If you’re like me, the turn of the calendar year marks many things: resolutions, clean slates, expectations and new beginnings. And yes of course, the impending J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
What’s become a behemoth of a show, JPM is catnip for healthcare and biotech executives, and the investors, strategics and suitors that want to pony up behind the next big innovation. “JPM Week” is a time to network, a forum to promote yourself and a chance to walk away with commitments that could fund your idea to the next level. Get it right and those analyst briefings and investor meetings in hotel lobbies and stairwells may ink deals in corner offices and boardrooms six months to a year from now.
We assembled some observations and things to keep top of mind for wherever you might be on your growth path and however you plan to partake in JPM Week. If you do make it to San Francisco, heed the advice from the team over at STAT to mind the sidewalks and brew your own coffee.
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Whether you’re attending the conference itself, partaking in adjacent events or simply riding the JPM wave from the comfort of your laptop, what’s different this year is the broader veil of interest in solving what many feel is the debacle that is healthcare. Look no further than technology giants Amazon, Apple and Uber moving in, applying their core competencies in eCommerce, fitness monitoring and ride sharing to the mix, respectively.
These early-stage investments on the part of established tech brands mark an interesting moment in time, setting the stage for industry-wide change not too far down the road. They’re looking at demand and growth in their respective markets as a harbinger of their next move in healthcare at a time when all stakeholders – from insurers to providers to sponsors and employees – are demanding faster access to care and frictionless service models that don’t fit in the constructs of our traditional delivery systems.
We recently observed at the Connected Health Conference that same forces of financial capital, willingness-to-change and technology advancement that have combined to shake up other industries are now causing upheaval for healthcare at even greater rates. This inertia, as explained, has been on full display across the digital health conference circuit for years. The Connected Health Conference, in particular, shined a light on the groundbreaking work digital health disruptors are doing to solve the interoperability challenges that plague our care delivery systems and fix the connectivity breakdowns at the core of siloed care experiences.
For the moment, JPM stands as the symposium for dealmakers grounded by the very same tenet of embracing new paths to improving care outcomes, be it between companies on the front lines of gene editing technology (CRISPR), among those pushing new innovations in drug development or with politicians and influencers working to fix a broken healthcare system. Meanwhile, the war on prescription drug pricing, runaway medical costs, ambitious goals of universal coverage and the chase toward widespread adoption of the value-based care model must be part of the conversations if innovation through these investments, acquisitions or partnerships are to take root.
So long as JPM continues to be a forum for emerging-growth companies to rub elbows with legacy technology vendors and members of the investment community, the digital health revolution stands a chance to change the business of medicine in a sector ripe for radical reform.
As this is the largest life science’s conference of the year, we’ve discussed here before how JPM is an opportunity to be seen, found and heard by decision makers, influencers and target audiences. Yes it takes proper strategy and execution, but it also takes a more profound resolution: be your authentic self and let your innovation speak for itself. Understanding your growth path – specifically your growth marketing strategy – will help ground your conversations, articulate your vision and appeal to an investor audience that’s short on time but big on forging low-risk, high-reward partnerships.
It’s inside these corners of the industry that we can expect the investment conversations, acquisitions and mergers – many of which may originate at JPM – to continue to materialize and mature in 2019, regardless of whether analysts predict a continued boon for biotechs or the start of a potential down cycle.
So cast your New Year’s streamers to the side, dust off that elevator pitch and bring more business cards than ticker tape confetti dropped on Times Square at midnight.
Buckle up. It’s time for JPM Week.