Making Digital Doable

2019 Healthcare Summit Highlights

This week, we held our 6th Annual Healthcare Summit. Each year, we strive to improve every aspect of the event and I can honestly say that this year’s Summit exceeded those previous. The conversations were rich, our speakers were diverse in their experience and points of view, and we captured the energy and excitement of our host city Nashville, a thriving healthcare and technology hub many of us at emids are proud to call home.

I mentioned in my closing remarks on Wednesday how strongly we feel about providing meaningful takeaways year-over-year because the learnings received are only valuable if they can be translated into action and progress for you and your organization.

Given the focus of this year’s Summit, “Designed to Care: Human-Led Healthcare in a Digital-First World,” leading into the event, our team set out to demystify the pursuit of digital with a sort of event primer: our series on The Elements of Simple. As the leader in digital transformation solutions for the healthcare industry, it was not surprising to hear a wealth of discussion and debate around what we consider the five core components (strategy, design, experience, data and convergence) organizations must master in order to succeed in the current climate where digital is king.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll provide comprehensive recaps of Summit and pre-Summit activities. In the meantime, we’re sharing event highlights specific to making digital doable.

Simplifying Digital: Five Pillars


Through our research, we’ve discovered that many struggling and failed digital transformation efforts can be attributed to the lack of a sound execution strategy that aligns with business goals. Wanting to delve even further into the topic and hear first-hand from those on the front lines, we gathered close to 30 senior strategy leaders on Tuesday afternoon to discuss what’s truly blocking organizational transformation.

Budget constraints, innovation disparities across the industry, regulatory challenges and failure to see value in and prioritize digital were all cited as hurdles in transformation. The overarching takeaway was that, at its core, healthcare delivery is tactical, not strategic, and collective short sightedness and impatience in seeing measurable change is leading to disappointment and stunted growth.


It’s undeniable that consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to digital transformation, and Summit speakers unanimously agreed that their needs and preferences must be at the heart of any digital strategy.

To understand how to effectively leverage design thinking, a “creative, human-centered problem-solving approach,” healthcare can look to the consumer goods industry which has successfully implemented the approach and improved the bottom line. Lululemon’s done a particularly good job of intimately understanding its audience, understanding how its consumers’ shopping habits are driven by individuals’ relationships with health and wellness.

Panelist Tom Waller, Lululemon’s Senior Vice President of Whitespace™, spoke of the company’s use of design thinking, describing how it’s constructed an entire culture around its investment in the mind-body connection. Its commitment to the “Sweat Life” is tangible. Lululemon’s Chicago store employs 45 “ambassadors” and is a physical expression and personification of “how to fully live the Sweat Life.” Ambassadors’ purpose is not to sell clothing, but to help customers on their journey to fitness and well-being.


In the shift to fee-for-service where reimbursements and incentives are tied to quality, improving patient experience is top-of-mind for providers and payers.

As part of the panel discussion on Medicare Advantage, Privia Health’s Chief Executive Officer Shawn Morris pointed out the tremendous value the physician organization puts on patient experience. Alongside quality, affordability and bringing the joy back to medicine, it rounds out Privia’s top four organizational priorities.


The timing of the Wall Street Journal’s story on Google’s relationship with Ascension and collection of patient medical records contributed to heavy discussion on data and its critical yet complex role in digital transformation. While the consensus was that data is helping, not hindering, healthcare’s ability to successfully play in the digital world, there was much concern expressed about data ownership, sharing, and the ethics around it.

In the panel discussion on designing for transparency and trust, Humana’s Chief Digital Health and Analytics Officer Heather Cox was adamant about the need for data democratization, saying if patients don’t own their data, trust between individuals, payers and providers won’t be achieved.

Representing the provider perspective, Envision Healthcare’s Chief Information Officer Kristin Darby elaborated on Cox’s sentiment, saying the way data is captured is not beneficial for patients, and data must be made useable and consumable to create trust and protect the interaction between patients and providers.

Data was touched on in each panel, with executives from the NFL and Teladoc also weighing in. If one thing was clear at the Summit’s end, it’s that discussion on the topic will continue, and heat up, for the foreseeable future, especially given this week’s news.


A key takeaway from this year’s Summit is the importance of partnership, particularly across industries. This came across loud and clear during our Lunch and Learn session during which Senator Bill Frist, M.D., hosted a live broadcast of his new podcast, A Second Opinion. Sen. Frist spoke with guests Paul Fipps (Under Armour) and Gyre Renwick (Lyft ) about each company’s cross-over into healthcare and how the organizations have successfully used technology to help and satisfy customers.

Just Getting Started

As you can tell, there was no lack of stimulating and varied discussion at this year’s Healthcare Summit. An advocate of starting small and providing information in digestible bites, this is merely a sampling of Summit-related content to come.

Thank you to everyone who traveled from far and near to join us at this year’s event. For those who were unable to attend, we invite you to take a look at our LinkedIn and Twitter accounts for additional snippets (#emidsHCsummit) and keep an eye out for forthcoming summaries.

And remember, if you were unable to participate in-person, there’s less than a year until next year’s Summit!

Michael Hollis, President Strategic Business at emids, oversees the company’s marketing and sales operations. He is responsible for overall sales effectiveness, business development and client relationships, as well as for articulating the company’s service offerings to prospective clients and industries. Michael is an active member of Nashville’s professional and nonprofit community, serving on several advisory boards and as a committee member of the Nashville Technology Council and the Nashville Health Care Council’s Leadership Health Care initiative. Be sure to connect with Michael on LinkedIn.

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