HLTH 2023 Recap: A Historical Moment for b.well and What It Means for You


Hi, this is Nisha Bagepalli, SVP of Marketing at b.well Connected Health. Last week’s HLTH 2023 in Las Vegas was more than just a networking event—it was a watershed moment for us and the industry as a whole. For the first time ever, we facilitated a conversation between giants of healthcare and technology—Walgreens and Samsung—to discuss a vision we all share: building a care network that puts consumers first.

Tracey Brown, EVP, President of Walgreens Retail & Chief Customer Officer, summed it up perfectly when she said, “This is a big step for the industry as these thought leaders shared a stage for the first time ever. So we talk about the future, but the future is actually right here, right now, and I think this demonstration shows that we are actually all committed to improving the overall health and wellbeing for all people.”

Being at HLTH 2023, I felt a kind of energy that’s hard to put into words. There was a palpable sense of enthusiasm and determination in the air. Believe me when I say, it was infectious. It made you want to roll up your sleeves and dive in, to become part of a movement that finally puts people at the center of their own healthcare journey.

So, with that stage set, let’s dive into what else we gleaned, and unveiled, and why you should be as excited as we are.

Samsung Health Taps b.well Connected Health to Make Personalized Healthcare a Reality

The cornerstone of our partnership with Samsung is a longitudinal healthcare record—a dynamic, comprehensive profile that consumers can carry along their healthcare journey. This cohesive data repository standardizes care and allows for multiple touchpoints through which providers can engage with patients. 

Check out the full announcement here

The longitudinal record, built over time, enables us to guide consumers toward enhanced health outcomes through actionable insights. We can recommend specific services, clinics, or preventive care measures—offering your system increased visibility in referral networks.

What This Samsung Partnership Means for Healthcare

Here’s where it gets even more intriguing for health systems: our platform sets up an automated referral mechanism that is as beneficial for providers as it is for consumers. By integrating various services and specialties within our platform, we bring healthcare services right to the fingertips of consumers. In this way, your health system’s services will show up precisely when consumers need them the most. This timely, automated referral source increases your exposure while enhancing patient engagement and potentially boosting revenue streams.

Kristen Valdes, CEO and Founder of b.well, highlighted this when she spoke on stage, “We’re excited about this partnership because we can bring very big powerhouses together, not only to connect data with consumer consent, but being able to leverage that data to serve as insights that can drive them into the right care.”

To hear about this monumental partnership directly from b.well Connected Health’s Founder and CEO, Kristen Valdes, and Samsung Health’s Head of Digital Health Team, Dr. Hon Pak, listen to the latest episode of the InteropNow Podcast here.

Ryan Howells, Program Manager for the CARIN Alliance, Hon Pak, MD, MBA, Global Head of Digital Health at Samsung, Tracey Brown, EVP, President of Walgreens Retail & Chief Customer Officer, Kristen Valdes, Founder & CEO of b.well Connected Health

Walgreens Also Announced Plans to Launch Telehealth Later This Month

Starting later this month, Walgreens is launching on-demand virtual consultations that cover an array of common medical needs, from seasonal allergies and flu to medication prescriptions. The consultations can happen via chat or video, allowing patients in eligible states to engage with healthcare providers right from their personal devices.

For health systems, Walgreens’ foray into direct-to-consumer virtual care presents an opportunity. It’s yet another sign that the consumerization of healthcare is not a passing trend but a transformation that’s here to stay.

‘Portalitis’: Did We Find the Cure? Our Transformative Partnership with CLEAR

Ever found yourself juggling multiple usernames and passwords just to access your healthcare data? Or maybe our CEO, Kristen Valdes, has you nodding in agreement when she refers to this madness as ‘portalitis.’ The struggle is as real as it gets.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with CLEAR, the innovators you know from the airport security line, to eradicate this daily irritation. Picture this: your mobile phone scans your face and ID, and voila, you’re in—all your healthcare portals, unlocked. No usernames, no passwords, and entirely in line with the stringent IAL2 standards. No in-person verifications or phone calls are required. And we’re not just talking about convenience; this is also about cutting costs for everyone—from health systems to insurers, labs, and pharmacies.

A Broader Industry Context

This partnership is more than a quick fix; it aligns with significant, long-term industry aims. Since its inception in 2016, the CARIN Alliance has advocated for an end to ‘portalitis,’ envisioning a federated digital ID as the way forward.

We’re challenging outdated notions that consumers shouldn’t or don’t want to control their health data, or that third-party apps are not to be trusted. Our commitment to HITRUST and consumer transparency makes this abundantly clear. With CLEAR as a partner, we’re enhancing day-to-day experiences and possibly transforming the industry’s regulatory landscape.

Best Buy Will Begin Selling Prescription Blood Glucose Monitors From Dexcom

Best Buy collaborates with Wheel, a renowned virtual care platform, and HealthDyne, a pharmacy tech provider, to sell Dexcom G7 CGMs. Customers can purchase the device via Best Buy’s online platform. While insurance won’t be accepted at launch, those with HSA, FSA, or HRA accounts may seek reimbursement.

For health systems, this venture by Best Buy underscores the increasing role of tech retailers in healthcare. It opens up possibilities for collaboration and warrants a closer look at how healthcare can be more accessible through retail partnerships.

Key Themes and Focus Areas at HLTH 2023

Addressing the Human Side of Healthcare Gaps

We’re facing a staffing crunch in healthcare with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals experiencing burnout at concerning rates. The aim is not only to fill empty slots but to make life better for those dedicating themselves to patient care.

Technology with a Heartbeat: The New Face of AI

Buzzwords like ‘Generative AI’ and ‘humanizing technology’ were everywhere, but the message was clear: technology needs a personal touch. Brands like Best Buy and Walgreens aren’t just bringing gadgets into healthcare; they’re trying to make technology feel more like a helpful neighbor than a faceless machine.

Balancing Help from AI with Safety Concerns

Organizations like the AMA aren’t just excited about what AI can do to ease paperwork; they’re also asking hard questions about safety and responsibility. Karl Mathias, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), added his voice to the mix, underscoring that innovating fast can’t come at the expense of keeping both patients and providers safe.

Cataloging Choices: Should We Have a National List of Safe AI Options?

One intriguing idea floated around was a national directory of AI models tailored for healthcare. Imagine your doctor having a menu of vetted, safe AI tools to choose from. This could speed up how quickly new technology gets into hospitals and clinics while keeping everyone on the same page.

Turning Idle Data into Life-changing Decisions

Providers and Payers discussed how they’re sitting on a mountain of unused health data. They are leveraging tools, such as Microsoft, to help create efficiencies within their workflows. That time, they noted, could be used to improve patient outcomes and personal wellness for healthcare professionals.

In a nutshell, the big takeaways point in the same direction: a future where healthcare is more efficient, yes, but also a place where technology serves the people, not the other way around.

As I look back on HLTH 2023, it’s clear that this wasn’t just an event; it was a milestone that we, at b.well, are privileged to be part of. But don’t get us wrong—this is just the prologue. As we move forward, the drive and passion that permeated every conversation at HLTH 2023 will continue to fuel our ambition. We’re not following trends; we’re setting them. And this is just the beginning.

Want to be the first to know the latest industry insights? Join our mailing list today.

Join us on our mission to simplify healthcare, one person at a time.