Health 2.0 Unconference NL - The Nitty Gritty Review

On April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis announced the success of Dr. Jonas Salk's polio vaccine trials.

Salk was a workhorse completely committed to his cause - he spent 5 years developing the vaccine and then a year testing it in the field.

It took more than 7 years of his life, but Salk's preventative R&D helped eradicate the polio virus' devastating effects. 2 years after widespread use, polio cases had fallen 85-90 percent.

53 years later, a movement in preventative wellness management is tackling the largest, 'unspeakable' problems in healthcare.

Health 2.0 promotes proactive, preventative measures to optimize individual health (and thereby improves collective health), putting the patient at the center of the care model.

With 2 years of HealthCamps, conferences, and most recently the Health 2.0 Unconference NL, the movement started by Salk-style workhorses Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya has gone viral worldwide.

When Maarten Den Braber, Martijn Hulst and I started emailing about our interest in Matthew and Indu's concept and planned the first Health 2.0 event in Europe, we had no idea we selected such a portentous date - you can't beat the success of the polio vaccine's annivarsary.

Is it arrogant to propose the Health 2.0 movement has the potential to make an impact as big as Dr. Salk's vaccine? Undoubtedly. But then again, refocusing on the patient has the power to positively impact healthcare delivery in a way that hasn't yet been quantified.

Maybe there isn't a cure for what ails healthcare, but Health 2.0 may very well be a vaccine.

The "Three Musketeers" who organized Health 2.0 NL are equally committed to the cause below, and left Saturday's event with a deeper commitment to linking worldwide consumer-centric healthcare events and supporters.

The big 'unspeakable' problem we're all trying to address (from Salk's vaccine to Health 2.0) is this - healthcare is an inherently reactive organ trying to be a predictive one. (So is medicine 2.0 - so is Wall Street for that matter...)

In a dingy, dark, suitably 2.0 loft building (Volkskrantgebouw) in Amsterdam (see Flickr photos here) a group of almost 50 people gave up their Saturday afternoon (on a rare gorgeous, sunny day in Holland) and tried to figure out how to move Health 2.0 from the visionary stages to the very real implementation phase.

There were balloons, vibrant voices, now-infamous junk food and tooth-destroying beverages (soda, coffee, beer, and sugar free Red Bull for the addicts in the house) - also more Macs than an Apple Convention. The only way this would have been more of a true "dot-0" event is if one of us took off our shoes mid presentation (or wore Adidas sandals a la Mark Zuckerberg).

Although there was plenty of buzz, here is why Health 2.0 will become a force to be reckoned with in Holland:

Everyone at Health 2.0 NL was fully committed to grounding the nebulous concept (for ourselves) and opening up the discourse for all to define the movement (consumer-centric care, human-to-human marketing, web 2.0's content+community).

Yet, we all kept an eye on potential benefits of implementation in practical terms for various market segments (providers, payers, patients, govt., etc).

It was a perfect meeting of the minds - we had both prophets and producers.

I speak for most there when I say we 'got the buzz,' but also that we moved pretty darn quickly to asking tough questions about Health 2.0 -including:
  • "what does this actually look like in practice?"
  • "which is most important, clinical results or customer relationships?"
  • "does our system even need quality/clinical improvements in Holland?"
  • "what does Health 2.0 NL have in common with US Health 2.0? How are they different?"
  • "what do successful Health 2.0 business models look like - for providers? for payers? for govt? for patients?" (case studies - can it make money? can it make people healthier? can it reduce costs?)
We're trying to define, direct, and then disseminate Health 2.0 efforts, opening the door for consumer/patient discourse, in the real world here in Holland.

To do that, there are 3 types of people needed to move consumer-centric, human-to-human care (Health 2.0) forward:

1. Innovators - inspiring creators/visionaries ("us)
2. Interrogators - inquiring critics ("them")
3. Implementers - those who harness benefits of clashes between innovators and interrogators and "do"

When I was preparing for Health 2.0 NL, I assumed we'd have a crowd of all Type 1 people - inspiring visionaries.

I'm happy to report I was utterly wrong. We had plenty of interrogators. Some attendees provided tentative stabs at what implementation would look like in their organizations (consulting firms, marketing/communication firms, web/tech firms, hospitals, insurance firms, students, etc).

This means in Holland we're not just excited by the possibility of being involved in something 'big,' we're focused on harnessing H2.0 and developing ways to evangelize to providers and payers and bring offerings to consumers "where and when they live" at a price SOMEONE is willing to pay (who pays for consumer-centric care is an entirely different animal).

At Health 2.0 NL this weekend, I suggested the success of this movement requires not only continued coordination of efforts among the three types of people above, but an equally strong commitment to integrating two types of complementary (rather than competing) initiatives:

1. efficiency and;
2. empathy.

For more details, you can view my amusing (I hope) PowerPoint here at SlideShare (and access the complete suite of presentations - and I guarantee they're much more professional and constructive - given this weekend here at the Health 2.0 NL group).

Tip: Ignore the joke slides and head straight for the meaty definitions - without the dialogue I use during the presentation they're not useful (unless you really like photos of ninjas or MGs).

For the purposes of advancing consumer-centric care, efficiency initiatives improve clinical outcomes, while empathy initiatives improve the consumer-centric patient 'experience.'

