Immediacy, Presenting, and Medicine 2.0

Blogger's Note: Thoughts from yesterday, Day 1 of Medicine 2.0, and yes, I am slacking on liveblogging. Apologies and I'll try to do better today - probably many thoughts after Maarten den Braber and I present the first stage of Nexthealth research.

It's 8:35 pm and I'm late to the blog party covering Medicine 2.0.

Peter Russell mentioned early the pressure and difficulty of liveblogging, tweeting, presenting, and trying to chat with friends, old and new. He's absolutely right.

It's exhausting, intense, and a bit like sitting in the sauna too long...the heat and pressure feels really great while you're in the steam room, but when you get out you feel like a wet rag rung half dry.

Information and experiences flow from gray matter to fingertips without the assistance of a dedicated apomediary.

We're trying to fit a ton into two days here in Toronto...but I think we're up to the task. If Gunther Eysenbach can pull a conference like this together in six months, well, we can certainly keep up the pace for 48 hours!

Since there's literally new coverage blossoming minute by minute, I suggest following livetweeting; visit Twitter.com and search for #medicine20.

Topics up for discussion today on the Twitter backchannel: mayonaissy lunch, death by Powerpoint, why Rod Ward is 'the man,' moderation (communities, conference food intake), most underappreciated blog (Dierdre Bonnycastle), discovering Inflexxion, privacy in the Health 2.0 space (via a rolicking back-and-forth on Twitter discussing Patients Like Me's privacy policy and sale of anonymized patient data to pharma and other FP partners).

Normally I overprepare, but for my first presenting appearance I couldn't seem to get it right.

I was up again at 4:30 this morning trying to encapsulate why I find injecting a little external innovation into healthcare (sometimes forcibly) so blogger's panel organized by Berci Mesko of Scienceroll was a fascinating microcosm of the diversity of medblogging.

Berci is an amazing presenter, and despite what he says on Twitter, here's to laying bets he'll be doing this again.

We had a global health events coverage pioneer, a polymath blogger, a Mayo pathologist, a health journalist (*Sam Solomon gets paid to blog!) who refused to use Powerpoint (Sam, you are my hero) and Berci himself, with an excellent overview of the benefits of blogging for medical students.

A sociologist would have had a field day reviewing each of our presentations.

They reflected *precisely* each of our personalities, which were also reflected in the contents of our blogs. Identities were reflected in tone, slide design, formality of dress/language (or freewheeling approach), and how we spoke with, at, or to the audience.

This morning, reviewing my Powerpoint (okay, okay, finishing it) I was struggling to communicate the multiplicity of reasons why I blog, and tweet, and write, and speak, and stay up late and get up early thinking about renovating the healthcare system.

I wanted to present an objective overview on best practices research in healthcare, with stats, screenshots, etc. This is the Powerpoint I kept redoing, and kept loathing.

Then I reminded myself it was a fortuitious day for my first ever presentation at a medical convention.

8 years ago to the day I fell asleep at the wheel and hit an 8 foot iron ships' anchor dead on.

Isn't it ironic...I presented for the first time on this anniversary on 'nudging' healthcare towards a more consumer-centric orientation via cross-pollinating best practices from outside industries.

Looking back on my trajectory since the accident, I realized I was having the most difficulty with the boring but obligatory 'who am I' slide. The most important qualification I have for blogging? I'm a person who is also an e-patient.

I've never 'owned' that title in the offline world before (and rarely introduce myself as a healthcare blogger and social entrepreneur), and I closed my slideshow with that detail. I hadn't planned to include that private bit of anniversary celebration.

Standing onstage, I wish it was possible to go back and tell that girl in the ex-fixator, wondering when she'd walk again, if she'd run again, not to worry - that it'd all work out just fine. Yeah. Better than fine.

It is a strange and revealing thing to talk about 'patienthood' out loud, and I'm not sure if I'll do it again.

I also thought about how I used the web 8 years ago to learn how to deal with an unexpected injury.

The first brush I ever had with eHealth was back in 2000, when, as a patient, I accessed medical journal databases to read about talar reconstruction, where I learned the talus was prone to dislocation "like the pit of a ripe cherry." When my ankle surgeon mentioned avascular necrosis, I read up, and asked questions about the Hawkins sign after each round of X-rays.

Do I expect most healthcare consumers who are patients to be that involved? No. But the web facilitated my involvement - it didn't limit what I could learn about my condition or how I chose to use that information in decision-making.

Build an app, open it up, let users decide its value. We'll learn to use web health applications that are solution-oriented and flexible, rather than limiting.

The next part of my eHealth journey is probably more like what many people who are patients experience when faced with an issue that adversely affects recovery in a small, clinically insignificant way, but that has big ROI for my daily activities.

The website I found most useful? Probably one of the first Health 2.0 sites (content+community), called MyBrokenLeg.com, a diary-like site still in operation today.

It's there I learned that others with fixators were wearing Adidas soccer pants that snapped up the side, and would thus fit over a 15-lb Helvetica external fixator.

Does that seem like a huge clinical advantage? Did it help my leg heal faster? No, but being able to dress somewhat normally for 9 months of fixator time sure improved my mental health and general outlook.

Today, at an event devoted to Web 2.0 in health and medicine, it seemed the right time to acknowledge the massive life-altering influence that learning and communicating about health and wellness, online and offline, have had upon where I'm going next.

Happy anniversary hurty foot! We made it this far - and miles to go before we sleep.


Kate Jongbloed said...

Looking forward to your session today. Ready to explode!


starpath said...

Reading your blog, and other blogs from the Medicine 2.0 conference, is almost (but not quite) like being there. Thanks.
Dallas Knight

KJB said...

I liked the way you brought it home, with a personal story about what the web has meant to your own healthcare. I think this aspect is often overlooked by those who 'organize' health.... why wouldn't we look these things up? and when incapacitated, why not on the web?

Nice work - I follow your blogs a lot !