December 16, 2021
Deja Vu All Over Again: No In-Person JP Morgan Healthcare Conference
“Out of an abundance of caution and after careful consideration, we have decided to virtualize our 40th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference scheduled to be held on January 10-13, 2022.”
Thus began J.P. Morgan’s statement on Twitter yesterday announcing there would be no in-person conference for the second consecutive year. After taking a hard line against virtual conference presentations, the bank bowed to industry pressure. The spreading Omicron variant forced the bank’s hand. In response, they decided to “virtualize” (a word I didn’t know existed) the conference.
The announcement represents a huge economic blow San Francisco. More “suits” wander through Union Square during JPM than the rest of the year combined. Most don’t even attend the conference at the St. Francis Hotel. They’re on the periphery, networking and dealmaking. That hurly-burly of professional activity is what makes going to JPM a contact sport. It’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.
Unfortunately, we won’t be discussing the business of healthcare in San Francisco next month. Until the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference returns to an in-person event, 4sight Health offers these two ways to feed the JPM void.
- Listen to our “Imagine No J.P. Morgan” song performed by 4sight Health troubadour John Zam, the Piano Man; and/or
- Read our special edition 2020 conference report. It includes my “Healthcare Has No Clothes” commentary on the close juxtaposition of wealth, disease and poverty in and around conference venues.
On a more somber note, the JPM cancellation is yet another reminder of the massive disruption that COVID has brought to our lives. The bank’s announcement comes on the heels of large and successful industry conferences in Boston (HLTH) and Minneapolis (HFMA). Even though a full-fledged return to pre-pandemic routines wasn’t in the cards, our post-COVID life was beginning to normalize. As America now heads into the holiday season, uncertainty reigns once more.
With all the loss and disruption, however, I’ve only met one person (a Microsoft executive) who wants their pre-pandemic life back just as it was. COVID has touched all Americans in deeply personal ways. It’s triggered an enormous amount of rethinking about individual priorities and life choices. Americans are changing jobs and moving to new locations in record numbers.
I’m hopeful that our industry’s collective experience in managing through COVID triggers equivalent rethinking about the structural flaws plaguing U.S. healthcare. Status-quo business practices are bankrupting the country and not providing the basic primary-care, mental-health, disease-management and preventive-care services the American people need.
Embracing value, integrating mental and physical healthcare and investing in healthy multipliers is our post-COVID call to action. 2022 is the year for this industry to make meaningful improvement. The clock is ticking.