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HETT Conference 2022: The Silver Buck Review

Another year, another HETT show and we have a lot to cover from this year’s conference! Over the two days at the ExCel, we listened, learned and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with some of the brilliant minds in the digital health industry.  

The HETT show, which is a CPD certified event brings together over four thousand digital health peers, 200+ expert speakers and over 150+ innovative suppliers. This year’s packed-out show gave us a lot to reflect on, so let’s dive right in… 

Footfall and audience – 8/10 

This year’s event was as busy as ever, on the first day there was even a large queue to get in and despite there normally being a drop in footfall on the second day of these types of conferences, we noticed that the number of attendees was on par for both days. 

Every year the HETT delegates and exhibitors are a diverse crowd, from a wide range of suppliers, trusts and thought leaders from the digital health space. However, we had feedback from some of our clients that they felt there was a lack of trust representation from across the country compared to previous years, which could well be reflective of the pressure the NHS is under at the moment.  

The venue – 7/10 

Once again, the HETT show took place in the ExCel London, and if you’ve attended a conference here before, you’ll know that it’s an excellent venue. Boasting enough space for stands and speaker booths, plenty of food options and thanks to the new Elizabeth Line, the usually tricky to get to venue is now easier to access.  

We felt that the HETT show seemed to be a smaller exhibition this year which limited the number of stands, having said that, theatres around the exhibitor floor worked well and ensured relatively good flow of people throughout the exhibition floor.  

The only downside this year was the lack of a press office, which would have offered visitors the opportunity to showcase their latest work and offer a place for networking. 

Content – 8/10 

There was a lot of interesting sessions spread across the two days, and many of the sessions were overflowing with listeners. The five stages offered a wide range of topics for delegates to explore, listen, learn and get involved with. Notably, the sessions were chaired by some of the most fantastic minds in digital health, including a few of our Silver Buccaneers; Sam Shah, Hassan Chaudhury and Dom Cushnan (not forgetting our outgoing Advisory Board Chair, Rich Corbridge – you’ll be missed Rich!) and also featured some of the big-ticket names like Simon Bolton, Matt Whitty and Tara Donnelly.  

Virtual wards, digital maturity and interoperability were all hot topics over the two days, with sessions returning to the discussion of virtual wards perhaps a few too many times. (Depending on who you ask!) 

The agenda was packed to the brim, which on the one hand is great for delegates but on the other hand, it ultimately impinged on the footfall for exhibitors, making it tricky to arrange meetings or network with delegates.  

On the first day Simon Bolton’s fireside chat (chaired by Sam Shah) set the tone for what was to come over the two days, he talked broadly about how the NHS can deliver better value more efficiently and how the focus has shifted to solutions that drive outcomes. His comments on wanting the centre ‘to be more opinionated’, and how he felt ‘the narrative’ had been lost when discussing the merger between NHSE, NHSD and NHSX and the subsequent job cuts made the headlines. 

We particularly enjoyed listening in on Jack Williams, Sales and Client Director UK and Ireland at Better and Murrae Tolson, Programme Director for the Urgent Care Plan London session “Delivering an Urgent Care Planning Solution for Five Integrated Care Systems in the Capital”. The session outlined how it took only seven months to mobilise a care planning solution for OneLondon, highlighting it wouldn’t have been possible without strong leadership, strategic decision-making, leading tech based on open standards, vendor collaboration and listening and engaging with key stakeholders.  

On the second day the themes we saw across the stages were very much similar to day one, with a lot of speakers focusing on digital maturity, virtual wards and the future of integrated care. A session that really stood out was chaired by Lisa Emery, Chief Transformation Innovation and Digital Officer at NHS Sussex with the focus being on “Implementing connected EPRs and Shared Care Records: Can open APIs and Standards Accelerate Progress”.  

Lisa was joined by Clare Cassidy, Lead Architect at NHS transformation directorate; Ewan Davis, Director at Woodcote Consulting; Phil Bottomley, Digital Strategic Lead at The Christie;  Rhidian Hurle, CCIO and Medical Director for Digital Health and Care Wales and Stuart McLellan, CIO at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Thanks to the diversity of the panel, the conversation that unfolded was particularly interesting, especially around how to bring healthcare IT systems together effectively. Our favourite quote came from Ewan who said: “If I could fix one thing it would be to see some continuity in leadership.”  

Exhibition – 7/10 

The exhibition floor seemed smaller this year which forced delegates to make the most of the space and often meant the stages overflowed into the conference floor.  

It was welcome to see some exhibitors taking bigger risks and creative flair with their stands, like one stand which featured a smoothie machine – powered by a watt bike! That being said, there were also many stands that lacked extravagant stand design which made others stand out in comparison.  

Networking – 7/10 

As the show was well attended by many professionals across the digital health industry, there was plenty of opportunity to network! Although, pinning people down between the very busy schedule was tricky. As always, the networking drinks at the end of the first day was a great time for everyone to unwind, meet new faces and reflect on an eventful day. The second day was just as busy as the first which, unfortunately didn’t offer much time in between sessions to meet with exhibitors or other delegates. All in all, HETT is always a great opportunity to network with people from every breadth of the industry,  

In summary  

Overall, we had a fantastic time at HETT this year. As always, the show was filled with a great amount of knowledge from a variety of exhibitors and speakers, providing a welcome opportunity for delegates to learn and meet like-minded people in the digital health industry. 

Want to know what other events are coming up in health and care? Head over to our events page where you’ll find links to all the latest conferences and exhibitions. 

Overall Silver Buck Rating – 7/10