Inspiration, spirit, connection, optimism–Health 2.0 Spring Fling

It’s been crazy post Health 2.0 Spring Fling in San Diego, I tried do my wrap of highlights and feelings from this Health 2.0 before the plane touched down last week, but I never quite finished them. So with a little hindsight, here are some snippets of my experience. Now this was just one experience–Indu and I will write a more detailed statement about what’s next for Health 2.0 soon–but clearly the feeling at this intimate and deeply personal Health 2.0 was more about feelings, spirit and emotion than it was about technology.

Karen Herzog has been virtually at every Health 2.0 and she said right at the end that several companies are teaching wisdom and mindfulness and that we need to merge Wisdom 2.0 (yes that’s a conference too) with Health 2.0. My flip response was that I’d been working in the health care system twenty years and had yet to see any wisdom in it. Not true of course, but as Arnie Milstein pointed out, we have a system that continues to diverge the trend lines between health care cost growth and GDP growth. And at some point that “shark” jaws will bite us.

What really struck me and struck Karen too, was that one of the keys Arnie discovered for communities with high performing but lower cost health care systems (in the US) was that the patients there really felt that the medical team cared about them. He asked the audience how many people felt the same about their care providers–and from around 300 people fewer than five hands went up.

Flipping the whole conference around, we started with a period of intensely personal fireside chats. America’s pediatrician, Alan Greene, talking about the one moment that can change the obesity epidemic–the Whiteout movement’s pledge to make each baby’s first bite of food be real food, not white rice baby cereal. Kolya Kirienko told an incredible story of recording his own patient narrative saved his life several times, and how he is now (funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Project Health Design) building a narrative-capturing system that will really help patients record observations of daily living.

Finally an amazing troika of JD Kleinke (read his new novel Catching Babies), Amy Romano (@midwifeamy) and Health 2.0’s own mum to be Indu Subaiya dived into the amazing microcosm of our health system that is obstetrics. JD told Amy: childbirth is the one place where the patient has a choice to really opt out. You can’t have your hip replaced at home in a tub by someone the medical profession abhors. But you can have your baby “caught” that way. And Indu discussed how she as an MD made the decision to move from the trad OBGYN to a midwife and birthing center.

And not a demo in sight.

We did have Dean Ornish giving an outstanding keynote–mostly about replacing fear with hope. If you go on a diet, you’ll go off a diet, but perhaps we can help everyone to just do a little better each day. If you do better, you’ll feel better and it’s a self-reinforcing upwards spiral. Dean gave me his book The Spectrum and I am really enjoying reading about how to be healthier–your genes are not your fate, and Dean’s research is proving that prevention is a cure.

We also had the boundless enthusiasm of Todd Park and Asst Sec of Health Howard Koh getting really jazzed about the ability for technology to make HealthyPeople2020 goals available to everyone, not just health professionals.

Of course, it was Health 2.0 so there were lots of demos….but we were sure to link them to the three big themes of Wellness 2.0, Prevention, Exercise & Food (yes that was one theme not 4!), Making Health Care Cheaper, and The Future of Research. I’m going to arbitrarily pick one or two from each theme, and two from the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge. We also had great fun with the live Code-a-thon that was judged on the Monday.

  • Hemi Weingarten’s Fooducate was the first demo of the day and may have been the best. Hemi took a photo of a barcode of Lucky Charms and his application tells you what’s in it, and what might be a better choice. Hemi may also have had the line of the day in response to a question about whether tech can help with the outer aisles of the grocery store as well as the middle ones–”if it doesn’t have a bar code on it, it’s probably good for you”
  • Genomera is new, out there and amazing. Greg Biggers showed how people can bring their own data, create their own studies and mash up genotypical and phenotypical information to test hypotheses. You’ll have to see it and test it to really grok it, but it’s something that we knew had to have on at Health 2.0 within about a minute of seeing it. It’s a glimpse into a rich future of open data and personal experimentation.
  • Jay Mason tried to convince me three years ago that a booking system that referred uninsured patients and Medicaid patients to community clinics and physicians had a future. I didn’t believe him but he’s proved me wrong and MyHealthDirect now has a real business being a sort of reverse Open Table. It’s essentially charging the posh French restaurant (the hospital emergency room) to redirect the patrons who don’t need the Chateaubriand to the local sandwich shop (the community clinic). Given that the French restaurant often doesn’t get paid for that fine bottle of wine the patron might drink, both they and the sandwich shop are happy. And the patient gets better more convenient care.
  • And both Bart Foster with his cool new SoloHealth direct care kiosk, and Don Casey giving us a preview of WWHI’s Sense4Baby showed how IT infused care systems can make diagnosis available more cheaply to many more people.
  • Finally I just loved two challenge winners; Big Yellow Star showed a fabulous way to assess, visualize and compare c-section and other maternity data (now on http://www.mappinghealth.com/maternitycare) and won the ChildBirth Connection challenge. And the Epicenter project took some data from the Practice Fusion set and showed some the ability to do deep data combinations in a fun visualization–did you know that states rejecting the Affordable Care Act have higher than average syphilis rates? I guess you did.

So yes we had technology and we had wonderful advances in development, and lots of it. But Health 2.0’s Spring Fling had real spirit. And it made the connection to the real essence of what we mean by care delivery. The whole team is so excited to see where this is going, and we hope you’ll join us on the journey. And as I said at the start, Indu & I will soon let you know more about how.

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