Are you working at an early-stage startup and wondering if you should invest in attending a conference? Is it worth the time, cost, and travel?
In 2022, our team traveled to conferences nationwide to learn about innovations in healthcare, industry trends, and to connect with fellow non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) colleagues. Here are some lessons we learned as a health-tech startup on the conference trail and why it might be a worthy investment:
1. Learning about innovative technologies in healthcare is essential to be a leader in the space.
Technological advancement in the healthcare space has been a game-changer in the industry. Although technological strides have positively impacted patients, archaic practices are still in place, halting medical advancement and patient experience. One example is the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) space. The NEMT industry is historically fragmented in its workflow, using practices such as using numerous platforms to submit claims and requiring users to fax information in some cases. Due to these inefficient processes, NEMT providers experience delays in their compensation. Payment delays for NEMT providers ultimately affect the quality of the patient experience.
At these conferences, our team learned that many organizations want to create innovative technologies to streamline these processes and improve the patient experience. At Kinetik, for example, we envision a future in which the coordination and delivery of medical transportation will be so seamless that any patient, anywhere, can request a healthcare ride in real-time versus 72 hours in advance. To accomplish this, Kinetik has built the nation’s first digitally integrated healthcare transportation marketplace that digitally connects health plans, brokers, and providers. Technology like this in the healthcare space positively impacts the patient experience through its ease of use and increased efficiency.
Our team had the opportunity to explore exciting technologies that are making waves in the healthcare community. CognitiveCare’s technology, for example, uses an AI-powered platform to support maternal and infant health. In addition to CognitiveCare, another great technology company that has impacted the healthcare space is Harmony Health. Harmony Health is a trusted messaging platform for social, economic, and health equity. Learning about technology like CognitiveCare and Harmony Health was a game-changer in our year of conferences and pushed our team to think outside the box when it comes to changing the fragmented industry of healthcare.
In addition to disruptive companies, our team had the chance to demo new technology at these conferences. At the HLTH Conference in Las Vegas, our team explored the da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic surgical assistant, the Casana Heart Seat, a toilet seat that measures blood pressure, and Binah.ai’s Health Data Platform, an AI-powered video platform that can administer health evaluations. Of course, new technology is just the beginning of how we will positively impact the future of healthcare.
2. Developing new connections through networking at conferences is an exciting and critical aspect of growing a business.
A few of the conferences that our team attended were the Texas Transit Association (TTA), California Association of Health Plans (CAHP), Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP), and the HLTH Conference. In addition, conferences were held nationwide, including in Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Palm Springs.
With the pandemic halting in-person networking opportunities, virtual conferences became a critical asset for building connections in the industry. However, with the resurgence of in-person conferences, our team was eager to jump back in. Networking and learning about NEMT stakeholders were critical goals for many of our team who attended conferences, including our leadership team. Sufian Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer, said he wanted to “network with current and potential partners, collaborate as a team, and connect with investors that will be pivotal to Kinetik's growth.”
Partnerships at Kinetik have been crucial in helping the company expand its reach within the local community. A few of those include Lyft, Uber, CarePool, zTrip and M7. The conferences provided a critical opportunity for our team to engage with industry leaders and be a champion of advancing healthcare technology. In addition, we were excited to bring back new technology to Kinetik and share information about our products with fellow partners.
3. Conferences provide start-ups with resources, especially in fundraising, to set them up for success.
As Kinetik expands and begins funding for Series A, our team was grateful for the conferences they attended last year to promote the company's expansion. Through hosting booths at many of the NEMT conferences to speaking on panels as industry experts, our team thrived in sharing Kinetik’s mission of empowering care with connectivity through our suite of products.
One way our team utilized conference resources for our next round of funding was the showcase at the HLTH Conference in Las Vegas. Attending the HLTH Conference was the culmination of hard work from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Healthcare Accelerator Program. AWS selected our team to participate in a four-week mentorship program this year. AWS chose Kinetik amongst nine other companies.
Kinetik’s cohort included companies nationwide, such as Clinify Health, Harmony Health, and Samaritan, who are making strides to “increase access to health services, reduce disparities by addressing social determinants of health.” Kinetik’s CEO, Sufian Chowdhury, said, “by partnering with leaders in the healthcare space, we can bring attention to the work we are doing to improve healthcare outcomes related to creating accessibility, reducing fraud, waste, and abuse; and improving interoperability.” Connecting with fellow cohort members was a highlight of the 2022 conference journey and led to our final presentation at the HLTH Conference.
The final part of the mentorship program was the AWS Healthcare Startup Innovation Showcase at the HLTH conference, along with meeting fellow cohort members and hearing their presentations. The showcase included a pitch of our solutions to potential investors and partners alongside our cohort’s pitches, which our Chief Information Officer, Aaron Oboh, presented. You can read more about the program here.
These conferences greatly impacted Kinetik’s growth and development, and our team is excited to return in the upcoming year. In 2023, we look forward to attending conferences including NEMTAC, California Association of Health Plans (CAHP), and Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) to continue growing our business and connections.