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The Chief Content Officer for a New Healthcare Conference Shares Her Perspectives on Needed Conversations in the Industry

March 23, 2018
by Mark Hagland
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Constance Sjoquist, the chief content officer at HLTH, shares her perspectives on what it is that the HLTH Conference’s leaders are hoping to bring to the industry in Las Vegas in May

A new conference, “HLTH: The Future of Healthcare,” will take place May 6-9 at the Aria Resort and Casino hotel in Las Vegas. Healthcare Informatics is a media partner with the New York-based HLTH, an organization created a year ago, and which is focused on bringing forward a unique, c-level conference, for policy leaders, provider leaders, payer and purchaser leaders, pharmaceutical executives, vendor executives, venture capital funders, and many others connected to the future of healthcare, and which is the developer of the new conference.

HLTH is the brainchild of Jonathan Weiner, a well-known investor who has created similar conferences in the financial technology (fintech) sector. Weiner joined Oak HC/FT, described on its website as “a premier venture capital fund investing in early to growth stage tech-enabled companies investing in Healthcare Information & Services (“HC”) and Financial Services Technology (“FT”),” as a venture partner in 2014, after a stint as head of Global Business Development for Google Wallet and Payments, and a long track record of creating and managing new ventures in a variety of industries. As Weiner explains on HLTH’s website, “Healthcare needs its own forum. HLTH is my third industry-building initiative designed from the ground up around the technologies and trends that are completely reshaping how the ‘hard’ conversations take place and how actionable solutions are shared. Key to our approach is the inclusion of representatives from across the healthcare continuum that are providing tech-enabled services to drive efficiencies and better health outcomes. In attendance,” he notes, “will be key players, including providers, employers, policy makers, disruptive startups, established vendors, and leading investors. None of the companies—whether startups or established players—bringing these disruptive innovations to market have achieved their full potential. But the implications of their business models and the relentlessness of their teams mean that they will increasingly define the future of healthcare.”

HLTH was created in March 2017. One of its early hires was Constance Sjoquist as chief content officer. Sjoquist had served as an analyst at Gartner for a number of years. A July 2017 press release stated that “HLTH, the first-of-its-kind event covering the innovation in healthcare that is driving substantial reduction in costs and dramatic increase in quality, today announced Constance Sjoquist has been appointed Chief Content Officer. Sjoquist has extensive experience helping companies—payers, providers, employers, pharma, technology vendors, start-ups, investors, and government entities – navigate the complex healthcare landscape and reimagine their path forward.”

In the press release, Weiner stated that, “Given Constance’s deep healthcare expertise, she understands the most significant challenges facing the complex healthcare ecosystem today and has the ability to look outside the industry and reimagine what’s possible. For HLTH,” he said, “Constance is leaning on this ability and expertise to structure the event in a way that delivers value to each attendee, incites participation and spurs transformation. Her unique understanding of the people that need to be brought together will ultimately spur dialogue, partnerships and action that will drive the industry forward.”

Sjoquist spoke recently with Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding the development of the conference, and its content. Below are excerpts from that interview.

Tell me about the origins of the conference, and how its content has taken shape?

I was introduced to Jonathan Weiner through a phone call out of the blue. He said, ‘Your name’s come up, you’ve written a lot in healthcare.’ This was over a year ago. He shared his background, and talked about how he had developed fintech content early on, such as around the use of debit cards in retail. And he developed TxVia, which was a mobile platform for mobile payment, for the Android; thinking about how fintech could solve problems for the unbanked. Google ended up acquiring that business, and he led Google Wallet development for a few years. He was an entrepreneur, investor, etc., and was always going to events to meet people, network, and so on. And he found it really unsatisfying that there were all these separate events, siloed events, within industries.

So he started a trade organization that’s still in place today, and eventually put together a marketing organization to promote investment in fintech. And he came up in 2012 with a new catalyst model for a fintech conference. He started out the conference with a hackathon, which is now the world’s largest hackathon in fintech. Within that structure, too, they created a blockchain hackathon before that was well known. And it’s called Money2020. And it’s still the one place where the CEOs, disruptors, incumbents, policy people, in fintech, anyone thinking of taking advantage of new ways of thinking, innovating, partnering.

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