Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Walkers" keep on walkin', Talkers get to talkin' and Mover's & Shakers- yep, you guessed it- Get to Movin' and Shakin'!

Rolling home on Metro North from NYC to New Haven on a blistering hot afternoon with my mind on fire from a combination of Healthcare and Heat- ON FIRE! I tell ya!

What a week. Healthcare will NEVER be the same after this one week. The needle has been moved, the ground has been shaken and the old paradigms shattered forever. The sloths of enterprise and legacy, the paternal guardians of "our" health, the protectors of inefficiencies, dangerous practices and refusal to change now sniff danger in the air…they sense that their very survival is at stake, that the future of healthcare has made itself present, and that the winds of change have become the "winds of changed". Exciting times, indeed. The nimble ones will prosper, the sloths will not.

Why? What could happen in one short week? Ever read Genesis ;-)  This is the week of #DCHealth and this baby is growing up quickly! We are way past "Alpha" here, and no where near" Omega"- maybe somewhere around "Delta"? Again, Why? Let share some thoughts with you.

The big picture, as I understand it, is that after YEARS of trying to bring the Healthcare horse to water- It has finally approached the trough and is VERY thirsty. Without the life saving elixir of Innovation, Healthcare runs the very real risk of an agonizing, slow death- taking all the profits with it and stranding its precious cargo of reliant patients and consumers. Umm, Huh?

Plainly, Big Brother has stepped in and is playing the tune. That tune is "Data Liberacion, Application Innovacion and Healthcare Revolucion". Seeing the need to spur innovation in healthcare (with the foresight of an historian), the government (HHS, IOM, NIH, EPA) have joined forces (no, really!) to liberate the troves of data that we have payed them to collect, and that they have been collecting since, well, Genesis… This data is being provided in easily accessible formats for innovators, entrepreneurs, institutions to avail themselves of in the creation of healthcare, wellness, health maintenance, and health data applications. In that spirit they helped change agents like Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya from Health 2.0 join with grassroots healthcare ninjas like Mark Scrimshire and Maumi Chatterton from The HealthCamp Foundation and powerful Patient Advocates like Regina Holliday, ePatient Dave and Trisha Torrey to come together in DC to put the world on notice- The status quo is dead, change is ALREADY occurring and it is futile to resist. 

The week kicked off with #TheWalkingGallery. In a word, it was Awesome- no, Spectacular, no,  Sublime, no Transformational, no, …um… How about AwsTacLimAtional?? Naw, but it was WAY cool. Sorry? Oh yes, what WAS it? The Walking Gallery was the brainchild of one of the most effective, compassionate and talented Patient Advocates on this planet- The quintessential "Little Miss Type-A", Shepherdess of Stories, Interpretive Artiste Extraordinaire  and kick-ass Mom- Regina Holliday. She envisioned a gallery of Walking Canvases sharing the successes, failures, shortcomings and possibilities of the HealthCare system through paintings of the powerful stories of individuals involved in healthcare. Simple, right? Simply Incredible! Over 50 "Walkers" each and every one with a moving healthcare experience visage, in the open, bared to all, carried upon their back- literally- in the form of a jacket with their painting portraying their stories on their backs. As they walked, sauntered, skipped and limped around the room, living, breathing testaments to the unvarnished truth of our current healthcare system- Warts and all. They say a picture is worth a thousands words…well, these paintings take that a whole magnitude higher. The stories represented, matched with the faces of those who experienced them, floated by haunting, healing, hoping to be evocative, provocative and freed to be shared with the world, dared us to deny our humanity. Awareness of this TRUTH was no longer optional, it would NOT be denied, and it refused to SHUT UP! What we've seen can never be unseen and it is from this new place of understanding, confusion, awareness that we will  venture forth, sure in our need to change the system for the better, resolute in our determination to SPEAK UP for what is right in our current system and to no longer shirk our DUTY to expose it's dirty little secrets to sunshine. We are all Patient Advocates now, and many of us are impatient for change. This incredible event happened at Kaiser's futuristic "Hub" of Healthcare "The Center for Total Healthcare".  

The Kaiser location was the setting for the next event in #DCHealth week, as well.
The HealthCamp Foundation organized another hugely successful HealthCampDC. Remember I mentioned that we are no longer in "Alpha"? WOW! HealthCamp is all grown up now. It has its own opinions, agendas and personality now and , I've got to say, I LOVE IT! Did I say WOW already? Mark Scrimshire will go down in the history books as a true pioneer for husbanding HealthCamp from concept to a powerhouse playground of healthcare innovation, patient empowerment, participatory healthcare and human voice. The general concept brings together people of all backgrounds to discuss possibilities, problems, experiences and plans for healthcare. Think Brainstorming meets Speed-dating meets Empowered Patients meets Innovators and they all run into Action, Desire and Determination. Sounds like a party, right? Well, let's say it is a party with a purpose- The Human Party running on a platform of Patient-focused Participatory Medicine. We were proud to sponsor another HealthCamp and even more pleased to participate. We had a session on the #GreenButton as a method for patients and healthcare consumers to voluntarily donate THEIR healthcare data for research to allow for the crowd-sourcing of real-time patient data, allow the study and analysis of that data, leading to the establishing of evidence and outcome based practice to improve patient outcomes. HealthCamp could really needs its own full, detailed blog post, so consider that a VERY brief overview.

A bit of whirlwind travel later and I'd arrived home, late Wednesday, and was in NYC at 7am for the unNiched Satellite presentation of the Datapalooza event in DC. Now, not being there in DC but viewing from NYC limits my ability to share too much, but from what we saw Todd Park and team have created a monster :-)  A morning of high profile speakers, high-powered announcements and highly caffeinated innovators lead to demonstrations of healthcare applications that utilize the vast amounts of data that the government has made available. It was promised that 45 applications would be demonstrated by the end of the day- Wow! The unNiched event in NYC kicked off with keynotes by Fard Johnmar from Enspektos and Dr. Jaime Torres the Regional Director of Region II for HHS, comments by Krissy Goelz and myself and then a Ustream broadcast of the DC #HealthApps event. This was followed by a robust discussion of what we had seen, the government's role in Healthcare innovation, the participation of healthcare consumers and the general realization for many in attendance that the line has been drawn, the bar has been moved and that it was time to take off the gloves. 

#DCHealth week will continue on Friday and culminate on Saturday with a HUGE Hackathon for Healthcare Apps- Unfortunately I will be unable to attend.

"Healthcare" consider your self notified- The future is here! It includes technologies, data, providers, institutions, pharm, devices and, MOST importantly, a newly empowered, engaged and exceptional patient population that DEMANDS to be participants in THEIR own healthcare, to OWN their own data and to use THAT data to discern the TRUTH about effective healthcare, efficacious treatments and to Effect Change. And I tell you what, you'd be foolish to disregard them- THEY have SPOKEN!!

I am honored an humbled to be here, on this precipice with all of YOU, as we change our future as individuals, communities and as a society. I am privileged to know many of these change agents personally, I promise to do my part and will treat our cumulative and individual successes as springboards to continued improvement, as steps to a healthier Healthcare system and as markers of change from our tenuous beginnings. "Walkers" keep on walkin', Talkers get to talkin' and Mover's & Shakers- yep, you guessed it- Get to Movin' and Shakin'!