Two weeks ago, Carely CEO Mike Eidsaune attended AAHPM's Annual Assembly in Phoenix. He attended informational sessions. He drank lots of coffee. He got to meet some really awesome people. But don't take our word for it. As a [hashtag] HPM rookie, Mike shares his thoughts about the conference.

First Impressions

Biking with pediatric palliative care specialist Peter Baenziger

Biking with pediatric palliative care specialist Peter Baenziger

My first time at the Annual Assembly was awesome (and not just because it was in sunny Phoenix, AZ).The location was great--at the convention center in the middle of downtown Phoenix surrounded by restaurants and stadiums. I had a chance to take in just a small piece of what Phoenix has to offer, and I hope to attend events there in the future. However, it wasn’t the location that I most enjoyed. It was the HPM17 community that made it sweet. Specifically, the positive attitudes of all the speakers and attendees were infectious. Each speaker was passionate and enthusiastic to deliver their message, and the content was engaging and useful. As a newbie (aka #hpmRookie17), I felt welcomed, and I was moved by the collective energy that everyone seemed to share. People were open to introductions and took a sincere interest in my journey to the conference.

Best Speaker & Session

Its hard to pick one session that I found to be the best or a speaker that I enjoyed the most because all the content was fantastic. But when I think about the sessions that really captivated me, two come to mind: Diane Meier’s session regarding re-branding palliative care and Lily Gilmore’s presentation on starting a pediatric palliative unit. Overall, both of these sessions were incredible, and I left each feeling inspired and full of ideas.

Standing ovation for palliative nursing expert Nessa Coyle

Standing ovation for palliative nursing expert Nessa Coyle

Diane spoke about the need for the industry to redefine how we introduce palliative medicine and the challenges of being to closely tied to hospice from a branding perspective. I was captivated by the discussion because of how closely it relates to what we are trying to do at Carely. We want to educate and connect consumers to the resources that really define what palliative and hospice programs have to offer, but it’s important that we meet families with the appropriate content tailored to their unique situations. It struck me at how valuable our tool can be for not only families but also for the physicians and care teams we want to work with.

Not only was Lily's presentation eye opening, it was emotional as well. I’m not sure what had a greater impact on me--the mission of pediatric palliative programs or Lily’s abundant passion for it. The session ended with a short video documenting the experience of one young family and their effort to maximize every minute they had together with their new baby. (Of note: There was a lot of dust in the air during that session. It wasn’t me crying, just dust....) Lily sums up the power of pediatric palliative care: “Watching a family be a family and giving them time to do that is what pediatric hospice is all about.” (Sheesh--there's that dust again!)

What I Learned

One of the best quotes of the conference. (Pulled from Twitter.)

One of the best quotes of the conference. (Pulled from Twitter.)

As I listened to the discussions, the questions being asked by attendees, and the problems being addressed by presenters, I noticed my tech entrepreneur brain working to try to come up with solutions. Obviously, not every problem or challenge HPM faces has an easy fix, but there are so many opportunities for technology to increase the effectiveness of care delivery and extend the reach of the amazing people that work in this space every day.

Industry Innovations

One of the themes of the conference I was most excited about was the need to connect families to resources that could encourage more engagement, develop better education, and a provide a more meaningful connection to healthcare providers. This is the key to our success as a tech company in the hospice and palliative industries. Organizations are putting together great content, videos, and services that are designed to support families, but there is still a significant gap in an organization's ability to make sure that content is easily accessible and is actually being utilized by the families its intended to support. We want to fill that gap and make sure families have access to all of the content and resources providers have to offer.

First-Timer Tips

Real-time Twitter wall

Real-time Twitter wall

I would recommend this conference to anyone looking to learn more about the palliative care space. It’s a phenomenal opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest in the industry (not to mention the most energetic). The number one thing I would recommend to any #hpmRookie18 is to engage, engage, engage on Twitter. I was blown away by how many folks were live-tweeting the event. It was a great way for me to make some initial connections and to share my purpose for being there.

The second thing I would say is to get out of your comfort zone and attend sessions with content that's unfamiliar to you. This was easy for me because almost every topic was new. Learning more about topics I had never heard of before and being informed of problems I was unaware of was invaluable. As an entrepreneur and an innovator, this perspective is everything!

Hope to see you all again next year in Boston!