Tuesday, October 12, 2010
San Francisco is celebrated world-wide for its historic architecture, multi-cultural heritage and glorious past. It has gracefully transitioned into the modern era, embracing human rights and equality, energy conservation and mass-transit and has become a de-facto mecca for technology with its valley of Silicon being ogled, and “Googled,” from both near and afar. The sanctity of that sureness advanced this week as the future of healthcare, in the form of the Health 2.0 week, stormed the Golden Gates and announced an new era of collaboration, exploration, innovation and wellness.
Never has the world seen such a conflux of disrupters, advocates, patients, technologists, writers, social media experts, investors, wizards, sages, gurus and staunch defenders of the old paradigms in an open, transparent, and international forum. They came to directly address, and begin to change, real and perceived challenges that are present within our existing healthcare system. An eclectic group of savvy cats herded by the indefatigable and prescient founders of the Health 2.0 Conferences, Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya, gathered to scratch the surface of healthcare’s future, hiss at existing inefficiencies and purr about interoperability with full access to our own data. The legacy providers were very busy, demonstrating surprising nimbleness, or were left licking their wounds in the cat box.
The rapid and dominant ascendence of the Health 2.0 conference, now a week-long affair, into a major international healthcare event lead San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to declare it “Health 2.0 Week” in San Francisco on Friday. Saturday, cleverly maneuvering to not be outdone by Friday, included a major Health 2.0 Developer’s challenge to create useful healthcare applications while newly accessible government data. This was a clearly overreaching, shattering all boundaries and expectations, rallying the diligent disciples and vibrant visionaries of Health 2.0 technology and relative unknowns, like Google, who hosted the event. We loved the idea, the execution, the attention and the winning apps! Unfortunately, we did not attended. It was only fitting that the ascendent to the uber-throne of healthcare application coding should be Alan Viars, of Videntity fame, who won the Health 2.0 Developer challenge.
On Wednesday, some attention switched to Kaiser’s Garfield Center in San Leandro for a very well organized and executed “unconference” called HealthCamp SFBay. Two hundred and fifty healthcare change agents converging at a world-class, world renown innovation center for a loosely structured, vibrant adventure into healthcare’s possibilities and potential. Envision a pinball machine of intriguing ideas bouncing around, setting off chain reactions of other remarkable possibilities- some leading to high scores, bright lights and high-fiving, while others spiral down to disappear out of play. A spectacular machine topped with a process as transparent as glass, where attendees may watch events unfolding as spectators, or effortlessly slip into play. A finely tuned mechanism that enable one to modify the future with a slight nudge or bump of an idea, or to abruptly end the play with a “tilt.” Constructed on four sturdy legs of Healthcare, Technology, People and Collaboration, HealthCamp allows participants to actualize imagination in a supportive exploratory environment to gauge reaction, interest, need and potential of ideas and concepts.
“A bunch of smart cookies, cooking up some smart things” would be an accurate description.
It was now time for the main event, a scheduled two-rounder with heavyweights, lightweights, successful producers and “soon to be, too-ers.” There was hardware, software, vaporware, “some day, somewhere”, everywhere and anywhere. There were common themes and uncommon dreams, free-miums and premiums, open sourced, crowd sourced, and poorly sourced ideas in abundance. Collaborators, instigators, perpetuators, and their haters, were present as well, complaining to high heaven about our “hell”thcare hell. There were prognosticators, with their indicators and their data in tow. Trailblazers with case studies, analysis, white papers and and facts were seen frolicking with dreamers making something, for someone unknown. The were names of Fame centered on stage, many worthy of praise, alternately expecting us to provide all of our data to them, or empowering us to access our information, needed healthcare research and locating healthcare providers. Indu and Matthew did a spectacular job at harnessing the creative chaos and channeling it into a substantive program replete with sex, drugs, rock and roll and, oh yeah, a whole lot of new and actionable information. Attendees were afforded incredible access to organizers, sponsors, presenters and other attendees. Heck, you can even invite Todd Parks to participate in your demo on-stage ;-).
Let’s call this the pre-amble, if you will. I look forward to summarizing our experiences at the Health 2 conference as soon as possible. Enjoy! And remember, talk health to me, Baby...