HLTH has always set high expectations for itself as a conference. Now in its fifth year, the November 13-16 event at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas will feel more like a festival than in previous years. In a phone interview with HLTH Head of Content Jody Tropeano, she said she and her team have sought to emphasize diversity in both the speaker lineup and mix of topics being covered. The content this year will have an expanded focus on health equity, women’s health, and wellness.
“We’ve been able to fine tune the topics that we cover and expand areas that attendees really care about,” Tropeano said. “I think every year the agenda just gets better and better.”
The conference will be an open plan format with the goal of creating a festival vibe, with eight stages within the massive expo hall where vendors and startups will exhibit and attendees will eat, drink and network. The idea is to bring together the content side of the conference with the exhibition and networking spaces so that there’s greater interaction between attendees.
“We’re hoping this really amps up the energy across the whole event so that we have people attending sessions who maybe wouldn’t have in past years and people going to visit exhibitor booths that wouldn’t have in past years,” Tropeano said.
This year the conference has moved away from structuring the agenda with big themes. In previous years there were 15 to 20 agenda themes, with back-to-back sessions fitting into each one. The change is intended to create a more flexible forum for presenting topics that stand out from previous events, such as sexual health and wellness, sleep health, fertility, and founder journeys.
Among the speakers at the conference will be Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, Delta Airlines Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting, and Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer.
One stage will be dedicated to presentations from healthcare executives, another will feature panel discussions. There will also be a stage devoted to the employer health experience geared to the chief people officer and benefits executives at companies. Yet another will highlight healthcare news to underscore the conference as a forum for breaking news and analysis, contributing to the festival buzz. There will also be room for more unconventional content, Tropeano said.
The changes also help HLTH to set this conference apart from its ViVE conference which debuted this year in March in Miami Beach. The conference reflects a more operational focus with conversations around health tech trends, policy and implementation. In 2023, it’s scheduled to take place in Nashville from March 26-29.
“I like to say…if HLTH is the ‘why,’ ViVE is the ‘how,’” Tropeano said.
Tropeano is particularly pleased with a new feature at the HLTH conference — WELL by HLTH. It is described on the website as “an ‘event within an event’ for consumer-focused health and wellness participants seeking a platform to drive brand awareness and create sustainable growth opportunities.” Companies taking part span wearables, fitness, mental wellness/mindfulness, metabolic health and cardio metabolic disease, nutrition, longevity, sexual health, sleep health, psychedelics, and food innovation.
“Consequently, both established institutions and emerging brands must align to sufficiently address the societal behavioral shift in seeking proactive self-care and start pivoting away from a predominantly sick-care system,” Tropeano said.
“We’re really seeing a huge boom in the direct-to-consumer space within healthcare. A lot of new companies are entering the marketplace. We’ll be featuring a plethora of D2C companies within apps, wearables, diagnostics, nutrition, etc. Attendees can hear about their unique models and why they decided to play their hand in the consumer marketplace first. I think it’s a huge trend and it will be interesting to see how incumbents respond to it.”
Women’s health is also a big theme this year and the event will include content devoted to maternal health to menopause, fertility, and family planning. So are health equity and preventive health.
“With a stronger emphasis on prevention over sick care, people are taking their health into their own hands to learn about their individual risks and ways to curb unhealthy behaviors through home-based diagnostics and wearables,” Tropeano said. “I’m really hopeful that we’ll see a lot more advancements in personalized health and wellness with the consumer in the driver’s seat.”
Two years later with the federal public health emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic still in place, the public health crisis continues to be part of healthcare conversations and Tropeano expects that to continue at HLTH, but in a different way from the past two events. She noted that the impact of the politicization of health and science in the past couple of years will also be an important talking point.
It will be exciting to see how Tropeano’s vision takes shape at the conference and impacts the future direction of the annual event.
To learn more about the conference and to register, click here.