Healthcare Legislation, The Health Impacts of Loneliness, and Psychedelics: Health Track Sessions For SXSW 2018

Explore the innovative concepts and technologies that seek to improve health in our communities. The Health Track at SXSW addresses topics ranging from the statistics of how wealth impacts health to the use of psychedelics to treat mental health disorders. Patients, caregivers, providers, payers, policy makers, designers, entrepreneurs, and investors will gain insight from these Health Track sessions.

“We've just celebrated the New Year and wished our friends and loved ones a happy and healthy 2018, but can this wish for happy and healthy be one in the same?” asks SXSW Programmer Dana Abramovitz. The panelists behind the session Not Only the Lonely: How We Can All Be Happier – moderated by reporter Billy Baker from The Boston Globe and author of the viral article, "The Biggest Threat Facing Middle-aged Men Isn't Smoking or Obesity. It's Loneliness" – have evidence to suggest it can. Abramovitz adds, "Baker's discussion focuses on happiness, how we can connect with others to be happy, how happiness can contribute to our health and how technology can help."

Explore highlighted topics in the Health Track like Health Care Legislation, Mental Health, the Opioid Epidemic, and more. The Health Track takes place March 9-13 with primary access to Interactive and Platinum Badges; secondary access to all other badges.

Health Highlights

Hacking the Opioid Epidemic

Speakers: KAREN HORGAN (VAL Health), SANDEEP KAPOOR (Northwell Health), DR CLAY MARSH (West Virginia University), and SREE SREENIVASAN (Center10 Consulting LLC)

Overwhelmed by the prevalence of opioids, the nation’s hospitals have become the front line in a war on addiction. Thankfully, we have a secret weapon: behavioral science. By analyzing data and making small but critical changes, we can meet the challenge head-on. This panel of experts will share the most effective hacks hospitals are already using to slow the tide of the epidemic.

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Healing the Mind: Design, Tech & Psychedelics


Fascinating innovations are happening in mental health. Designers are challenging what it means to experience care and reshaping how we measure impact in patients’ lives. Tech companies are putting doctors in your pocket and globally transforming lives. Meanwhile psychedelic research, once banned, is making a comeback. Drugs like psilocybin (shrooms) can potentially treat anything from distress in advanced cancer patients to alcoholism. Come experience the radical future of mental health.

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Your Zip Code: The Key to Health

Speakers: GARTH GRAHAM (Aetna Foundation), JAY BHATT (American Hospital Association), KAVITA PATEL (Brookings Institution & Johns Hopkins Medicine Sibley Primary Care), and ERIC GERTLER (US News & World Report)

When it comes to health, your zip code is more important than your genetic code. New data shows how those 5 digits define and drive the health of residents across this country’s 43,000 zip codes. Learn how communities are improving their health by tackling the social determinants of health – the factors outside the doctor’s office that have the most impact on health and well-being. And some communities are moving the needle – their best practices and innovative policies will be shared.

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Returning Health Care to its Purpose

Speakers: ELIZABETH TEISBERG (Dell Medical School at UT Austin) and Dell Medical School at UT Austin (Dell Medical School at UT Austin)

The existential purpose of health care is health. Yet, the omnipresent pressures of payment and bureaucracy make it increasingly difficult for clinicians to offer, or for individuals to find, services that offer integrated, appropriate solutions supporting health and wellness. Beyond fitness for those enjoying good health, care can be designed to improve meaningful health outcomes across a wide array of health challenges. Let's make health care reform about health and care -- not just payment.

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Next Generation Health Clinic: Deciphering Fact from Fad

Speakers: DAVID STARK (Mount Sinai) and JOEL DUDLEY (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

From steps to heart rate to diet, patients are empowered to track their health. But how do patients best navigate fact from fad? Through data. Lab100 at Mount Sinai is a hybrid clinic and research lab leveraging data and technology to redesign the way health is measured and care is delivered. We're using longitudinal multi-scale health data and a testbed environment to develop, validate and deploy new products and services. Want to know if the latest diet or exercise program is right for you? Come hear what the data says.

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Crossover Track Recommendations

Broaden your perspective by attending SXSW sessions across all 24 Tracks of Conference programming. These recommended sessions are outside of the Health Track, but relate to topics of interest to health professionals.

Purchase your SXSW Badge and reserve your hotel today to experience these sessions along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 9-18 in Austin, TX. Take the Tracks Quiz to discover which badge will suit your needs.

Already have your badge? Learn how to upgrade to Platinum for primary access to all of SXSW and then begin building your 2018 SXSW Schedule.

Stay tuned to SXSW News and Twitter for more highlights from Conference Tracks and continued coverage of SXSW 2018.

By Hayden Bagot