A Letter from Marcus Whitney & the H:F Team
When we started Health:Further in 2015, it was with a belief that by bringing together a diverse group of people passionate about the future of healthcare, we could help to build bridges that would result in real relationships, partnerships and progress. We also felt that the pace of change in the industry was rather slow, and so gathering once a year to check in and see where things were felt adequate. That founding belief carried us through the growth of an event from a summit to a festival, and the development of an awesome community of people breaking ground on moving the industry forward. We felt like we were on top of things, and our festival could support the industry through its evolution to a more ideal state.
Then 2018 happened.
In what felt like a barrage of events almost weekly, we saw what we had previously seen happen over the course of years start to happen in the span of weeks. The pace of change was speeding up, aggressively.
Some of the biggest healthcare companies in the country were merging, with regularity. Leadership changes were happening in quick succession. Publicly held companies were being purchased by private equity firms. And maybe the most significant theme in 2018, the tech titans (not just venture backed companies... we're talking about the most powerful companies in the world) started to all make a real and undeniable push into the healthcare industry. Change was no longer in the distance, it had arrived at our doorstep.
As we asked our community for feedback about what content stood out most in the festival last year, the far and away winning answer was the position that Marcus Osborne, Walmart's VP of Health and Wellness Transformation took on in talking about what needed to change in the industry and what Walmart was going to do about it. The message was clear, they were going to start owning the decision on what appropriate care was.
In the days after the event, we reflected on what this all meant. This convergence of change, and the undeniable words from agents of change on our very stage. The answer was clear... it was time for us to change too.
We no longer believe a single event a year can capture the pace of change that we have entered. And we no longer believe that we can be most impactful as partners to the industry simply as conveners. So with that, here's what we now believe, and here's where we are going:
For starters, we will not be hosting a Health:Further Festival in 2019. Our small, scrappy team needs to always focus our energy on making the most impact. The festival takes an enormous amount of energy to produce, and we don't believe that is the best place to spend it at the moment.
Now for what we will be doing.
We will be rolling up our sleeves, and partnering with leading healthcare organizations that see the pace of change accelerating as we do, and seek a collaborative approach to building a bridge from where they are to where we are all going. The festival has been incredible for building a community of thousands of people like you, who are truly passionate about where this critical industry of healthcare is headed. We know (for a fact) that in this community are our future partners. And so of course we wanted to tell you first about our evolution into a strategic advisory firm, whose purpose is to partner with leading healthcare organizations to advance necessary change at scale. (You can see more about this on our new site at healthfurther.com)
Our goal has always been to help innovation-minded members of the healthcare community identify problems, evaluate opportunities, and then dig in to take advantage of those opportunities while making care more accessible and sustainable for everyone. Our new strategic advisory initiative will continue that thread by working one-on-one with healthcare leaders and their organizations as they address the key drivers of transformation in the industry, which include care moving out of the hospital and the rise of the consumer.
To help lead this effort, we have brought Steve Tremitiere onboard as Chief Development Officer. Steve has an extensive background guiding organizations with ambitious innovation initiatives, creating advisory and leadership teams and building strategic business development strategies. Most recently, Steve has been an Executive Advisor to Geisinger Health System, working on their revolutionary population health initiative called Springboard Health.
While we won't be hosting the festival in 2019, Health:Further will be co-producing top events in healthcare with national and global organizations. We will continue to use our background and experience in bringing industry pioneers and thought leaders to the stage while convening a diverse community of people building the future of health. In fact, these relationships will strengthen our work in the events space, allowing us to focus on what we do best - curating ideas and content, connecting the right people with those ideas - while amplifying the expertise of our partner organizations. More on that in the coming weeks and months.
We will also continue to publish digital content looking at various aspects of healthcare and innovation. Our newsletter, podcast and blog will all be picking back up over the next couple of weeks, so please stay in touch for that. (Speaking of the podcast, you can listen to the team talk about these changes here.)
So with all of that, on behalf of the entire Health:Further team, let us say thank you for being part of this community. Thank you for contributing to the conversation, for helping us grow and moving our industry forward.
We could not be more proud of what we've accomplished over the past four years and come into 2019 energized for this next step in our organization. We hope to hear from you about this next step in our journey.
All the best,
Marcus Whitney and the Health:Further Team