Health IT

4 digital health conferences that should be on your fall agenda


With debates of technology replacing doctors, digital health conferences are not only offering snapshots of how providers and technology companies are working together, but also inspiring interesting discussions on the future of healthcare. How physicians prescribe apps is becoming standardized. Healthcare IT companies are developing systems spanning patient registration to patient adherence.

Here are four of the most innovative conferences that should produce some interesting discussions on how healthcare providers are adapting these technologies and the ethical issues at the heart of healthcare reform.


What: Health 2.0 Fall Conference

When and Where:  Oct. 7-10, Hilton Hotel, Union Square San Francisco

What’s interesting: The conference discussion is driven by startup and growth-stage technology company CEOs using product demos to highlight tools from noninvasive diagnosis, finding a physician, improving the inpatient experience in hospital and financial management and decision-making, healthy aging and employee wellness.

Startups: Pitching sessions across the conference. Ten finalists in the DC to VC national health IT competition will present their products Oct. 10.

What: New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference

When and Where: Oct. 15-16, Pier 60 New York, New York

What’s interesting: A keynote address from Dr. David J. Brailer, chairman of Health Evolution Partners and champion of entrepreneurship in healthcare IT. He was the first national coordinator for health information technology. There’s a panel discussion on health IT tools that have helped standardize processes to ease the shift changes when many of the medical errors can occur. Another panel will look at some of the lessons learned from implementing healthcare information exchanges in the state of New York, which should spark some interesting discussions.

Startups: There will also be pitching sessions throughout the conference.

What: Connected Health Symposium

When and Where: Oct. 25-26, Boston, Park Plaza and Hotel Towers

What’s interesting: Among the keynotes are Juan Enriquez, managing director at Excel Venture Management, a VC that invests in companies using transformative life science technologies to solve problems in healthcare. He’s also the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project. Joseph Coughlin, the director of the MIT AgeLab, is popping in on a number of digital conferences, including this one. He looks at how demographic change, technology, social trends and consumer behavior will converge to drive future innovations in business and government. Another keynoter, Esther Dyson, the chairman of EDventure Holdings, should have some interesting insights on entrepreneurs in emerging digital technologies. One panel discussion that should fuel some debate is whether or not a smartphone standard is accelerating connected health or is just a fad.

Startups: Sessions of 10 to 12 demos of products.

What: mHealth Summit

When and Where: Dec. 3-5, Gaylord National Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

What’s interesting: Some of the sessions that look like they could spark some interesting discussions include lessons learned from mobile health which suggests there will be some talk on what hasn’t worked — that could prove to be a great source of insight. mHealth and the military will probably shed some light on some interesting healthcare trends that could be making their way into the civilian world. There’s also a particularly controversial one: “Can We Have Healthcare Without Doctors?”

Startups: Rock Health and StartUp Health are sponsoring startup pavilions. Last year’s exhibit hall included startups from across the country packed together.

Some other promising conferences that have not announced an agenda yet include Wired and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conference “Living by the Numbers,” Oct. 15-16; University of Southern California’s Body Computing conference, Oct. 5 in Los Angeles; and Medicine X at Stanford University, Sept. 28-30. For a more extensive list of upcoming innovation conferences, have a look at Paul Sonnier’s Digital Health group on LinkedIn.