Saturday, June 19, 2010

Health 2.0 Goes To Washington- A summary

Health 2.0 goes to Washington was held on June 7, 2010 in Washington, DC at The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. was in attendance along with hundreds of other Health 2.0 companies, entrepreneurs, ePatients, advocates and government officials for this exciting day of events. Once again, I left a Health 2.0 event feeling as though I had learned many things, met some wonderful people and had reinforced our collective vision of quality healthcare that is available for all people.
Our “conference calculus” is always performed before we spend a single dollar of our start-up budget to attend any of the myriad events in the “healthcare space.” As CEO of it is my job to constantly introduce our company and it’s instant, 2-way, healthcare staff communications system to potential customers, possible investors, government movers and shakers and the healthcare business media. When performing our “conference calculus” on the various conferences we could attend, I am always impressed that Matthew Holt and Dr. Indu Subaiya’s Health 2.0 conferences rate so highly.
The DC event was my second Health 2.0 event, the first was in San Francisco in October 2009 when was selected to present for 3.5 minutes live on-stage to an international audience. The board of directors of, including myself, was incredulous that we would even consider buying a plane ticket, a hotel room and flying across the USA to present for a few minutes at a “newer” health conference. However, after speaking with Matthew and Indu, several previous presenters and participants, and much homework, we decided to attend. It was, without a doubt, on of the best business decisions made by our company. During a whirlwind couple of days we met corporate leaders, healthcare investors, fellow entrepreneurs, ePatients with moving stories and hundreds of people figuring out a “better way” to deliver care and participate in our healthcare system.
“Health 2.0 Goes to Washington” was all of that and much more. Connecting with old friends, meeting familiar social media faces in real life, and the magical chaos of sponsors, entreprenuers, patient advocates, ePatients and investors made for a high energy, action packed day. The addition of prominent government officials, who are striving to encourage participation in the future of healthcare design and delivery, added an official “we’ve arrived” feeling to the event. Once again, all the ingredients needed for an action packed day where present and accounted for.
The unofficial kick-off was the Tweetup held Sunday night at Vaviano’s near DuPont Circle in DC. Organized by the ever supportive Cindy Throop (@CindyThroop) and attended by Phil Baumann (@PhilBaumann or @RNChat), Trisha Torrey (@TrishaTorrey), Barbara Ficarra (@BarbaraFicarra), Carlos Rizo (@CarlosRizo), Amy Romano (@midwifeamy), Gilles Frydman (@gfry), Mark Schrimshire (@ekivemark), Francisco Grajales (@CiscoGiii) and several others was a great way to connect, reconnect and kick-off Health 2.0 Goes to Washington.
The next morning, bright and early, registration and breakfast began. I met Carol Torgan (@CTorgan) as she checked me in to the event and we both commented on the excitement in the air for the day’s events. At breakfast, we became reacquainted with old friends and made new ones. I even met the world famous investor Esther Dyson (@edyson) and said a brief “Hello.”  We then headed to the auditorium for the morning’d events which began with an introduction by Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) and Indu Subaiya   (@BlueTopaz) to ONC initiatives by the ever-helpful Wil Yu, Director of Innovation for the ONC’s Health IT program.
Then came the Health 2.0 tools showcase with presentations by Greg Fitzgerald of HealthCentral, Howard Steinberg of dLife, Ellen Baldinelli of ScanAvert, Alexandra Drane of Eliza, Mike Kirkwood of Polka, Matt Parker of DestinationRx and the inimitable Erick Von Schweber with his entertaining SurveyorHEALTH demonstration all moderated by Health 2.0 Accelerator’s Julie Murchinson.
Next up was our panel discussion “The Role of Consumers in Health 2.0” moderated by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (@healthythinker) and included Linda Harris from the HHS, Carol Diamond of the Markle Foundation, Gordan Norman of Alere, and Trisha Torrey of It was a lively discussion about the role of consumers in healthcare with great points made by all. And to think, it was only 10 am.
Our coffee break include opportunities to see the Cisco ‘Deep Dive” with Dr. Danny Sands (@DrDannySands) or check out the exhibition hall. The WebEx for Healthcare seemed like a good idea from the Cisco Deep Dive. After this break we returned for the ‘Data drives Decisions” part of the showcase. David Hale from the National Library of Medicine showed us their amazing Pillbox software that can ID medication tablets over the phone. Hugo Stephenson showed us iGuard to notify of recalls (and gave away an Ipad), Mark Walinske explained Boundary Medical and Daniel Palestrant discussed Sermo.
A Todd Park keynote on data liberation lead to a panel discussion with Kenneth Buetow from the National Cancer Institute, Patrick Soon-Shiong the amazing Chairman of Abraxis Health and Josh Sommer of The Chordoma Foundation. All of them had remarkable stories to share and plenty of inspiration to go around. This lead to lunch.
Lunch demonstrated some of the magic that happens at a Health 2.0 event. I was in discussions with a well-known media personality about a story on, while being approached to partner with a newer firm that wants to be able to instantly communicate with their customers and, momentarily interrupting both of them, I tried for the third time that day to share what is and does with Esther Dyson. As she was hurrrying past to another important meeting, I asked her for a moment of her time to tell her what does. Mid-way through her practiced, polite brush-off she suddenly stopped, faced me full-on, squared her shoulders as she squinted her appraisal of me and said, “You’ve got 1 minute.” An entreprenuer’s dream come true! Without hesitation those hundreds and hundreds of repeated 60 second and 90 second “elevator pitches” produced a clear, precise explanation of what is and does- We help hospitals and healthcare systems contact and confirm their providers and other staff by 2-way text, phone and email communications- to put the right people in the right place at the right time.  She graciously stated, “it sounds like a great idea” and asked for my card. I gladly provided one, thanked her for her time, and said I’d be in touch and shook her hand “goodbye.” I then returned to my table of my now amazed colleagues, shook hands on exploring the partnership with our new Health 2.0 company friend, agreed to do a piece with my journalist friend and then went back to the auditorium, riding on cloud nine, and proceeded to shake hands and converse with Wil Yu from the ONC. Man!, I love these events :-)
The afternoon was a wonderful blur of new introductions, Dr. Danny Sands, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Jamie Heywood of Patients Like Me, Erik Von Schweber, Ted Eytan (@TedEytan), Regina Holliday (@reginaholliday), Gilles Frydman, David Hale (@lostonroute66), Kevin Walsh (@KWalsh30) and many more. In addition we participated in “Moving the Needle of Innovation Together” a great breakout session hosted by Wil Yu and Julie Murchinson that grouped participants together to try and brainstorm solutions to specific health 2.0 challenges. It was beneficial and enlightening and many of the participants felt we could do a full day session of just this type of problem-solving.
Back to the auditorium for an energetic keynote, the HHS announced the freeing of enormous amounts of HHS data for developers and announced a “Developer’s Challenge” that you can find out more about on the Health 2.0 website. We then had the last panel of the day with Esther Dyson, Chris Schroeder and Wil Yu that clearly summed up the day- Health 2.0’s challenges are our opportunities for business, growth, health and enlightenment. Together we can address this challenge successfully with a combination of technology and common sense.
When I do my “conference calculus” on which events to spend our marketing and education dollars, Health 2.0 events always seem to come out on top. The amazing blend of industry, government, providers, payors, patients and entrepreneurs is unrivaled, unparalleled, and undoubtably worth the time, effort and expense to attend.
To Matthew Holt, Indu Subaiya and the entire Health 2.0 crew and community, Kudos! on another job well done! and myself, Matthew Browning (@matthewbrowning) will see you in San Francisco this October!! Keep up the great work!!