Why NextMed Health Is the One Conference You Shouldn’t Miss

“Over 3 full days of sessions, dozens of TED-style talks, intimate workshops, and an engaging innovation lab, I left San Diego a different person than when I arrived … that says a lot given I hang out in the future most of the time in my daily work.”

Zayna Khayat, Ph.D, Applied Health Futurist, Conference Attendee
Image Credit: NextMed Health 2023

After a three-year hiatus, the annual gathering of the future of health community resumed in San Diego with a refreshed brand, NextMed Health. This is the once-a-year space to get a ‘state of the state’ update on shifts underway in the future of health, healthcare, and medicine. This includes care models, key populations with unmet needs, and – of course – emerging technologies that are developing on an exponential curve.

Having spent over forty years attending healthcare conferences worldwide, I’m pretty jaded when assessing the quality and benefits of attending an event. But I’ve been following this conference over the years (since 2016 when it was Exponential Medicine) and have been consistently impressed by the quality of the programs and the take-home value of the information presented. If you are interested in the future of healthcare, this is a must-attend event, in my opinion. Why do I say that? There are multiple reasons.

The Organizers – NextMed Health builds on the success of the Exponential Medicine program, which Dr. Daniel Kraft has spearheaded. Daniel is a Harvard & Stanford trained physician-scientist who lives at the interface of healthcare, technology & innovation. He founded, chaired, and curated Exponential Medicine for a decade before evolving it to NextMed Health. He is an Aspen Institute Health Innovation Fellow and Kaufman fellow. Shawna Butler, RN, MBA Combining clinical acumen, health economics, and technology to catalyze cross-sector collaboration that democratizes and delivers better health, experiences, and outcomes, she brings sharp wit, (un)common sense, and empathy-driven design to projects worth doing. Her talent is scanning the horizon for game-changing patterns and identifying + connecting the clever optimists provoking them.

The Faculty – includes more than 70 leading thinkers, icons, and practitioners from around the globe. They provide examples and insight into the right-now landscape of converging technologies shaping the healthcare ecosystem and lessons on the ‘how-to’s to leverage new possibilities into meaningful scale and impact. Mainstage programming is complemented by over 20 interactive breakout sessions and a hands-on Innovation Lab featuring over 60 transformational ventures. Here’s a link to this year’s faculty.

The Content – The breadth and depth of the information presented over the three days of the conference is staggering. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the concepts and innovations presented and imagining the opportunities they open up. Here’s a link to the program.

The Now, Near, Next framework – I loved how each faculty member incorporated what is here NOW in clinical practice, what is NEAR (in proof of concept testing), and what is NEXT into their talks.

“I left with a feeling that we are truly at an inflection point on our exponential journey.”

Zayna Khayat, Ph.D., Applied Health Futurist, Conference Attendee

The opportunity to watch via live streaming – I applaud the fact that the conference organizers decided to live stream the event this year. Since attendance is by application and invitation and is limited to 600 industry shapers making solid contributions in their fields, and since some of us old guys have limited financial resources available for registration, hotel, and travel expenses, the ability to watch in real time was greatly appreciated.

Making the conference videos available on YouTube – Having the videos available to view again to capture key conclusions, concepts, and graphics is invaluable. Here’s a link to the videos on the NextMed Health website.

Providing a crowdsourced conference summary document – What a terrific idea! Instead of searching for summaries and conclusions, having a crowdsourced document puts relevant links and summaries at your fingertips. Here’s a link to the document. And here’s a link to a video where Dr. Kraft describes the effort and his vision for it. Bravo!

I’ve quoted Zayna Khayat, Ph.D., several times in this post. She’s done a fantastic job of summarizing her experience at the 2023 NextMed conference in a series of five LinkedIn posts. Here’s a link to the first of these five posts, and you can link to the other four at the end of each article.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the NextMed Conference. This should be the model that others follow when planning and executing successful healthcare conferences in the future. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for next year!

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