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That’s a Wrap on SHSMD 2023!

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Mary Rose Walker

That’s a wrap on SHSMD 2023! We asked our two attendees, Kristy Roldan and Sondra Brown, about their experience.

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Did you have fun?

Yes! It was big and exciting. What a whirlwind. Chicago never disappoints!

Of course, it is always wonderful to see old friends and eat great food and, thanks to
Colin Hung at Swaay Health and Jared Johnson at ShiftForward Health, I recorded a video about my year of “yes!”

What were the highlights for you this year? 

Healthcare companies are still really focused on disruptors, patient volumes, data, data security, and AI. With respect to AI, the unknowns are massive and companies are still trying to understand if the benefits to consumers outweigh the potential risk of data security. We’re asking big questions like, "Would AI decrease security in the name of operational efficiencies? What kind of information would a health system have to give up in order to gain those efficiencies and does that further risk data security?" It’s really top of mind as AI advances.

We had some fantastic conversations with so many inspiring professionals about market research, MDRG’s WholeMind research approach, and how research can impact healthcare brands. I also had an opportunity to have dinner with my old friend Glen Hall and the IQVIA folks at Boka – and for a foodie like me, a multi-year James Beard award-winning restaurant hits some highlights.

Were there any sessions in particular that really stood out? 

My favorite part was our meetup that we hosted: the meetups were so much more informal than the sessions, and allowed everyone to engage with one another in a very directed way. I have a hard time being quiet so that was good for me.

Vince Gallucci and Jerry Griffin’s session on “Building an Integrated System Strategy from the Middle-Out” was spot on. They provided a blueprint for engaging all stakeholders in system strategic planning where everyone is engaged. I imagine that I speak for everyone in the session, we all left with a playbook on how to execute strategic planning that is built on the experiences of the team, not solely the Executive leadership team. I loved that when push came to shove, many of the departments across Penn State Health were trying to accomplish the same things, albeit in different ways. The planning process allowed for alignment and resource allocation to achieve their goals. Lastly, the simple rubric explaining that operational plans drive strategic plans which drive system goals. I am taking the lessons learned back to my own organization for our 2024 planning process.


What was the most valuable part of attending?

I do think that you have more meaningful conversations face to face, and getting back to in real-life conferences is so beneficial. Our ability to talk about the strength of our partnerships along with the way we’re newly starting to think about how consumers are migrating over to disruptors is generating a lot of interest – have a lot of stakeholders interested in weighing in and helping out with topic. We got to really explore this.

I appreciate the people who are embracing a consumer-first approach to healthcare. There seems to be an acknowledgment, after many years of conversations, that healthcare must consider the consumer and give them a seat at the healthcare table. It is refreshing to see so many people in marketing and strategy who are figuring out the path forward.

What are you looking forward to for next year?

Seeing the evolution of things like consolidation of brands, acquisitions and mergers, and their impact on the industry, has AI made further inroads in the category. This all changes so quickly, I feel the conversation will be completely different next year. I’m excited to see the advancement.

Continuing to develop relationships with clients and colleagues, exploring opportunities for partnerships, and for pushing the healthcare industry forward in its quest to be more consumer-friendly and, dare I say, consumer-centric.


SHSMD continues to provide a source of information and inspiration for our work and our clients. Contact us to learn more about how we can help with your business's strategy and market development. 

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