Our call for 2021 proposals has closed.

HXD 2021 Call for Speakers is now open!

Are you a designer? A provider? An innovator? An advocate? All are welcome at the Health Experience Design Conference, a diverse community practitioners and leaders in design, innovation, research, strategy, and technology, dedicated to accelerating the transformation of our health care system.

What is HXD?
The annual HXD conference provides a unique crossroads for a diverse community of practitioners and leaders in design, innovation, research, strategy, and technology to help accelerate the transformation of our health care system. Mad*Pow founded the Health Experience Design Conference ten years ago. Since that time it has become the leading conference advocating for person-centered experience innovation in health. Attracting over 500 visionaries across the health ecosystem, this two-day mix of inspiring presentations, workshops, and discussion drives real world change.


  • The deadline to apply is November 30, 2020. The deadline to apply has been extended to Sunday December 6, 2020 at midnight ET!
  • This year’s conference will be held April 6 & 7, 2021. The format (physical v digital) is TBD.
  • The audience will include a mix of designers, professionals from the health industry, researchers, and others.
  • Talks will be delivered in 30 minute sessions including 15-20 minutes for the talk and 10 minutes for Q&A.
  • Speakers will receive free attendance to both days of the conference.
  • If you require travel reimbursement, please let us know. We have a limited travel budget and can work 1:1 with selected speakers to make sure they are able to attend.

Should I submit?
We welcome submissions from anyone with advice, experience, and best practices to share. Our 2021 HXD Conference theme is Driving Systemic Change. We are accepting speaker submissions on these topics:

Evolving Design and Innovation Practices
In general, organizations have been focused on ways to scale and extend their design and innovation practices – that is, bringing these approaches into our organizations and infusing them into our work in a way that is sustainable, repeatable and scalable. But with the events of the last year, many of us have had to scale down our plans by pivoting or refocusing on how we can support collaboration, co-creation, empathy, and iteration across our teams. Through this, we’ve had to become more responsive, adaptable, and agile than ever before. How have organizations successfully adjusted their approaches? In our Evolving Design and Innovation Practices track at HXD 2021, we will share first-hand stories of the successes, challenges, and practical take-aways that teams have encountered as they’ve worked to overcome the challenges we’ve faced over the last year.

Novel Technologies for Health Behavior Change
Digital Behavior Change Interventions (DBCIs) offer great promise to positively impact health outcomes from primary prevention to the effective management of chronic conditions. In addition to increasing access to treatment and advice, novel digital technologies such as augmented and virtual realities, chatbots and virtual agents, smart sensors, context-aware IoT devices, and other responsive and dynamic health-tech can deliver interventions that are individualized, predictive, and deliver real-time behavioral strategies to engage and influence users when they are most in need or open to taking action. This track will offer a series of presentations highlighting the current promise (and pitfalls) of employing state-of-the-art novel technologies to engage users and promote successful health behavior change.

Equity by Design: Designing with Communities
Healthcare is only responsible for a small part of our health; social determinants of health, the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age play a much greater role. Like access to healthcare, access to other resources like employment, housing, education, food, and safety are not equitably distributed at the local, national, and global level. In this track, we will discuss how social and environmental barriers disproportionately affect certain communities and how we can begin to impact these determinants through design.

Innovation in Life Sciences
Against the tragic backdrop of the Covid Pandemic, 2020 was like no other year in the history of life sciences. Not since WWII has there been an era, let alone a 9-month period, which such transformative effects across the industry from the practice of medicine, to the use of technology, to the innovation in drug discovery. Life sciences companies have been stretched, challenged, and forced under extreme circumstances to adapt and change. While this silver lining pales in light of all of the lives lost, it is also provides enormous opportunity. How will we embrace and build on the positive aspects of this transformation to fix that which has been so broken in this industry? How will we ensure that the innovations are inclusive and equitable?  Join us to hear from speakers from across the life sciences ecosystem who have been central in the innovation coming out of the pandemic and a discussion on how we ensure that the momentum continues in a way that benefits everyone. 

Managing the Financial Aspect of Health
Health and finance are more and more interconnected. Medical expenses are the number one reason for bankruptcy in the US and health is noted as the highest expense in retirement. We know that over half of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency and yet more and more consumers have high deductible health plans which require more cash out of their pocket than before. The lack of transparency in the system can lead people to be unaware of expenses coming their way, not understand the bills when they come, and not understand their plan and their ultimate financial responsibility. This can lead people to fund medical debt on credit cards and even avoid treatment because they can’t afford the expense. Financial products like HSAs are designed to support consumers in planning for and affording health expenses and can even reduce their taxable income and provide a long-term savings and investment vehicle, but many people are not aware or do not use them as they are designed. In addition, the stress associated with financial volatility can add to an individual’s stress and can actually cause or exacerbate the health problems they face.

Patient Experiences that Heal & Empower
What should the patient experience of the future be like? During this track we will look at all aspects of understanding the patient and family perspective, imagining vastly improved experiences, building consensus across the organization toward a vision, and leveraging human-centered design to facilitate change.  How might we capture, measure, and communicate existing patient experiences such that they stimulate innovation and change? What are the right methods to truly empathize with patients in context? We will explore the elements that are crucial for tailored experiences that resonate as successful solutions and touch upon various aspects of the patient experience from service design, to participatory design and co-creation, the design of the physical environment, patient empowerment and self-efficacy, care coordination, decision support, wayfinding, anxiety reduction, entertainment, and “digital front door” efforts.

Clinician & Caregiver Experiences
This session will focus on how we can design the experiences and digital solutions that support clinicians and caregivers and how we can enhance connection and relationships. Clinicians are bearing the burden of an increased administrative load to the point where burnout is on the rise and some are even leaving the profession. There are an increasing number of people who are stepping into the role of caregiver nationwide as they look after the health and wellbeing of their loved ones. Thus, we rely on cultural shifts, new experiences, and new innovations to alleviate frustration and provide support, leading to positive clinician and caregiver experiences, which are essential for delivering positive patient experiences and better health for all involved.

Digital Health: Designing Products that People Trust and Embrace
The venue may now be digital but relationships still matter most. When it comes to healthcare technology, trust is everything. If patients do not trust a product or the people behind it, they will likely become reluctant or non-users. Moreover, if users feel betrayed by technology – if it does not meet their needs or is inconvenient – they might leave and never return. Once trust is lost, it is hard to regain. As healthcare providers incorporate technology more heavily into the care process, the people who develop these technologies must remain laser-focused on trust – both for the patients’ and providers’ benefit. This track will explore how psychology and human-centered design help us to create digital health solutions that people trust and embrace such that engagement will flourish and adoption, utilization, and self-efficacy will be achieved.

Health Literacy
How do we tell the story we want to tell while building meaningful relationships with our audience? How do we communicate in a way that people can understand and relate to? And how do we determine what content and message is most appropriate and relevant? This session will dig into these questions and more to help you enhance digital communication and engagement with health content that matters.

Questions? Contact Ryan Queenan, Mad*Pow Marketing Manager.