HLTH23, Day 1: Startups, providers, payers and retail giants flock to Vegas

LAS VEGAS—The HLTH 2023 conference kicked off Sunday expecting to draw up to 10,000 attendees from across the industry to plot the future of digital health innovation.

Highlighted speakers during the conference include executive leaders from digital health startups to health systems and payers and non-traditional players like Amazon and Walgreens.

This year's HLTH conference also features 950 exhibitors on the show floor and more than 100 sessions.

Check back here for the latest news and updates from the conference.

Pop superstar Nick Jonas talks future of diabetes care

The stars were out for the initial slate of keynote presentations on Sunday at HLTH. 

Singer Nick Jonas, one-third of popular boy band the Jonas Brothers, took the stage in the evening to discuss his lengthy journey with type 1 diabetes, and his work to push for better care to manage the disease.

Jonas was diagnosed with diabetes at age 13 while he and his brothers prepared to release their debut album. He was rushed to the hospital and learned his blood sugar levels had spiked to 900; the ideal range is between 70 and 120.

While there, he said he received a "crash course" in what his life would now look like given his diagnoses, and he was back on stage with the band within days.

"I think that was very intentional on my part to say, 'I'm not gonna let this slow me down,'" Jonas said. "And I will try to normalize speaking about diabetes for the next generation of people diagnosed with this disease in a way that I didn't have when I was scared, sitting in the hospital room learning about what my new reality was, and there wasn't a person on a platform that I could point to and say, well, it's gonna be okay."

Jonas was joined by DexCom's Chief Commercial Officer Teri Lawver. DexCom, which deploys technology tools for diabetes care, has teamed with Jonas on a series of Super Bowl ads.

"For me, my professional passion has been about finding ways to impact your health through novel technologies," she said. — Paige Minemyer

Optum, Uber team up on Medicare Advantage benefits

Ride-sharing app is teaming up with UnitedHealth's Optum to make it easier for seniors to pay for eligible Medicare Advantage benefits using Uber's app.

The aim is to simplify access to supplemental benefits.

Health plan benefit cards, including health spending account (HSA) and flexible spending (FSA) cards, can be added as a form of payment within the Uber app. This payment option can then be used to cover eligible expenses, including health-related rides, like non- emergency doctor visits, over-the-counter items and healthy food, Uber announced in a blog post Sunday.

The partnership pairs up Optum's financial payment arm with Uber’s national transportation and merchant network of grocery and retail stores. It will be offered as part of select Medicare Advantage plan benefits for 2024. It is expected to expand over time to also include people with Medicaid and commercial health benefits, Uber said. — Heather Landi