Each year, the Innovatix + Essensa National Meeting & Expo brings together members, contracted suppliers, and staff for three highly anticipated days of learning, networking, and business development. This past October, we welcomed 500+ attendees to the dynamic city of Austin, TX, marking the 10th anniversary of our last meeting in Austin, and our first meeting since our acquisition by Premier.
Innovatix and Essensa Advisory Group members started the meeting with a breakfast talk by bestselling author and business speaker, Jon Acuff. Jon’s humorous and engaging style energized the crowd, while his message about developing manageable goals in order to get more accomplished clearly resonated with the business leaders in the audience.
The programming for all attendees kicked off later that day with a welcome from Premier CFO Craig McKasson, followed by a keynote address from John P. Sganga, in his new role as Premier’s Senior Vice President, Alternate Site Programs. Craig’s remarks focused on what Innovatix and Essensa bring to the table for Premier, the importance of alternate site healthcare and non-healthcare programs to Premier’s overall strategy, and how the combination of Innovatix, Essensa, and Premier serves as a force multiplier for progress within the healthcare system. John then opened his address with a reminder of Innovatix and Essensa’s humble beginnings, our journey to becoming a leader in alternate site group purchasing and operations, and our integration with Premier. Throughout his talk, John emphasized how Innovatix and Essensa’s values align with Premier’s, and that together with our members, we are building a legacy that will endure to change the healthcare and business landscape.
After Craig and John concluded their remarks, our special guest keynote speaker, TV personality and comedian Jay Leno, took center stage. A legendary performer, Jay used his unique style, wit, and delivery to keep the audience in stitches while expounding on topics ranging from prescription drug names to the health effects of aging.
The evening network event, Experience Austin at Brazos Hall, provided an opportunity for members, suppliers, and staff to connect. The venue—a combination of historic and new Austin—reminded attendees of the need for businesses to retain their core values, while also innovating and moving forward. The evening was highlighted by a donation to Austin Pets Alive!, an organization working to rescue, shelter, and reunite animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey. The contribution, made on behalf of Innovatix and Essensa members, will provide much-needed resources to support the recovery efforts.
This year’s meeting featured more than 20 educational programming sessions that were organized into four parallel tracks curated to meet the needs of all attendees: 1) clinical; 2) government affairs, regulatory issues, and alternate payment models; 3) business operations and management; and 4) purchasing and supply chain. The four tracks included over 14 hours of accredited continuing education sessions for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, long-term care administrators, and nurses.
All four tracks featured well-renowned subject matter experts and thought leaders who shared their knowledge with attendees. Sessions were interactive and featured dialogue and participation. Prominent sessions included Rep. Buddy Carter, the only pharmacist in the U.S. Congress, discussing healthcare priorities and legislation that impact non-acute providers; a discussion on how to better incorporate analytics into business decisions; strategies to improve opioid use in the long-term care setting; experts in cultural diversity and conflict resolution providing lessons for a more productive workplace; advice for pharmacies to thrive in value-based care environments; and more.
This year’s meeting also featured our largest Exhibition Hall ever, with more than 120 exhibitors on hand to educate members about the value their products and services provide. Innovatix and Essensa staff provided a crucial link, personally facilitating conversations between exhibitors and members aimed at creating winning outcomes through purchasing. Exhibitors also had the opportunity to directly engage with Innovatix, Essensa, and Premier member-facing staff during our inaugural reverse trade show. In addition, the exhibitors appreciated inclusion in the full program of events throughout the meeting, which increased their interaction with members, creating more opportunities for mutual success.
Innovatix pharmacy member
Pharmaceutical supplier and first-time exhibitor
Essensa hospitality member and first-time attendee
– Foodservice supplier
Innovatix senior living member
Facilities and maintenance supplier