3 Insights from Health 2.0 Fall Conference 2015

Being a digital health enthusiast, the Fall Health 2.0 Conference is like a sacred pilgrimage I take every year into the minds of the heroes of healthcare, who are trying to rid the healthcare system of its sicknesses.

The sheer number of sessions can be overwhelming, but here are a few insights from the 9th version of Health 2.0 in 2015, which came with a fresh flavor of vendor maturity.

1-  Digital Health is moving towards becoming its own industry

Indu Subaiya’s savvy, real-time text-based poll of the audience showed that more people feel that the digital health “revolution” is becoming its own digital health industry. (It also indirectly proves that SMS is by far, the most engaging tool).

Matthew Holt’s keynote built on that idea by highlighting how Health 2.0 is going into the mainstream. As he noted in his keynote, “It is time to create a model that ensures that all of our great work can thrive and survive.”

This was strongly reflected in the sessions and exhibition hall, where companies moved from cool toys to functional platforms and audience questions went from “What is this?”  to “How will it fit?

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 6.45.15 PM


2-  Regulation, ROI and Culture are why customers buy technologies

 This mainstream movement is contingent on technologies going from experimentation to adoption, and for that, Matthew invited to his keynote one of the most knowledgeable people on the topic: Michael Millenson.

Michael and Matthew outlined that what generally makes technologies useful in healthcare is a move towards transparency, more “meaningful use and a better healthcare experience. But in health care, there is often a disconnect” between what is good for the patient and what providers will buy.

So what will make providers buy your app or solution? Well…according to Matthew and Michael three things:

a.   Regulation: They have to buy it

The recent history of adoption of EMRs following the 2009 HITECH law did not only bend the market in EMR vendors’ favor, but the government itself paid for providers to buy the products. However, those who got that money needed to show “meaningful use” (MU) of the EMRs. Those regulations paved the way for companies to sell services to the same providers that met the MU criteria.

Is healthcare any more efficient because of all that? Well,  most providers are frustrated with the technology and few patients own their own data, so maybe that is not the best way to stimulate efficiency.

b.   ROI: Making your customer richer

Using the example of Disease Management services in the late 90s, Matthew outlined how ROI can be more theoretical than practical, as the Medicare Health Support Study deemed most of those services were worth very little after everyone had bought them.

This makes it imperative for us to be able to “make sure that the ROI studies are done with proper math and validation” said Matthew, alluding to the Validation Institute, which certifies companies for just that.

c.   The product promotes the mission or culture of the organization.

“Information technology medicine is becoming  [all of] medicine,” said Michael, talking about the new, modern and perhaps greatest development in the Health 2.0 movement where providers are looking for ways to do what is best for the patient as opposed to looking for hard ROI to rationalize patient safety and well-being.

Check out my one-on-one interview with Michael Millenson here, for more in depth insights on what makes technologies get adopted successfully.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 6.46.59 PM

Michael Millenson (Left) and Matthew Holt (Right) giving a thought provoking Keynote

3- Data continues to tie it all together

On the last day, 9 different entrepreneurs were interviewed by Indu about how they leverage data in many different fields. A common thread was that great things happen when we merge different data sets together which do not represent medicine, but actually represent life.

A great example was given by Dr. Jay Bhatt from the Illinois Hospital Association which gathered data about those Chicago addresses where children tested for lead showed the most lead in their blood. They added a layer about environmental and birth data then integrated that successfully into the EMR.

Now, Chicago clinicians can anticipate lead poisoning in a proactive way for the first time using data that has already existed for years! Can we apply this method to all aspects of healthcare? Andy Krakhov, Associate Director of the California Health Care Foundation certainly thinks so. “Finding, analyzing and aggregating this data has certainly become easier and faster than any other time,” he told the crowd on Wednesday morning. “Tying emotion with data to tell a story and make it useable is the current challenge.”

As Health 2.0 moves towards its 10th Anniversary, many ideas are recurring every year with greater power. Customers are learning about how to validate technologies using proper science, data crunching tools have become much faster while consumer engagement and leveraging data in a story still remain, depending on your viewpoint, either major challenges or colossal opportunities.

 Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 6.37.09 PM

   Interactive data visuals make public health datasets usable for providers

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 6.42.34 PM


Chicago’s lead poisoning problem – owned!


Omar is a physician, writer and data analyst. After realizing the potential of exponential technologies to reshape the inefficiencies of healthcare, he left medicine and moved to San Francisco to immerse himself within the network of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, while working on technology projects of his own. Omar frequently writes for Health 2.0 News while consulting major organizations with the Healthcare Practice of Clarity Solution Group. View all posts by OMAR SHAKER →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *