Medical Meetings

Not-Your-Average Medical Conferences

Six medical conferences that are doing things a little differently.

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.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.