism.
Organizers of the event drew criticism last year for not having enough diversity on panels at their inaugural event. They seem to have righted that wrong. This was an impressive sophomore season for HLTH in terms of women’s representation. Check out #WomenatHLTH for all of the great initiatives, which included a Women’s Impact luncheon on mentoring and an entire track of sessions from organizations dedicated to advancing women. Listen to eHC’s Amy Turnquist discuss that in more detail in my podcast interview here, part of MM&M’s HLTH Takeout series.