Cambia at SXSW Interactive: It’s About the People

March 17, 2016

Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth, joined Mark Ganz, our President and CEO, on stage at the 2016 SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, to discuss the disconnected state of health care and the people-centric blueprint that is needed for the future.

The first-of-its-kind SXSW event “Invest for Health: Curing the Real Pain Points in Health Care,” took place on Monday, March 14, and brought together more than 250 health innovators and disruptors, big and small, all interested in transforming health care. By the size of the crowd, it appeared to be one of the most attended health events of the Health and Medtech area of SXSW.

Two very different CEOs shared a very similar message for the broken health care system - it’s time for change. 

Jonathan spoke about the need for reduced cost and increased access, while Mark spoke about designing a better health care experience for people and their families, saying, “Those developing technology solutions for health care should be grounded in human relationships and empathy.”  When both leaders were asked what bullies they most want to fight in the health care system – they both agreed it was the culture of the system in general that’s made up of bullies with Mark making the point, “The insiders of the industry bully the consumer because they think they’re smarter than the people this industry was built to serve.”

At the Cambia-sponsored SXSW event, the audience of millennials, entrepreneurs and health care leaders were united by shared energy toward a health care system focused on the consumer not the industry.  Mark explained Cambia’s approach, which honors the company’s forefathers, the timber workers of the Pacific Northwest who in 1917 started to pool their money in case of injury or sickness. Mark said his motivation has never been stronger, to once again center health care on the needs of people and their families. 

When asked where Mark gets his strong sense of mission, he shared a poignant story with the audience about when he was a student at Georgetown and was given the chance to “pay it forward,” a motto he continues to live by in his work. 

Cambia CEO Mark Ganz Headlines Session Two of SXSW Invest for Health

Iya Khalil/GNS Healthcare and Josh Newman/SalesForce.com also joined the discussion, explaining the importance of an individualized approach based on data and relationships.  Iya specifically talked about how GNS is applying algorithms to predict pathways for multiple myeloma treatment, explaining the importance of investing in technology to invest in the right treatments.  Josh, a former “family doc” as he called himself, explained the research salesforce.com has conducted on the powerful effects of relationships and how those relationships help to truly understand consumer’s needs. 

The attendees of the first SXSW Invest For Health conversation walked away from the event with a sense of urgency for change, a sense of optimism and a sense of hope for the future of health care.