Representatives from emids gathered recently in Austin to participate in the AHIP 2017 Institute & Expo on June 7–9. The annual conference, hosted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), brings together healthcare experts, policymakers, innovators and thought leaders from across the industry to explore the shifting healthcare policy landscape and how to stay ahead of the changes.

emids met with potential partners and attended sessions focused on healthcare affordability and accessibility, consumer engagement, payer-provider partnerships and tech-driven strategies for health and wellness.

Anthem president and CEO Joe Swedish kicked off the conference with a keynote focused on “Reinventing Healthcare for the Future.” His talk set a hopeful tone, despite the uncertainty in politics and policy on the national level, and illustrated how health plans are stepping up to lead the improvements tomorrow. “I do believe the future of healthcare is bright, and it will be bright because of the commitment of our industry,” Swedish said.

Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, founder of Leavitt Partners, which helps healthcare organizations transition to new and better models of care, followed up with a frank talk on “Making Healthcare Accessible and Affordable for All Americans.” Leavitt, who served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Bush Administration, acknowledged the realities of the current state of healthcare, noting “we are 25 years into a 40-year healthcare transition.” Yet he also highlighted the strides payers have made at partnering with providers to improve member health and getting consumers more engaged in their own health. Leavitt challenged attendees to continue those efforts. “If we want compassion and economic leadership, value, value, value,” he said. “That’s the north star.”

Engaging Consumers with Digital Platforms and Rap

The conference also featured sessions on everything from person-centered healthcare and precision analytics to affordable drug pricing and value-based programs. Rebekah Panepinto, Senior Director of Business Development for emids, found the “Redefine Wellness: Data, Personalization and Future of Incentives” session, headlined by Aetna and digital workplace wellness platform PeerFit, inspiring because it showed how health plans are collaborating with tech startups to get members engaged in fitness and other wellness initiatives. The session brought home the message that “if you want people to be committed to their health, you’ve got to find a way to connect with them and make the experience enjoyable,” Panepinto said.

Physician and rapper Zubin Damania, aka ZDoggMD, brought attendees to their feet with his “Primary Care, Remixed” session, which featured performances that satirized the healthcare system while also educating patients and providers. Damania has performed stand-up comedy for medical audiences worldwide, and his videos have gone viral with more than 130 million views on Facebook and YouTube. View some of his latest hits here.

Attendees also got to enjoy live music from some of Austin’s top performers during evening networking events, which included an off-site event for young healthcare professionals. emids even hosted its own Connect forum for healthcare executives at the exclusive W Austin hotel rooftop pool deck. The event, sponsored by CVS Health, Connecture and Medecision, drew more than 200 attendees.

The final day of sessions featured a keynote from Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on “The Battle for the Heart and Mind of the Healthcare Consumer” and wrapped with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and CNN senior political analyst David Gergen sharing their perspectives on how to be leaders an uncertain political landscape.

Making Connections

Having the opportunity to connect with attendees from the payer, provider and tech vendor worlds and discovering ways emids could partner with them were the highlights of the event for Panepinto.

Attendees were particularly interested in emids’ interoperability expertise and its work with Nashville’s Medical Center for Interoperability. “Many healthcare organizations have trouble finding skilled interoperability experts, but we have them,” Panepinto said.

“Business intelligence and data management were hot-button issues everyone wanted to discuss because they realize how valuable their data is and what they can accomplish with it,” she continued.

At emids, we’re already looking forward to AHIP’s Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum this winter, which will convene in our hometown of Nashville. See you there!

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