Healthcare Highlighted at Upcoming SXSW Festival

Share this content:

SXSW is known for showcasing disruptive technology taking place in a myriad of industries, healthcare among them. Understanding the need to get the word out on innovative developments in the industry, agencies AbelsonTaylor, JUICE Pharma, and HCB Health joined forces three years ago to create HealthSpark, an interactive and educational event that focuses on the increasingly dynamic intersection of healthcare and technology, and is now recognized as an official event at the SXSW festival.

Born out of a long-standing agency partnership with MIT Hacking Medicine, HealthSpark was built from the ground up to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 companies with a stake in the future of healthcare, and is intended to serve as a national catalyst for healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs looking to help launch the next big solution.

“Our agencies have always been on the pulse of technology converging with healthcare, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to bring health and tech into the forefront of the conversation,” says Emily Tower, SVP, Engagement Strategy and Analytics for AbelsonTaylor.

By bringing together a group of dedicated healthcare experts, marketers, and investors, the hope is that Healthspark will help to promote discussion among attendees, with such thought-provoking questions as “What is the future for health tech? What are the innovations that will shape the landscape of tomorrow? Who has the solutions to problems we may not know we have?

This year's HealthSpark 2018 event, Igniting the Next Wave of Health Tech, will run as a carefully curated day-and-a-half event comprised of three innovative content tracks: BioSensors and Digital Therapeutics, The Future of AI in Health, and Hacking Healthcare. The line-up includes a distinguished and dynamic panel of speakers such as Scarlet Shore, platform manager for project baseline at Verily; Mark Liber, Moonshot Academy manager at Startup Health; and Eugene Borukhovich, global head for digital health incubation and innovation at Bayer; inspirational product demos from emerging healthcare startups; Future 15's; and the Barracuda Bowl, an exhilarating pitch competition where top startups can compete for the chance to win prizes and get noticed.

The idea of bringing together industry giants and exciting new startups together under one roof is what draws many companies to the event, explains Alec Pollak, VP director of UX and content marketing at JUICE Pharma Worldwide.

“Anyone who attends HealthSpark, myself included, is getting this incredible educational opportunity because you're hearing from established players in the health space like Google Health and Amazon talk about the obstacles they've had to overcome and the challenges they've faced in getting to where they are in the industry,” he says. “And they're in turn sharing these incredible insights with companies who are just starting to make a name for themselves--so it's established expertise and passion projects together on the same stage.”

Robert Palmer, chief innovation officer at HCB Health, notes startups are the lifeblood of the event. All three agencies still work very closely today with many of the Barracuda Bowl's past winners, a fact Palmer's incredibly proud of.

“It's just such an exciting concept to me--to hear how these innovators came up with their ideas, how they think, etc.,” he says. “But it's also incredibly exciting to watch them blossom and grow right in front of you, and know that you were there when it all began. You can't help but feel inspired when you're exposed to so many other ways of thinking and you're surrounded by so many terrific marketers, thinkers, and so much creative technology.”

One of the highlights of this year's event will be health startup Medable's product launch of INSIGHT--a blockchain-based technology that will enable a smart-contract network uniting medical research centers, research participants, and the biopharma industry.

According to Medable founder and CEO, Dr. Michelle Longmire, INSIGHT will make the clinical trial process not only more efficient, but more cost-effective. It  will leverage Medable's existing ResearchKit and CareKit apps to enable academic medical researchers and participants to be compensated for medical data contributed by interested parties in the biopharma industry.

“The way we currently measure data in clinical studies is incredibly archaic,” says Dr. Longmire. “Data collection is limited to only those patients who can physically come in, so we wanted to find a way to help researchers digitally capture data from a larger pool of participants on a much more continuous basis.”

Since its inception in late 2016, Medable has helped numerous major medical research centers adopt its platform by allowing them to create HIPAA-compliant apps that enable clinical research. Through these efforts, the company was able to identify a critical gap between the academic medical researchers and study participants, the data they generate, and the ability of the biopharmaceutical industry to harness this ecosystem.

“We are thrilled and honored to be introducing INSIGHT at Healthspark,” says Dr. Longmire. “While the typical healthcare audience is very traditional and often hindered by regulations, we feel the audience at SXSW is a group who is ready to embrace innovation and change, especially the kind of change that will bring money back to healthcare research.”

Known for bringing together and providing a platform for some of the most brilliant and creative minds on the planet and credited for launching some of the world's most successful startups such as Twitter and FourSquare, SXSW is certainly a place where big ideas, innovation, and risk are not only applauded, but embraced.

All the more reason why attending SXSW is critical for participants in the healthcare ecosystem.

If attending SXSW isn't on your company's to do list, it should be.

Share this content: