This year’s “Health:Further” takes on a festival persona

HealthFurtherBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Like an update to your iOS operating system or an upgrade of an existing product, the third edition of “Health: Further” (H:F) next month in Nashville promises to have many new features and opportunities for attendees.

“We’ve grown it into a four-day festival,” Vic Gatto told us recently in describing the event that runs August 22-25 at the Music City Center. He and colleague Marcus Whitney are the creative planners behind H:F that began in 2015 as a one and one-half day conference and will now encompass events over four days.

PYA, one of the nation’s largest privately held healthcare consulting firms and the power behind, is a key H:F sponsor again this year.

Gatto told us the evolution into a festival approach was very intentional.

“There’s a fun aspect to a festival,” he said, noting that there is a less than a positive environment surrounding healthcare and other national issues today. “We wanted to be more positive and what better place to do so than Music City.”

Perhaps most reflective of the festival thinking is the incorporation of music, including a series of concerts, that will be mixed in with educational sessions and the all-important opportunities to connect with others.

“Networking is the number one benefit,” Gatto said in describing H:F and the diverse mix of attendees who range from providers to payors, employers, marketers, and investors.

“Each tribe has a different way to approach health innovation,” he adds. “They are all looking at the same elephant, but seeing different elements of it. True innovation takes pieces and parts from different domains.”

With H:F’s two-fold belief – health is a human right and health must be supported affordably and sustainably, Gatto says this year’s festival will even intentionally facilitate connections between the various players in the ecosystem.

There will be what he calls “guided networking events” that will be focused on a common topic and an app that will help connect individuals.

Also, with concurrent sessions throughout the four days, the H:F team is providing a tool to help individuals customize an agenda that meets their needs.

“You will create your own path through the festival,” Gatto explains.

This year’s H:F also builds on the geographic expansion that occurred in 2016. During the inaugural year, Gatto says most of the speakers came from Nashville and most of the 600 attendees travelled 200 miles or less. The second edition drew people from across the country.

With’s focus on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, we took particular note of the pitch competition featuring 18 healthcare-focused start-ups that is set for August 23 and an investor forum on August 25. The Tennessee HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society) will hold its ninth annual Summit as a part of the festival.

Thus far, 46 speakers have been highlighted on the H:F main webpage, and the evolving agenda can be found here. For registration information, click here.

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