In September, members from Mass General Brigham attended KLAS’ annual Digital Health Investment Symposium (DHIS) in Park City, Utah. It was a great day and a half conference that brought together providers, vendors, and investors to discuss the top-of-mind topics in healthcare, as well as network with one another. The event focused on the role of digital solutions in care delivery, the patient and provider experience, and the administration and business of healthcare.
Looking at the current workforce challenges and navigating as healthcare pioneers
Kicking off the conference, Adam Gale, KLAS’ CEO, shared a personal story of his own ancestors arriving in Utah, needing to figure out from scratch and create a community in the middle of nowhere. This experience is not unlike the experience of the conference attendees—modern-day pioneers in healthcare figuring things out on the fly and making an impact in healthcare today given the challenging landscape in this post-pandemic environment. This message resonated with the attendees and was a great story to start the conference.
Continuing with the theme of early explorers and navigating unchartered territories, the first keynote of the event featured Tina Shah, MD, MPH, former Senior Advisor, US Surgeon General, and current Principal at TNT Health Enterprises LLC. She spoke about the workforce challenges we are facing in healthcare. Coined as the “Great Betrayal”, Dr. Shah highlighted the trauma healthcare workers faced and are facing since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Workers are forced into situations where they are not given the appropriate resources to do their jobs—along with multiple other factors have led to burnout, quick turnover, and lack of staffing to take care of an overwhelmed and exhausted healthcare system in the US. But she notes that it is not all doom and gloom. There are opportunities, such as public-private partnerships, and creative models to solve some of the current capacity and systemic issues.
Strength of DHIS: curated discussions and networking opportunities
One of the key differentiators of DHIS conference was its small size, yet ability to bring together key decision makers and different players in healthcare. The team from Mass General Brigham was able to meet with peer provider networks from the Utah region, as well as large health IT vendors in networking sessions and intimate roundtable discussions.
Great minds shared and discussed the near-term and long-term challenges facing the fragile healthcare workforce. It was truly fascinating to hear how each institution approached this particular challenge—balancing each system’s priorities and generating new, innovative approaches to navigate through the storm.
Overall, this conference was timely in addressing the challenge at the forefront of the US healthcare system. While there is significant headwind, it was hopeful to hear the opportunities and innovation taking place across the country and industry during this change defined as “punctuated equilibrium”. Through the myriad of financial, workforce, and operational stressors, the conference gave hope that the healthcare community is resilient and strong—and shall prevail stronger than ever before.