Innovation Blog

The 2021 HLTH Conference: Unifying Innovation Across the Healthcare


During October 2021, the MassChallenge team attended HLTH, a conference unifying industry-leaders innovating across the healthcare industry.

We had the opportunity to connect with healthcare leaders including healthtech startups, corporate & governmental health-related institutions, and venture capitalists. The three-day conference left us feeling inspired by the future after spending time with 8,000+ people from different ecosystems united under the mission of healthtech innovation.

In addition to meeting people in-person (finally), here are three of our HLTH conference highlights:

Data Interoperability Across Information Systems

With the rise of services like data banks, data is one of the many technological assets experiencing essential, increased growth.

HLTH conference session ‘Turning of the Data Tides’ featured Aashima Gupta, Director, Global Healthcare Solutions with Google Cloud; Dan Brillman, CEO of Unite Us; Dr. Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and Lori Evans Bernstein, MPH, Co-Founder and President of HealthReveal; moderated by Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures, and discussed the call-to-action for interoperability in data.


What is data interoperability? In healthcare spaces, data plays an essential role by connecting patient data to health institutions to ensure that patients receive the care they need. Interoperability facilitates the receival and exchange data in a transparent and timely manner. Bottom line: interoperability increases the security and accessibility of health data using an informational system standard of regulations and expectations.

Who builds this standard? In the session, the audience learned how the government can play a key role in facilitating this standard between agencies and stakeholders. For example, in October 2022, there will be an electronic health information (EHI) mandate instructing health providers to make certain data available (with privacy considerations and security, of course).

MassChallenge  supports the expansion of data interoperability. In fact, our 2022 HealthTech program is connecting interoperability-focused startups to our 2022 partners. To, stay up to date on the interoperability startups joining our 2022 program subscribe to our newsletter!

There Is No Innovation Without Equity

Health organizations gained insight on how to implement health equity during the HLTH session ‘A Comparison of Private Industry vs. Government Approach to Health Innovation with Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health and Elizabeth Fowler, Ph.D., J.D.*, Deputy Administrator and Director, CMS Innovation Center, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, moderated by Debra Richman, Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal Inc.

One of the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic is the exacerbation of health and wealth inequities. We witnessed many healthcare organizations like Tembo.Health, Butterflly Health, and Marigold Health step up to the plate and create services to remedy disparities.

While there has been an increase in the distribution of health resources for COVID-19, the fight for health equity must continue; in fact, DEI must become engrained in the DNA of all startups and industry leading organizations!

To innovate health systems, entrepreneurs need to ensure that their services and products are equitable and accessible by going the extra mile to avoid one-size-fits all solutions. MassChallenge understands the gravity of health equity and created a new program track, PandemicX, to support startups focusing on resolving inequities. Learn more about PandemicX here.

HealthTech Leaders Unifying with Different Size Startups

Attending HLTH gave us the chance to see first-hand how critical startup-led innovation is to the healthcare industry. Large healthcare names collaborated and connected with HealthTech startups all throughout the conference. For example, organizations like Johnson & Johnson and AARP hosted pitch competitions during HLTH.

Health industry-leaders want to support startups that are molding healthtech’s future for the better by providing them with resources they may lack. Bringing together diverse health industry players allows us to dream about and generate innovation opportunities for digital health. Sharing ideas and innovation play an integral role in solving some of the most pressing issues in healthcare. This reinforces the vital role MassChallenge plays in bringing startup-led innovation to the industry by harnessing collaboration between startups and business enterprises.

We left the HLTH conference inspired, invigorated, and ready to continue our support of startups and partners participating in our upcoming 2022 HealthTech program. We know healthcare has a brighter future by creating and employing digital innovations in diverse health ecosystems. Don’t forget, stay tuned for our cohort announcement in December 2021 to get to know the very startups who are innovating our health systems!


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