In an industry where change is the only constant, remaining stagnant isn’t an option. At least, not if an organization intends to stay relevant — or, as in CHIME’s case, enable the acceleration of innovation to “big, gnarly problems” and do it quickly.
Doing so, according to Keith Fraidenburg, requires a willingness and ability to identify areas of improvement and implement the necessary changes. And so, when it became evident that the Spring Forum was one of those opportunities, CHIME’s leaders sprang into action and worked with a new partner to create a better experience.
“We wanted to do more,” said Fraidenburg, who serves as EVP and COO of CHIME, during a recent interview. In partnership with HLTH, CHIME is launching ViVE, a multi-day program designed to offer focused content and curating networking opportunities for decision makers across health systems, solution providers, tech companies, and payers. It’s a notable departure from the previous Spring Forum, which was offered in conjunction with HIMSS, but one that he believes will be welcomed by the industry.
Below, Fraidenburg provides insights on how the inaugural event came about, what he believes will distinguish it from other industry offerings, and how ViVE hopes to foster critical conversations.
What do you think will differentiate ViVE from other conferences?
Fraidenburg: We feel that this is the digital health event that industry leaders inspired us to bring to market, because it’s the direction in which the industry is headed. Everything is accelerated: accelerated learning, accelerated networking and accelerated opportunities to bring solutions to market.
The key to doing that successfully, we believe, is in having the right people together — specifically, the decision makers. Through ViVE, we can create an opportunity to bring together decision makers from across the healthcare system; not just on the provider side, but also pharma, life sciences, startups, investors and even payers. That’s where HLTH is really helpful.
If we can get these decision makers together, we can make some great things happen.
Can you talk about how all of this came together?
Fraidenburg: When CHIME and HLTH first started talking, it was about how to accelerate innovation and solve the really big, gnarly challenges in the industry. At CHIME, we have an ecosystem of health IT and digital leaders on the provider side, and we work to bring solutions within that space. HLTH, on the other hand, has a very different but equally imperative ecosystem.
As we talked about how to accelerate innovation, it became clear that we need to bring the whole health and care ecosystem together. We’re never going to truly get there if CHIME is doing its thing over here, and HLTH is doing its thing over here. The opportunity is to cross over the entire industry and get decision makers together. That’s how we believe we can accelerate innovation and get to a point where we’re solving problems faster.
The big question, of course, is how ViVE can facilitate those critical conversations.
Fraidenburg: Right. How do you bring the community together to solve those problems and bring value to the industry? A key concept within ViVE is that everything is focused on leaders and decision makers, from content themes to the structure of the program. One of the elements within it is our hosted buyer program, which provides opportunities for brief one-on-one meetings among leaders from health systems, provider organizations, startups, etc. Our role is to cultivate the environment, and let it go from there.
We need to focus on the issues, questions, and problems that affect leaders across the entire ecosystem. We think if we can do that, we can attract the wider healthcare community. It comes back to what we’re trying to do, which is to solve big problems faster.
You touched on that a bit before, but can you talk more about why it made sense for CHIME to partner with HLTH?
Fraidenburg: Sure. With CHIME, our world is focused exclusively on decision makers. Whether we’re talking about CHIME or the CHIME Foundation, everything we do is focused at the executive decision-maker level. As we had conversations and started to collaborate with HLTH, we saw that their audience and ecosystem is also focused on the decision-maker level — they’re just in different fields along the health and care continuum.
And so, there’s a natural fit and a natural opportunity for us to work together; to create a program focused on executive-level content that offers truly curated networking — not forced networking, but an opportunity for executives to curate their own networking opportunities. It’s about getting a real return on that time investment. Everything is themed around that.
And as part of that collaboration, it was decided to rethink the spring forum?
Fraidenburg: Exactly. For a long time, we’ve wanted to do more with the CHIME Spring Forum beyond a one-day event at the frontend of the larger HIMSS Conference. It’s very different from the Fall Forum, which takes place over multiple days, and allows us to do so much more from a content and a networking perspective. Now we can provide a brand-new spring forum experience, with social and learning opportunities, over multiple days. It’s going to be fully integrated with the ViVE experience.
We’re very excited.
One of the components of ViVE is the Startup Festival. Can you talk about the objectives there?
Fraidenburg: Engaging with startups, investors and entrepreneurs is something that HLTH has done very successfully. That hasn’t been a common occurrence within the CHIME ecosystem. We’ve been working over the last year or so to create more opportunities for our members to do so. And in fact, many of our CHIME Foundation firms want to work with startups, but maybe haven’t had the opportunity or exposure. ViVE is changing all of that. We’re very excited to have Startup Health as a partner. They’re running a number of programs, including the Startup Health Festival and startup pavilion. We believe their involvement in ViVE is going to create opportunities that CHIME hasn’t been able to offer to the provider side.
Are there any hesitancies about holding an in-person event with Covid still lingering?
Fraidenburg: That’s one of those things that keeps you up in the middle of the night. We’re not out of this pandemic yet. But we need to find a way to get back together in person, as safely as possible, so we can tackle some of the problems. You can only get so far and do so much virtually. And honestly, it’s exhausting. We’ve all been doing this for more than two years. But at the same time, the pandemic continues to affect communities out there, and we need to be aware of that.
To that end, I’m sure there are health and safety protocols in place.
Fraidenburg: Absolutely. There’s a unique nuance to having a conference in the state of Florida; by law, we can’t require vaccination to participate in an event. But we feel that our health and safety protocols are as strong as they can from a legal perspective. We realize it’s not possible to eliminate all risk, but we’re trying to create the safest possible environment for everybody to come together.
Did you have any concerns that an event like ViVE would cater mostly to large organizations? And if so, were there efforts to ensure medium and smaller organizations were also included?
Fraidenburg: We definitely took that into account. The exhibit floor is one example of how we’re trying to level the playing field. Whether you’re a large multinational corporation or a small boutique professional services firm, there will be several opportunities to engage.
We made sure that there won’t be any massive, city block-sized booths. Rather than focus on the size and sizzle of a booth presence, we’re focused on creating opportunities to network and have critical conversations about what’s happening. It’s not about the big bucks.
By design, we want to create as level a playing field as possible, because whether you’re a big firm or a small firm; whether you’re on the vendor side or the provider side, everybody needs to be at the table. If that doesn’t happen, we’re not able to accelerate innovation and solve those big problems. We need to create an opportunity where everyone can participate and be at the table — and we believe we’ve done that.