As the healthcare industry continues to undergo technology-driven changes, innovators in digital health and medical devices will gather in Detroit Thursday for a daylong conference.
The MedHealth Summit, held at Ford Field’s Hall of Legends, will bring together experts and entrepreneurs from across Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario for a day of panel discussions, “investor speed dating,” and business matchmaking between various industry stakeholders. Online registration for the event is closed, but those who want to attend will still be able to register on-site.
Paul Riser Jr., director of Detroit Urban Solutions and the summit’s lead organizer, says the conference has grown since its inception in 2017. There are approximately 230 speed-dating and matchmaking meetings scheduled, which seek to introduce entrepreneurs developing healthcare technologies to payers, providers, and investors from across the region and country. Healthcare is Michigan’s largest industry, he adds, and more than 40 percent of Michigan’s venture-backed startups are in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.
“The challenges we face in healthcare can’t be addressed by any single organization or city—we’re much more efficient and innovative together than alone,” Riser says. “If we can play up our strengths, we’ll have a lot more success.”
Riser points out that the cross-border conference is unique in that it encompasses both the Canadian and American regulatory pathways. “We’re just a few miles apart, but we have similar challenges,” he says. “Regional programs allow us to be seen as a magnet for talent, innovation, and business development. Out-of-state investors and healthcare systems can see what the region is bringing to the table.”
Panel discussions will cover the changing governmental influences on medical technology development, the intersection between the mobility and healthcare industries, and how to launch a successful healthcare pilot. Riser says he’s especially looking forward to the conference’s keynote speech by Rachel Kuntzsch of Public Sector Consultants. Last year, she was diagnosed with a rare disease and ended up at University of Michigan hospital for a heart transplant.
“She was kept alive by innovations developed at U-M,” he says. “She’ll talk about how [those innovations] saved her life, her experience with the healthcare system, and all the support she received from this region. It’ll be a very intimate but motivational keynote speech.”