Does the new meeting have what it takes to break the mold?
A health tech conference in Las Vegas, Nevada? It’s certainly not the first. But HLTH—pronounced “health”—is the newest meeting on the scene, and it’s aiming to make a splash in its first incarnation.
The upstart sold out access to the inaugural event, with about 3,500 attendees confirmed. That’s nothing compared to the 45,000+ that descended on Sin City in March for HIMSS, but HLTH is looking to differentiate itself in a number of ways.
For one, the meeting is a venture project in and of itself. HLTH is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur and venture veteran Jonathan Weiner. It was built on a foundation of more than $5 million in venture capital. Announcing his intent to start the event, Weiner wrote that, “Our ultimate mission is to be a catalyst to ignite the transformations necessary to improve healthcare,” by breaking down silos between all of the industry’s stakeholders.
The word “disrupt” is tattooed across the meeting’s materials, onsite signage, and session titles. There’s a heavy emphasis on the new entrants to the sphere, with sessions led by representatives from companies like Google and Uber, and also a heavy presence from genomics firms like Orig3n and the ubiquitous 23andMe.
HLTH is also touting itself as a place for industry players to make big news. There are over 200 embargoed announcements expected to come out of this week’s event, including product launches, funding rounds, and new partnerships.
It’s also banking on splashy events within the event—including a concert from Wyclef Jean. There will be a startup pitch competition, where 2 winning startups will each get $50,000. And the meeting was preceded by a 2-day “hackathon” in which 84 teams competed to build a novel healthcare solution from the ground up. The winning entry was a program that worked to tackle anxiety with genetics and wearable technology. The winner, Zen, worked alone and pocketed a $30,000 first place prize.
Does HLTH have the potential to break the mold? Healthcare Analytics News™ will be onsite all week to find out, pumping out articles and filming video interviews. Follow us here on the site and on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.
"The theme of this meeting is simple: Step out of your office, and step into HLTH," founder Weiner said in his opening comments today. "This is going to be an annual event, and we’re not going to get everything right in the first year," he added, saying that the conference welcomed feedback.