Representatives from emids joined a diverse group of visionaries who convened in Nashville August 22–25 to discuss how to build a more affordable, sustainable future of health at the third annual Health:Further Festival. Hosted by Nashville’s healthcare innovation fund Jumpstart Foundry, the gathering drew a mash-up of payers, providers, employers, marketers, investors and entrepreneurs, as well as attendees across industries and ideologies who shared their ideas for advancing the delivery of next-generation healthcare.

We enjoyed conversing with these innovators and connecting with startups pioneering technologies that promise to truly transform health and wellness in the years ahead. A few that caught our eye included WaveFire, a cloud-based HIPAA compliance management platform that simplifies the process of completing a security risk analysis in complex organizations; Belle, an online platform that provides on-demand health and beauty services; and Perception Health, a healthcare analytics firm that identifies and solves patient leakage issues for provider networks.

This year, the festival-style conference expanded to a four-day event featuring more than 140 speakers, networking sessions, live musical performances, a pitch competition, and the ninth annual meeting of TN HIMSS Summit of the Southeast, which emids sponsored. Gov. Bill Haslam capped off the festivities with exciting news that Netherlands-based consumer technology giant Philips will be opening a healthcare technology center in the Nashville area and creating more than 800 jobs. We look forward to welcoming Philips to Nashville!

Impact of Consumerism, Emerging Technologies

A Consumer Summit, titled “Disruption on Demand: Humanizing the Healthcare Paradigm,” kicked off the first day of Health:Further sessions at the Country Music Hall of Fame, with a star-studded lineup that included TV personality and health advocate Dr. Mehmet Oz, NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and CrossFit founder Greg Glassman. Speakers from the entertainment, hospitality and sports world shared stories of consumer-driven disruption and how those examples could apply to healthcare. Dr. Oz joined WebMD founder Jeff Arnold, both founders of the health and wellness platform Sharecare, which has offices in Franklin, TN, in discussing how attendees could use technology to build true engagement with healthcare consumers. “People do not change based on what they know; they change based on how they feel,” Dr. Oz told the audience. HTC Vive virtual reality product strategist Vinay Narayan followed up with a talk on how providers could use virtual reality headsets, not only to train doctors but also to better educate and motivate patients.

The rest of the conference, which was held at Music City Center and featured programming from TN HIMSS, explored disruptive technologies with the potential revolutionize healthcare, as well as barriers to change. We especially enjoyed the morning panel on artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, which highlighted the opportunities and challenges of using artificial intelligence in healthcare and precision medicine. Panelists agreed that while AI won’t replace physicians, it will allow them to be more efficient and make better decisions at the bedside. “More information is better,” said Damian Mingle, Chief Data Scientists for Intermedix, which equips organizations with technology and analytical tools to handle crisis management, revenue optimization and other health and safety concerns. “Getting that good information in the right hands of someone who knows how to synthesize that works really well.”

Driving Innovation from the Ground Up

Other standout speakers included Jessica Sweeney-Platt, Executive Director of Physician Performance Research for AthenaHealth, who shared data insights from high-performing physician networks; John Bass, Founder and CEO of Hashed Health, who explained the disruptive benefits of blockchain technology for healthcare; and a panel on consumerism and data analytics that featured the groundbreaking work of Nashville’s Center for Medical Interoperability. Another highlight was the conversation between leaders at Brookdale Senior Living and Lyft about the impact of the on-demand ride-sharing partnership they created for seniors. Lack of reliable transportation causes millions of seniors to miss or delay medical appointments, but Brookdale and Lyft are teaming up to alleviate this issue through an app that enables senior living communities to request rides on behalf of residents.

Also topping the conference agenda was a report on the state of healthcare reform from U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn. While she noted that recent legislation should pave the way for advancing telemedicine and other nontraditional models of care, Rep. Blackburn urged attendees to take the lead in modernizing how healthcare is delivered. “You guys are going to solve how healthcare is delivered,” she said. “It is not going to be solved in Washington.”

Along with the informative sessions and many networking opportunities, the highlight of Health:Further for us was getting the chance to mingle with up-and-coming healthcare entrepreneurs, hear their pitches, and look for ways we could offer guidance and resources to help.

“We definitely want to be a partner to early-stage ventures in the healthcare community and encourage them to come up with new ideas and technologies, because that helps our ecosystem overall,” said Rebekah Panepinto, Senior Director of Business Development for emids.

Image credit: Health:Further Festival

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