Key Takeaways and Memorable Moments from #SHSMD18

It’s been two days since SHSMD18 ended and my head is still spinning with ideas from the event. The keynote speakers were incredible, the sessions informative and the exhibit hall was fabulous. I can honestly say that this was the first year I felt at home at the annual SHSMD conference.

As the conference wound down, I asked several of my fellow attendees for their key takeaway and/or their most memorable moment. Below is a collection of some of the responses. Enjoy.

Rose Glenn – SHSMD President Elect and Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer at Hackensack Meridian Health

Key Takeaway: Re-emphasizing that healthcare is all about human-to-human connection. We get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we sometimes lose sight of that. It’s up to us to be an advocate and a champion for what is right for the consumer. It’s all about making sure your organization connects with people as people. If we don’t, then the consumer giants who do this extremely well, will take over.

Ben Dillon – SHSMD President and Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Owner at Geonetric

Key Takeaway: I think the quality of the sessions and keynotes has been excellent. For every session that made it onto the agenda there were at least 10 submissions that were not selected. That is an indication of the quality of the material. I also think the networking has been outstanding. I have seen so many connections being made at the various mixers, in the exhibit hall and just in the lobby of the convention center. In fact, I heard a story from an attendee today that they met someone in the elevator of a SHSMD conference 14 years ago and they have now been married for 11 years.

Memorable Moment: I would have to pick the opening. That moment is something I have dreamed about doing for a long time. It was just incredible to stand in front of 1,500 people and kick things off. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd is something I will never forget.

Priya Bathija – Vice President of the Value Initiative at American Hospital Association

Key Takeaway: Everyone I’ve talked with and all the sessions I’ve attended demonstrated how passionate we are about making things better for the communities we serve. It’s refreshing to see the level of energy everyone has for Value in healthcare and how we are all coming at it from different angles yet all moving the needle.

Kelly David – Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Key Takeaway: Health care is a challenging business. I think it’s easy to get stuck in cruise control, essentially dealing with one problem after another. #SHSMD18 was filled with information on ways to shift your perspective. The keynotes from Johnny Cupcakes and Erik Wahl, for example, highlighted that you can meet your challenges by being different, trying new things and stepping outside of our typical boxes.

Memorable moment: – hands down watching Erik Wahl create beautiful paintings before our eyes, while telling a story through video and music. It was amazing and powerful.

Amy Jose – Integrated Marketing Strategist at Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Key Takeaway: The importance of meeting our consumers where they are in order to remain relevant. If the services we offer aren’t there for them and easy to access in their time of need, they will go elsewhere. And creating a unique experience for them that differentiates us against our competitors will encourage them to share the story.

Memorable moment: Erik Wahl’s presentation. I loved his perspective on the use of creativity and courage and feel that it can be applied to several parts of life not just professional. And dancing and hanging at the museum with so many colleagues and friends is something I’ll also remember. I think there’s a value to peeling away from work to spend time with each other like that.

Scott A. Samples – Director, Marketing Communications at Martin Health System

Key Takeaway: This year the thing that seemed to resonate over and over again in every session I attended was: we need to start treating healthcare consumers as consumers, not as hostages. We need to meet them where they want us to meet them, make the experience as easy as possible for them throughout the entire process, and offer the tools and resources they need so that they want to use us as they have more choices come available. In short, we need to make healthcare convenient for them, not for us. Obviously healthcare isn’t retail. And there can be a disconnect from the promise made from marketers and strategists, and the care provided on the frontlines. But we have to work harder than ever to help align the promise with the practice. Because if we don’t, consumers will find someone that will.

Memorable Moment: For me, the best memory of the event is perhaps a little unusual. On Monday night I spoke with a team from Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. A hurricane was bearing down on their community and they were working with their teams back home to prepare as much as they can. They were cutting their conferences short, to return home and be there for their health system and their community during a challenging time. It spoke to me of the dedication and unswerving commitment that people in our profession have to their constituents. And it was a reminder of the critical role we play in ensuring healthcare is delivered with compassion and hope. I’m still thinking about that team and what others across in the path of Hurricane Michael are doing to keep their communities whole.

Brian Griffin – Senior Editorial Specialist at SHSMD and American Hospital Association

Key Takeaway: The importance of the customer relationship in healthcare and how we are finally moving from talking about it to actually doing something about it. Organizations are realizing that we need to take action to deliver on the promise to patients. Many have presented their successes this week.

John Lynn – Editor and Co-Founder at Healthcare Scene

Key Takeaway: Creativity is not something that you are born with. Creativity is a learned skill that you can improve through practice. I really loved this message from Johnny Cupcakes, the opening keynote speaker. Simple yet profound.

Memorable Moment: Erik Wahl talking about the value of being fearless and confronting your fears. That was a powerful moment that illustrated how some of the most memorable and lasting experiences we can have in life come when we choose to confront our fears and do something that scares us.


Key Takeaway: Inspiration, ideas and creativity can come from anywhere. The SHSMD18 keynotes demonstrated that you don’t have to be a healthcare insider in order to impart knowledge. Johnny Cupcakes (outsider) taught us to push beyond our comfort zones and try something different. Erik Wahl (outsider) taught us that being fearless can lead to beauty. Liz Jazwiec (insider) taught us how powerful a positive outlook can be in healthcare.

Memorable Moment: Gifting #pinksocks to Johnny Cupcakes, Erik Wahl, William Rosenberg, Jason Skinner, Mariah Obiedzinski, Lorraine McGrath and Mollie Staniewicz at SHSMD18.

Can’t wait for SHSMD19 in Nashville!

About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.