The annual Healthcare Internet Conference occurred in November in Orlando, and as usual it offered numerous sessions of interest to healthcare web, marketing, and communications teams. It had been a few years since I’d attended one; with fresh eyes, I noticed several changes in the value the conference offers.

10 or 15 years back the conference was all about the sessions, with speakers focusing on teaching a skill, demonstrating a technology, or focusing on a single point. That was the traditional conference model, and it fit the heterogenous audience of developers, editors, managers, and marketers by letting them self-select tracks that were pertinent.

Over the years the sessions have migrated away from tutorials or simplistic topics to things like:

  • Lessons learned: Project post-mortems that reveal pitfalls, successes, or simply confirm a practice or method. These sessions are very popular and generate a lot of questions from the attendees.
  • Process: About creating a new process (e.g. new content review process) or showing the pros/cons of an in-place process. These sessions appeal to managers and other leadership.
  • Talk to a specific healthcare system: Some sessions are less about a topic and more about hearing from how a leading healthcare system does something. Attendees come to these sessions with questions ready and often there are surprising revelations.

That trend continued at this year’s HCIC, and sessions were—across the board—more in tune with how projects benefit: patients, budget, and the entire organization. This speaks to the changing landscape of health care and that those factors are being felt throughout organizations (not just in the C-Suite).

From Aaron Watkins’ talk on Putting Audience Research Into Practice to Neal Linkon’s presentation on Experience is Marketing, sessions covered practical efforts that used budgets wisely, measured results, and in the end brought it all home by reminding us why we do all this, anyway.

There are no shortcuts or magic technologies, and this year’s HCIC showed that healthcare systems are more focused than ever and ready to get down to work. We’re here to help—if your health system would like to improve its web strategy contact us and let’s talk about how we can leverage our experience to your benefit.