Not-Your-Average Medical Conferences

Author: Barbara Palmer       

As health care and technology converges, how can medical meetings stay relevant? The number of medicine-focused conferences that bring in a wide range of disciplines and diverse audiences is growing. Some of the most influential — and one newcomer to watch — include:

  1. TEDMED, Nov. 14–16, Palm Springs, California, — Created by TED founder Richard Wurman, TEDMED is now operated by a nonprofit foundation. In addition to TED-style 18-minute talks from a variety of disciplines on topics related to health care, TEDMEDLive streams sessions free of charge to teaching hospitals; medical, nursing, and public-health schools; academic institutions; and government agencies.
  2. CES Digital Health Summit, Jan. 10–11, Las Vegas, — Formerly the International Consumer Electronics Show, CES is owned by the Consumer Technology Association, and attracts more than 170,000 attendees from 150 countries. For nine years, CES has presented a digital health conference track and exhibitions, showcasing innovations including virtual surgical training, biometric sensing, VR, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies. A sample session title for 2018: “Digital Therapeutics Explode Onto the Scene.”
  3. SXSW Interactive, Health and Wellness, March 9–13, Austin, Texas, — Health and wellness tracks at SXSW are geared to the entire health-care ecosystem, from patients to providers, designers, entrepreneurs, and investors. Sample session: “Fighting the Cesarean Epidemic With Phones & Data.”
  4. Spotlight Health, Aspen Ideas Festival, June 21–24, Aspen, Colorado, — For five years, a multidisciplinary program dedicated to health and health-care innovations has preceded the Aspen Ideas Festival. Organized by the Aspen Institute’s Medicine and Society Program, the event offers continuing medical education credits for physicians and nurses.
  5. Medicine X/ED, April 28–29, Palo Alto, California, — A project of Stanford University’s Anesthesia, Informatics, and Media Lab, Medicine X bills itself as a “medical-education conference for everyone.” The program takes an academic, research-based approach to emerging technologies and the future of medical education, including a focus on patient involvement.
  6. HLTH, May 6–9, Las Vegas, — According to conference founder Jonathan Weiner, the brand-new HLTH aims to be the first large-scale industry event that pulls together the entire health-care world at a very senior level, including providers, employers, policy makers, startups, established vendors, and investors. HLTH is expected to launch with 2,000 attendees, 200-plus CEOs and company founders, and 300-plus speakers. The conference will have five tracks dedicated to innovations, how roles are shifting within the industry, genomics, uses of data, and product demonstrations.

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