HLTH 2022: 4 Takeaways From the Largest Digital Health Conference

HLTH’s annual digital health conference drew over 9,000 healthcare industry experts to the Venetian Expo in Las Vegas this year. In case you missed it, we captured the top 4 takeaways here.

Event Roundup: HLTH 2022

This year nearly 10,000 attendees, over 800 sponsors, and 300 speakers from across the healthcare ecosystem came out in droves to attend the four-day HLTH 2022 Conference in Las Vegas.

Since its inception in 2017, HLTH has quickly grown into the healthcare industry’s #1 must-attend event. And this year’s conference only further solidified that. Crowds of healthcare mainstays, digital health innovators, payor groups, investors, and everyone in between came together to answer the question: what is the future of healthcare?

Here are 4 key takeaways we gained from this year’s event:

1. Profitability in digital health is king

    After years of relentless growth, 2022 was a reality-check year for digital healthcare. In the wake of a record-low year of venture funding in digital health, the past few months have been marked with layoffs, losses, and skepticism about the future of the industry. And despite that, the energy was palpable at this year’s conference.

    This topic seeped into most sessions, but one session in particular, “Doom or Boom? Digital Health’s Financial Future,” went into detail on what to expect moving forward. Cheri Mowrey, head of U.S. investment banking at Morgan Stanley, predicted that companies won’t resume going public until 2024.

    Next, Michael Yang, managing partner at OMERS Ventures, said to expect the market to get worse before it gets better.

    Finally, Mowery made the salient point that now, more than ever, “profitability is king.”

    Are you evaluating your profitability model for 2023? Check out our latest e-book “How to Achieve Profitability in Virtual Care.”

    2. The future of care is hybrid

      We’ve been hearing this claim across the industry for years. But it became clear at HLTH that our hybrid healthcare future goes beyond the combination of in-person and virtual healthcare. It’s about companies leaning into contrasting tactics to meet patients wherever they are in their health journey — not just physically, but also financially and mentally.

      “Hybrid isn’t just about care models,” said Sarah Jones Simmer, CEO of Found, “it’s also about patient acquisition — both D2C and B2B.”

      While some companies (like Amazon) have made big moves in the D2C space, others like Calm and Noom showcased their strategic moves into the B2B space at HLTH. As the economy continues to hit patients hard, these payor and employer offerings offer patients access to care at a lower cost. Just like virtual and in-person, B2B and D2C offerings will coexist to give patients the best access to care.

      3. Women are healthcare

        Women have long been known as the healthcare decision makers, but the emphasis on women’s health was more pronounced than ever at this year’s event, where women made up 54% of speakers.

        In the wake of the midterm elections and the Dobbs ruling, it was empowering to hear from speakers like Planned Parenthood CEO, Alexis McGill Johnson, on the future of women’s health and what companies or investors can do to continue supporting women.

        “Now is not the time to be neutral,” Johnson said, “You have a choice about where you do business, with whom you do business [and] it’s really important to stand with your values at this moment.”

        4. Innovative solutions to clinician challenges

          The great resignation remains one of the greatest challenges in healthcare right now. And this year at HLTH, the tone around clinician exodus shifted from temporary and pandemic-related to a persistent problem that we must innovate against.

          Multiple panelists pointed to one major solution: investing in team-based approaches to care. Companies can activate lower-level frontline workers like wellness coaches, patient liaisons, and community health workers to scale solutions without further burning out physicians.

          During her main stage session, Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart's former executive vice president for health and wellness, summarized her vision for care teams at Walmart:

          “It’s recognizing that primary care is not just 15 minutes with a doctor. It’s a community health worker helping you get fresh food to your home. And delivering it to your home. It’s getting dental and behavioral health. The data shows that team-based care in a value-based model is good for outcomes, good for the people wanting to come to work to do it, and good for lowering healthcare costs.”

          Check out this webinar for more insights on how digital health companies can overcome challenges to attract and retain a virtual clinician workforce. Webinar: Virtual Care and the Clinician Workforce: Strategies for Attraction and Retention.

          We hope you enjoyed HLTH 2022 as much as we did! It was great to reconnect in person and discuss the future of healthcare. If we didn't have a chance to connect, let's talk.