A record 3,500 HealthTrust members and suppliers attended the 2015 HealthTrust University (HTU) Conference and Vendor Fair last month at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The much-anticipated annual event brought together some of the most engaged and progressive thinkers in the healthcare industry around the theme of “Orchestrating Success.” Four keynote speakers captivated their audience with messages about the performance-boosting power of thinking and listening differently.
As always, there were ample opportunities for healthcare practitioners to earn continuing education (CE) credits in their respective disciplines, share best practices and network with one another. Members also had an opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 325 supplier organizations that secured space in a bustling vendor fair.
Aligned scale matters
President and CEO Ed Jones outlined HealthTrust’s core beliefs, including that “aligned scale” matters. “Our committed model is the industry benchmark,” he said. “Category expansion and sustainable value is our priority.” HealthTrust now represents 20 percent of the healthcare market, with an even mix of for-profit and not-for-profit members that share common goals. He also shared industry trends including the Cost, Quality & Outcomes [CQO] movement that highlights the importance of clinical integration with supply chain.
The “watershed moment” for HealthTrust’s evolution as a GPO was being selected as the exclusive GPO of Tenet Healthcare, Jones said. Kristy Waters, Tenet’s senior vice president of Performance Management and Innovation, noted that Tenet and HealthTrust share many operating principles.
Fix for a sick care system
Richard Carmona, M.D., 17th Surgeon General ofthe United States, headlined Tuesday morning’s Opening General Session with the story of his remarkable life’s journey out of hunger and homelessness. This unlikely top public health official was prepped for work in a politically defined combat zone by a wise mother who valued her library card and the U.S. Army that demanded selfless service. “I volunteered for a lot of things and graduated number one in my class [at the University of California in San Francisco] not because I was the smartest person but because I was the most efficient, disciplined and mission-oriented.”
Carmona said that by generating best practices and taking waste out of the supply chain HealthTrust plays an essential role in transforming a “sick care system” to a healthcare system unapologetically focused on disease prevention. To thunderous applause from the audience―and one spirited “Carmona for president!”―he said clinicians at every patient touchpoint need to be preaching prevention.
The art of possibility
Keynote speaker Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, kept the audience in a roar with a part Chopin, part motivational speech intended to unlock the world of “radiating possibility” where no one is tone deaf and “everyone loves classical music” (they just don’t know it yet). His rules of thumb: “Vision will tell us what to do …. Don’t take yourself so seriously …. If you make a mistake, celebrate! …. What comes out of your mouth matters. Possibility is always only one sentence away.”
Trust begets adoption
Wednesday’s breakfast keynote speaker Daniel Obodovski, innovation advisor and author of The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things, began by sharing a long list of futuristic technologies at play in healthcare―many with the potential to significantly optimize hospital efficiency and bring caregivers closer to patients through data sharing. His most salient point was that adoption depends on trust. “Without it, consumers will not adopt it, patients will not go to particular hospitals that have it, the FDA will not approve it and insurers will not reimburse for it.”
HealthTrust panel discussion
A HealthTrust lead team panel discussion started off Wednesday’s Closing General Session by directly addressing questions submitted by HealthTrust members. Among the takeaways: HealthTrust measures its success based on the value it creates for members; physician committees will be taking value analysis to the next level; and suppliers in the near future can expect to field a lot more clinical questions.
Break out the Crayolas
Internationally recognized graffiti artist and speed painter Erik Wahl, the conference’s final keynote speaker, said the inability to “remain an artist” is the central impediment to superior performance in any walk of life. He challenged attendees to break out of their comfort zone and tap into their creative energy (he personally favors brainstorming with Crayola crayons). He defined fear as “false evidence appearing real” and professes that “imagination is more important than knowledge.” While splashing paint on canvas seemingly at random, Wahl stayed in the “right side” of his mind to produce three on-stage paintings of Bono, Mother Liberty and Albert Einstein.
Also in the spotlight …
Six institutions were honored with Member Recognition Awards for doing an exemplary job in numerous important areas. One member hospital, Boston Medical Center, received the 2015 Innovation Grant for its initiative to improve efficiencies in cardiac rhythm management.
The event kicked off at the Grand Ole Opry House with a party that included stars from the hit television series “Nashville” and a surprise appearance by the legendary Electric Light Orchestra.
All in all, this year’s HTU Conference was an exhilarating and accomplished performance thanks to a strong selection of educational sessions and speakers, the support of exhibiting and sponsoring suppliers and an esteemed membership with whom we’ve had the pleasure of learning and growing for more than 15 years.
The 2016 HTU Conference moves to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, Aug. 29 – 31.