In other words, efficiency+empathy initiatives combine the hard 'science' of medical practice (and medicine 2.0) and the 'softer' side of a service design that addresses a patient's total wellness interaction with a provider, product, or service.

You'll see in most coverage of the event that people here in Holland are asking excellent questions about implementation - including when the next Health 2.0 Unconference NL will be held.

For a taste of what we're in for check out
31volts - and read the guys' review here (thanks Marcel and Marc).

A people who inspired the term 'going Dutch' are appropriately focused, of course, on costs of implementation and exploring business case models that work.

As a result, we'll be scanning the globe for successful Health 2.0 companies who bring in revenue and provide positive ROI to speak and sponsor the next events (look for a larger conference in early 2009).

I can talk until I'm blue in the face about companies that I think fit the bill, but I'm biased - I've been to both US and NL events.

Let's take a closer look at what the Dutch attendees are looking for:

Jacqueline Fackeldey, of Fackeldey Finds, had an excellent presentation on a concept she invented called "hotealthcare," which is built on an empathic "human-to-human" approach.

You can find Jacqeline's show at the Slideshare group link, and here's her coverage of the event itself (in Dutch).

If you're doing human-to-human marketing in healthcare, we want to know more.

Head over to MedBlogNL for coverage of the event with 2 more PowerPoints also available at SlideShare.

If you're a provider or payer adopting or adapting eHealth initiatives (and especially if you're implementing them into brick-and-mortar practice), we want to know more.

The Dutch blog Zorg voor Klanten has nice, concise feedback here.

If you're organizing a health 2.0, medicine 2.0, web 2.0, business 2.0, or other 2.0 event that boils buzz down into substantive business cases, we want to know more.

My favorite comment, tweeted live from Dorrit Gunters, says: "Health 2.0 is gezellig."

It's difficult to translate the 'gezellig' concept exactly into English, but loosely it means Health 2.0 is comfortable, Health 2.0 is 'cozy' with a sense of the 'right' kind of closeness.

If your organization is making healthcare interactions more comfortable for consumers (or providers!), we want to know more.

Here's a longer review (in Dutch) by Erwin Blom, a review at Medical Facts, and coverage at Medisch Contact.

If you're an inspirer, innovator, interrogator, or implementer who wants to be involved in the next Health 2.0 event, we want to know more.

If YOU want to know more, contact one of your 3 intrepid organizers:

  • Jen McCabe Gorman (jennifermccabegorman@yahoo.com | twitter.com/jenmccabegorman)
  • Maarten Den Braber (mdb@twister.cx | twitter.com/mdbraber)
  • Martijn Hulst (martijnhulst@gmail.com | twitter.com/martijnhulst)

* If you'd like to chat in person, I'll be blogging from the World Healthcare Congress in DC next week.

A special note:

Transparency and access to information and care are central tenets of Health 2.0, or consumer-centric care.

All the materials the Health 2.0 Unconference NL has posted online are open-source, but please adhere to the Creative Commons license. (Dutch) Basically, graphs, photos, etc. may be reposted, reused, and recycled with attribution (especially if it has someone's name on it or photo next to it).

Some final food for thought...

If we conceptualize Health 2.0 (consumer-centric care) as more than a movement - as a concrete subset of the current healthcare industry - many products and services do (or will) fit in this sector - not JUST health information technology (HIT).

The great news is that the timing is right to push transparency in the hospital/healthcare marketplace; big players are beginning to quantify the benefits of transparency (whether it be in a hospital, on the factory floor, or in a graphic design firm).

These benefits extend to more than patients - they also extend to providers in the healthcare environs (and have the potential to provide hard HR benefits such as reducing turnover).

One example: Deloitte just released the 2008 Ethics & Workplace study (hat tip to Lisa Haneberg@Management Craft, who got me started flapping my wings with this blog last year). The study reports over 80 percent of respondents agree leadership openness creates a more ethical culture.

Another example: In Singapore, Sun Microsystems just supported a healthcare/tech mashup (hat tip to Maarten Den Braber).

At the practical level, what we're all talking about is the development of a comprehensive suite of PET (Patient Empowerment Tools).

Whether Health 2.0 products are offered virtually or at a 'real world' brick and mortar healthcare/wellness site, whether they're hardwired into hospital infrastructure or more nebulous web-based applications, these goods and services put the patient at the center.

Which is exactly what we're trying to do here at Health 2.0 NL. If you're a person who is also a patient, and a consumer-centric service or product has empowered you to become a partner in your care - we want to hear from you.

A brief note: If you write a review of Health 2.0 NL, link to any blogs/presentations/photos, or respond to any of the information above in a web-based format, please be sure to use the tag 'health20nl' so we can continue to build the community.

To Niels Schuddeboom, Jacqueline Fackeldey, and Jeroen Kuipers, Marston @ SugarStats, and Peter @ BubbleFoundry - you are amazing and we'll have a blast with things as we all move forward together.

One final note of thanks, and perhaps the most important one.

I've already mentioned our fabulous four sponsors, but I need to heartily thank everyone present this weekend who put up with my deplorable lack of Dutch and graciously presented ideas and feedback in English.

Your generosity in making allowances for my language difficulties definitely made the day "gezellig," and I've found a new home here in Health 2.0 NL.

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