Another edition of the biggest event in the business of healthcare has come and gone. While more attendees are questioning its value given the size, noise and expense, in this Q&A GCMI CEO Tiffany Wilson shares her JP Morgan 2019 insights, advice and a look ahead to 2020.

What was most valuable for you at JP Morgan 2019?

It remains a concentrated opportunity to connect in person with many people in my network and build new relationships at the same time. Everyone there is in deal mode. It is a marathon week of meetings, receptions, thinking big and structuring deal flow for the year. It is also a valuable opportunity to learn about what startups are working on, what the big strategics are thinking and where healthcare systems are evolving.

What were the most significant things you learned?

It’s all about the data. Medtech companies need to be thinking about how they are integrating data and service models into their products to offer comprehensive solutions to customers.

People are still thinking about how to make the process of innovation more transparent, efficient and sustainable.The Valley of Death in the capital continuum is still alive and well.

Who has the potential to wring the highest value out of the event?

Investors looking at deal flow and startups who are actively raising sophisticated capital with a buttoned up story.

Who would be better served by using scarce resources elsewhere?

Very early stage innovators who don’t really have a plan together yet, unless you want to sleep on a friend’s couch for a week and do some network building and meeting investors; or at least try to meet them.

How do you make the most of it?

Book your hotel for 2020 now. Have a game plan on what you accomplish and make that plan early so you can arrange meetings and do your homework. Be prepared to pivot as schedules almost always change. Leave time for ad-hoc meetings and introductions as there is a lot of hype, but these connections do happen and can be of tremendous value. Build in time for a rest each day if possible. Mornings start early and receptions go late, and do not forget to bring an umbrella.

What surprised you most at JP Morgan 2019?

The homeless crisis in San Francisco is as bad as people say it is.

What do you suspect will change – or what will we be talking about – by JPM 2020?

I don’t know about a change, but we will continue to see data and AI in healthcare evolve. We will see new technologies, new business models and new approaches to the care continuum to improve lives.

Practically speaking, stakeholders around JPM week are growing increasingly tired of the expense of the trip. Hotels are unbelievably expensive even for accommodations that are, let’s just say, definitely not enjoying positive Yelp reviews. For these reasons, among others, I know some companies chose not to attend for the first time in years. Maybe a new city is up for the challenge.

What’s your top local ‘hack?’

The Westfield San Francisco Centre has a big food court with a lot of low-cost options for a quick lunch or snacks. Ladies, leave your high heels at home. Between the walking and the rain, you will thank me when you get home.

Tiffany Wilson is CEO of the Global Center for Medical Innovation. GCMI’s mission is to de-risk medical innovation to accelerate the speed and capital efficiency with which new medical devices and products are brought to market and patient care.