I love conferences. It’s the opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, and catch up with old friends and colleagues. Healthcare has quite a few conferences and they tend to be segmented into specialties, like those for internists, cardiologists, radiologists or pediatricians, those related to pharmaceuticals, life sciences, investing or digital health. As of late, what I’ve noticed is that there is a lot of overlap when it comes to topics, speakers and startups that showcase. In some ways this works because audiences may differ based on location or topics presented but in other ways, I think it would be nice to shakes things up a bit. Something else I’ve also noticed is that there is a lack of gender parity at a lot of these conferences. I’ve met plenty of phenomenal, intelligent, dynamic women who can speak authoritatively about the salient topics of our day and would love to see more of them featured as panelists, especially in light of the fact that women make a majority of healthcare-related decisions in American households.
Third, I would like to see more interesting pairings. What if we asked a caregiver to interview a CEO or vice versa? What if we asked a sociologist to interview a futurist?
I also would like to see a lot more hospitals, universities, medical schools and nursing schools open their doors to conferences, meetups, and outside entities. It’s important that the people who are stakeholders and who are involved in healthcare every day be involved in creating and commenting on the policies and innovations that will change the way in which they do their jobs. I’d also like to see more conferences or mini-conferences on weekends or evenings, making things feasible for providers and patients who want to attend. Livestreaming as well as having an active social media channel and archive that people can refer to is also helpful so people can watch, share, and comment on their own time.
We have a HIMSS (which has done so much in the field of healthcare meets technology) but why not a HERSS? A conference that puts together people from all elements of healthcare -traditional, nontraditional, and social. Also one where there is no dress code (except being clothed) and people can feel free to come as they are. It’s not what you wear, it’s what you bring to the table: an open mind, domain expertise (or not) and a willingness to learn, that matters.
So what would HERSSS stand for?
All aspects of traditional healthcare represented as well as newer entities. A mix of hospital systems, long-term care facilities, allied health, nutritionists, physical therapists, pharma, ACO’s, urgent care clinics, community organizations, government, global health organizations, mind body medicine, integrative medicine specialists
Besides those involved in traditional allopathic healthcare, it’s important to include people who our patients also go to.
EDUCATION, ENGINEERING, ECONOMICS, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, EMPOWERMENT (Patient)
Engineers, professors, entrepreneurs, designers, patient advocates, disease specific groups, global health, caregivers, students of all kinds.
I would like to see more educators, students and patients (regular people) at events. It’s important that the people who represent the future of the industry voice their thoughts and also learn from others.
Epidemiologists, data scientists, students, interested parties who conduct research out of passion and purpose
Data and evidence-based medicine will represent the core of how we practice medicine and it’s important to see what’s out there, what’s been done, and what the data says so we can shape practice based on solid information.
People in life science, biologists, geneticists, cognitive neuroscientists, physicists, food researchers, materials scientists etc
What comes out of bench science often turns into new techniques, technologies, medications. What we eat and do every day, what our genetic makeup is, matters.
Social workers, social media, sociology, social determinants, social innovation, social policy.
We as human beings are social creatures, we live in a network of people. No discussion on health is complete without the social aspects that are at the core of how we live and work.
Futurists, now-ists, artists, roboticists, nanomedicine, sensor and diagnostic tech
What does the future look like in the eyes of people who dare to dream and create from those dreams?
Healthcare is made up of many entities and some people see that as a weakness or barrier, but that heterogeneity can also be seen as a strength because we can draw on unique points of view and come up with creative solutions that don’t leave people behind. Instead of asking why, ask why not? That’s what we really need in a time when the system is in flux and what we create today determines what happens tomorrow.