Program Highlights, a Surprise Offer and an Opportunity to Make a Difference

ATA 2020 Conference Logo

One of the benefits I’ve always enjoyed throughout my career has been meeting, engaging with and learning from many different thought leaders and influencers working within and adjacent to the connected health space. As Program Chair for the Connected Health Conference, we are delighted to have many of these visionaries presenting on the main stage this year. As a lead-in to CHC19, I am currently interviewing many of our keynote speakers for my podcast, so you can get to know them and preview the exciting programming for this year’s event. We’ll begin to release these next week. Look for them under the “Well/Connected” banner wherever you access your podcasts.

CHC19 Program Highlights

I am absolutely thrilled with how the content for this year’s CHC is coming together. Our conference theme, Designing for Healthy Habits and Better Outcomes, looks at system, product/service, and behavior change design.

CHC
  • Chris Dancy, “The World’s Most Connected Human,” explores digital connectivity and our health and life experiences
  • Louise Aronson, UCSF and author, Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life, and Debra Whitman, AARP, will join me on the main stage to discuss how policy, economic and cultural design can promote a thriving aging population
  • Margaret Laws, HopeLab, will look at the ways technology can aid teens and young adults
  • Partners HealthCare’s Tom Sequist will host a discussion on the power of partnerships between providers and public health officials to improve care delivery
  • Jim Harper, Sonde Health; Tal Wenderow, Beyond Verbal; Tony Keating, ResApp Health; and Sub Datta, CompanionMx, will reveal the latest evidence and applications of vocal biomarkers
  • Ain Aaviksoo, Guardtime; Irving Wladawsky-Berger, MIT Connection Science Initiative; and John Halamka, Beth Israel Lahey Technology Exploration Center, answer the question, “Digital Identity: Friend or Foe?”
  • We’ll also host a half-day session, “Getting Real with Artificial Intelligence,” looking at ways AI is contributing to patient engagement

I hope to see you there. I promise it will be a great investment of your time and you’ll reap benefits from attending.

The Surprise Offer

As we were entering the home stretch on this year’s conference, a surprise phone call came in from my colleague and friend John Glaser. ATA, an organization that I have been affiliated with for years and have great loyalty to, was looking for someone to step in to fill a void. The planned President-Elect of the association was unable to assume that role due to a career shift, and John was calling to ask if I would consider stepping in. On one level, this was a difficult decision because, having served as ATA president 15 years ago, I appreciate the level of commitment required. But candidly, I did not have to think too long before saying yes.

An Opportunity to Make a Difference

ATA is at an inflection point, with the hiring of the very talented Ann Mond Johnson as their CEO. There is a new energy, a renewed vision and growing interest in the work ATA is doing. As I look at the evolution of the world of telehealth, we’ve achieved a great deal in my 25 years of involvement; the kindling is there to now start a fire. However, physician adoption is still hovering around 15% and to move telehealth into the mainstream, we have to do better than that. To carry the analogy forward, we need to add some sparks to the kindling, and I think ATA is uniquely positioned to do that.

ATA 2020 Conference Logo

I am grateful that ATA’s board was supportive of bringing me on and now it is official — I will serve as President-Elect until their annual meeting (May 3-5, 2020, in Phoenix – YOU MUST GO), where I will then assume the role of President. I am so very excited to work with Ann, her staff, the board, and our members to accelerate telehealth adoption.

Of course, we all know that if you commit to too many things, none of them will get done well. It is with this reality in mind that I regretfully must announce that CHC 2019 will be my last as Program Chair. I can’t thank my colleagues at HIMSS and the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) enough for the productive partnership over the last three years. Since 2017, the Partners Connected Health team has focused on curated content for the Connected Health Conference and the HIMSS/PCHAlliance team focused on logistics. This was and is a very synergistic combination. Each of the three events produced by this partnership has surpassed the previous, in terms of thought-provoking content and networking opportunities. I promise this year will be no different and I am fully committed to that success.

As I reflect back on the Connected Health Symposium that our team at Partners hosted for 13 years (2003-2016), and the joint Connected Health Conference we produced with HIMSS/PCHAlliance (2017-2019), I realize there has been a connected health-related event in Boston each fall for 16 years. For the past seven years, we’ve convened at the Seaport World Trade Center, which is closing for renovations in the spring of 2020. While the future of the Connected Health Conference is unclear, HIMSS has indicated they are planning to continue to carry the connected health content banner, but I don’t know those details.
What I do know is that I’m very much looking forward to an exciting year ahead, as I become immersed in my new role at ATA. We have already begun to explore a number of new opportunities and partnerships, so stay tuned as the next chapter unfolds. In the meantime, I’ll plan to see you in Boston, at CHC2019.