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We spoke to an organizer of last week’s HLTH meeting to find out how the conference tried to bring new voices and demographics into the conference circuit.
From its inception, HLTH was meant to be a “disruptive” new event. But to set itself apart from different health-tech conferences throughout the industry, it had to deliver sessions that brought new perspectives—and new speakers—to the table.
At the meeting, Healthcare Analytics News™ spoke with Constance Sjoquist, the Chief Content Officer for HLTH. She was behind a lot of the content curation at the event, and she said early on that the meeting wanted to avoid retreads.
“We try to avoid going backward into what’s wrong and educating people, because the caliber of attendees at the event doesn’t warrant us going backward,” she said. “It warrants us going from here forward, and so we want speakers who have a passion and a solution and really want to step out and be the change that they think is possible in the industry.”
With that in mind, Sjoquist said the organizers wanted to focus on people with uniquely personal stories and motivations. But the need for new perspectives was not lost on her. The health-tech industry, and the conference circuit that surrounds it, have historically been a male-dominated realm. That’s starting to change, Sjoquist said.
“Going forward, we’re starting to get to the personal level and the consumer level. When you get to that level, females are much more involved in the decision making around healthcare,” she said. The wants and needs of female patients, she said, are beginning to be better addressed by new tech solutions. That trend can start to draw a new audience into the conversation, and eventually shift “who can be developing and investing in the possibility of change in healthcare.”