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The 6 Health-Tech Events You Must See at SXSW


From tech and psychedelics to virtual reality and hacks against the opioid crisis, the subjects of these sessions have drawn the interest of South by Southwest organizers.

healthcare sxsw,sxsw big data,sxsw health,hca news

Photo has been resized. Courtesy of SXSW Conferences & Festivals. Photo by Steven Snow.

When South by Southwest kicks off in March, the city of Austin, Texas, will be thrust into a whirlwind of music, art, and tech. With so much going on, it’s smart to build a schedule of the events you most want to attend. So, how about a cheat sheet? With plenty of input from the SXSW team, we at Healthcare Analytics News™ created a can’t-miss map of all things healthcare technology, for idealistic innovators and hospital heroes alike.

First, the basics: SXSW Health runs from March 9-13, though SXSW as a whole runs an extra 5 days. (We remind you, by the way, that this overlaps with HIMSS 2018, in Las Vegas, so keep that in mind when booking travel and accommodations.) The SXSW health track includes roughly 100 sessions, meetups, and the like—and many of them may appeal to our audience, so it’s wise to check out the full list.

If, for whatever reason, you can’t make it to SXSW, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll cover the sessions named below and others, fresh off a busy stint at HIMSS. During each conference, we plan to home in on artificial intelligence, and you can expect another SXSW preview on that topic alone.

Now for the good stuff. We reached out to SXSW organizers to get their ideas on what health-tech leaders should prioritize, and they offered a comprehensive list of sessions that certainly got our minds buzzing. Here it is, providing for a bit of addition and subtraction, along with descriptions, times, and locations.

1) When Healthcare Goes High-Tech. This featured session includes Michael Dell, the founder of the Dell, in conversation with Clay Johnston, MD, the first-ever dean of University of Texas Austin’s Dell Medical School. They will discuss what they’re doing now and what 30 years of tech lessons say about challenges facing healthcare.

11 a.m.—12 p.m. March 10, Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

2) Hacking the Opioid Epidemic. A panel discussion among tech heavyweights, this session stands to highlight how hospitals are using behavioral science, data, and analytics to combat what is perhaps the public health crisis of our time. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something to take home to your health system. (Brush up beforehand and read our cover story on how other corners of healthcare are using cutting-edge technologies to fight the opioid battle.)

12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m. March 13, Austin Convention Center, Room 9AB

3) Virtual Reality for Empathy Training in Trauma. You probably hear a lot about virtual reality (VR) and how it might transform healthcare. You also might be shaking your head. But this session isn’t slated to be a hype machine; rather, it focuses on a very practical use of the technology: training for healthcare professionals. VR could help your team better emphasize with patients undergoing trauma, ultimately improving their experience.

3:30 p.m.—4:30 p.m. March 10, Austin Convention Center, Room 8ABC

4) Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase. This is the place to scout the future of tech, for healthcare and beyond, spanning 65 contenders in 13 categories. Although the advances on display here might be a few years from reaching your hospital, they look to be game changers. A pen-like device, for example, promises to detect cancerous tissue in real time. Another project aims to use machine learning to combat lung cancer. The showcase is a must-see for anyone who wants to peer into what could be the future of medicine.

11 a.m.—5 p.m. March 11, Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon C, D, and E, 4th Floor

5) These Genome Writers Will Change Medicine. Hear directly from the bright minds who are programming cells. This new breed of bioengineer is developing new therapeutics, slashing medication costs, and “doing science for good.” At some point, their work is likely to affect all of medicine, so it can’t hurt to preview what’s to come.

5 p.m.—6 p.m. March 12, Austin Convention Center, Room 9AB

6) Healing the Mind: Design, Tech, and Psychedelics. That seems like quite a bit of information for a single panel discussion, but the panelists (including Danielle Schlosser of Google Verily) promise to tie it all together. How do digital health and magic mushrooms intersect? It’s all part of the “radical future of mental health.”

5 p.m.—6 p.m. March 9, Austin Convention Center, Room 8ABC

Remember to stay connected to Healthcare Analytics News™ as our team delivers top-notch multimedia storytelling from the spring’s hottest health-tech conferences.

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