As we continue to build smart, value-centric health plans for employers across the country, our CEO Jaja Okigwe was invited to speak on the topic a panel at HLTH 2021 in Boston recently, with other First Choice Health team members attending talks throughout the conference to take in the latest trends. 

If you're not familiar, HLTH (pronounced "health") is one of the world's leading healthcare conferences, bringing together the entire health ecosystem to share ideas on health innovation and transformation.

Joined by Dr. Rhonda Randall of United HealthCare (EVP and Chief Medical Officer, United Healthcare Employer and Individual), Fay Rotenberg of Firefly Health (President and CEO) and Patrick Quigley of Sidecar Health (Co-Founder and CEO), Jaja walked the audience through the disconnect between the all-time-high levels of healthcare spending that the industry is currently experiencing, and whether it actually equals high-quality or high-value care. 

Along with some traditional approaches focused on minor tweaks around the margins, the group covered a variety of different benefit structures that might reduce costs and increase value - from radical changes to more philosophical ones. It was a fascinating conversation with a wide range of diverse voices moderated by Paige Minemyer, Senior Editor of FierceHealthcare.

The event was in-person for the first time since 2019 and embraced the strictest COVID-19 protocols early on to make sure those attending in-person were comfortable. Following that, it was clear that in-person networking was back; you could feel the energy in the air. For many, the event was the first in-person conference since COVID lockdown started, and probably the first travel for many as well.

In terms of the other topics at the conference, the prevalence of behavioral health solutions continued to dominate the exhibit floor, session content, and hallway discussions. It was no surprise to see so many different point solutions in the behavioral health space, with each offering presenting a slightly different and nuanced approach. Additionally, many non-behavioral health companies have launched either a behavioral vertical or partnered with a behavioral health company to add to their base healthcare offering.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two years saw an explosion of deals and this year's HLTH seemed to confirm that this trend isn't ending anytime soon; as with many conferences along these lines, it was hard to not run into either people looking to fund a new idea or companies looking for funding.

For those of you closely watching the healthcare conference circuit, you can also catch our Chief Financial Officer Anisha Sood speaking at the upcoming HFMA Annual Conference, which runs from Nov. 8-10.

Posted In:  Healthcare Industry Innovation

About Ron Cornell

Ron serves as Director of Product Innovation. With more than 20 years of experience, Ron has spent much of his career influencing, engaging, and working directly with C-suite customers from government, managed care, pharmaceutical, and technology sectors. He previously served as a strategy and marketing consultant for numerous healthcare startups in New York City and Seattle, before transitioning to Premera Blue Cross in marketing, innovation, and strategic development roles.