Reflections from Health:Further

As the healthcare ecosystem is mired in the day-to-day realities of changing payment models, revenue squeezes, and policy shifts, sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and think about where we’re headed on the innovation front – and that’s exactly what took place at the 2017 Health:Further event.

Health:Further is an annual conference focused on the future of health, coordinated by Jumpstart Foundry and held annually in Nashville, TN. A few members of the ReviveHealth team attended this event and saw speakers across a variety of topics: blockchain, patient-focused approaches to clinical efficiency, the powerful intersection of music and health, and the importance of data in analyzing clinician effectiveness.
The event attracted 1700 attendees, and many of our provider, investor, and tech clients were there – but if you missed it, below are a few takeaways:

1. blockchain will be a part of our everyday lives sooner than we may think.

John Bass, CEO of Hashed Health, spoke on Day 2 about how blockchain will begin making significant inroads to healthcare within the next 2-5 years. While there are certainly gaps in understanding of blockchain’s intrinsic value and innumerable applications, this new wave of technology has the opportunity to transform the way healthcare data is shared and distributed.

2. precision medicine has unfulfilled potential in its ability to treat and prevent disease.

However, its applications will be irrelevant until healthcare coding is improved. Currently, the rate of errors in laboratory coding is very high and the process of running tests, coding them, and filing them is a massive bottleneck. This must be quickly addressed, as genetic testing will only continue to gain traction for both preventative and diagnostic care measures.

3. Local control of community hospitals is integral to their success.

Martie Ross of PYA spoke about the unique needs and challenges rural hospitals face (chiefly high fixed costs and low volume). While consolidation of these hospitals is on the rise, and M&A activity is rampant, many times board members are reluctant to relinquish control of their hospital. Rather, Martie suggested that a better solution is network alignment, allowing community hospitals to retain control but with access to more capital and other resources.

One of the funniest and most convicting sessions was when Olympic ice skater Scott Hamilton spoke and shared compelling stories of his own health journey. It was a refreshing refocusing on the patient, bringing to life how improving the healthcare system is about improving the lives and experiences of people like Scott, who didn’t choose their condition or illness but deserve sublime care.

Finally, Marcus Whitney, CEO of Health:Further, opened the plenary sessions with a powerful statement that emphasized the need for storytelling to be imbued in the healthcare industry. Since its inception, the industry’s conversation has been led by the institutions rather than the people impacted by it. Forums like Health:Further are inarguably a step in the right direction to change the conversation and move the healthcare industry forward.

So, what does all this mean for healthcare marketers? A few things…

1. Organizations whose business models rely on complex technology (like blockchain) need a communications and positioning strategy that simply and clearly articulates the differentiating value of their product.

2. Hospitals that are community-driven require tailored and strategic marketing approaches specific to the geographic markets they serve.

3. Consumers are in the driver’s seat now. The medium, frequency, and type of marketing that will engage them is fundamentally different than what worked in the past.

4. Storytelling is critical to successful change. As Marcus touched on, spouting facts and figures won’t be what drives change in the healthcare industry. It’s the ability to tell compelling stories and create value at scale.

September 27, 2017
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