Thank you, Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya. There’s no turning back from the momentum of Health 2.0.

A standing-room-only crowd shared ideas about What Could Be in the marketspace of social media and health yesterday. My own panel which closed the session brainstormed around the Future User Experience. The panelists included luminaries who light the space in their own unique ways: Esther Dyson of EDVenture; Doug Solomon design guru of IDEO; Thomas Goetz, Deputy Editor of WIRED; Amy Tenderich, pioneer health blogger of Diabetes Mine; Dr. David Kibbe of the American Academy of Family Physicians and ongoing standards work; and Dr. Scott Shreeve of Crossover Healthcare. What a conversation we had! Fifty-five minutes was not enough, but we got a lot on the virtual table and the audience was left at the conclusion of the session and the meeting with a sense of how far we’ve come — business models this time around! — but how far we need to go.

The distance is very far because our health system is sick. Dr. David Sobel of The Permanente Group has the professional mileage and wisdom which he generously shared in two sessions during the day. The pearl of pearls was his statement that, “The problem here is you’re making heroic efforts in a system which lacks aligned incentives.” He described the various Health 2.0 projects he saw as creative and exciting, but essentially band-aids over a broken system: “What do these technologies do to address fragmented care? Our patients do not deserve fragmented care.”

Still, I’ll return to the reality that we have come a long way, even since September 2007’s kick-off of the Health 2.0 conference.

In addition to Dr. Sobel, Susannah Fox, the preeminent researcher into the habits of e-patients at the Pew Internet & American Life Project (PIP), provided the context for the day in her initial presentation at the meeting. She profiled the latest statistics into Americans’ use of the Internet in health care; no new stats yet on social media use from PIP, but no doubt these are to come. Her in-depth discussion about the digital divide and those who have not yet sampled health on the Net were important and spoke to a large percentage of Americans who, as I pointed out in the Deloitte study into consumers 2 weeks ago, aren’t “Online and Onboard.” Susannah’s 7-word quasi-haiku, inspired by Michael Pollan’s great book, In Defense of Food (offering the sage seven words of advice, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”), was: “Go online, use common sense, be skeptical.” Her final salvo: design for what could be.

Other pearls that resonated with me through the day, and their sources, are listed here…

Cell phone adoption among African-American and Hispanic youth is high, and these users use the phones like Swiss Army Knives compared with the rest of us, who use them like spoons. Susannah Fox.
Dr. Sobel of The Permanente Group sees social network support between consumers online is extremely useful — and complementary, not competitive, to physicians’ work.

Tony Miller of said that someone needing arthroscopy isn’t really shopping for a procedure — they shopping for the ability to get back on the tennis court.

Dr. Jay Parkinson, to whom I refer as the Rebel-Doctor-with-a-Cause, asserts that, “Reformation of the health care system will occur from the outside, not from within.” I noted in the introduction of mh panel that Newt Gingrich said this same thing last week at a breakfast at HIMSS I attended. Health 2.0 is uniting strange and wondrous bedfellows! (This is already happening in health reform: see the Divided We Fail group which unites Labor with Industry in bipartisan cooperation).

Dr. Jordan Shlain of SF On Call talks about trying to create a medical delivery system as if it were designed by the patient. He is doing exactly this with his 24×7 network on doctors operating in San Francisco.
Dr. Parkinson, a creative guy with a flair for photography who serves lots of creative-types in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, says that his Myca model is “Geek Squad for health care.”

Steven Krein of Organized Wisdom, home of the Wisdom Card, is now offering LiveWisdom, a real time ability to converse with a clinical expert @ $1.99 per minute.

Dr. Scott Shreeve recalls a lesson he learned from Dr. Sobel: “Look at the patient as a provider.”

Keith Schorsch of Trusera, which opened its beta yesterday, talked about the power of health-storytelling and peoples’ motivation to “pay it forward” and share their knowledge.

Dr. David Kibbe realized throughout the day that we spent most of the time talking about disease. “We don’t want disease to be the focus of everything we do.” This speaks to Amy Tenderich’s observation that she is more than her diabetes, even though so many aspects of managing that chronic condition intervene throughout the day.

Thomas Goetz of WIRED brought out a construct that’s very useful: the idea is flexibility versus fidelity. MP3 and TiVo are flexible; the CD and HDTV represent fidelity. Lots of health IT fails because it is not scaleable or flexible. But Health 2.0 is practical because it is scaleable, flexible. He noted that so much of medical technology comes late, too late, into the he

alth process, and is thus not scaleable.

You can see more coverage of Health 2.0 at

Health Populi’s Hot Points: A long way to go, of course. But there is a lot of creative brainpower deployed at the intersection of health, the Internet, mobile communications, and design. Once again, the Health 2.0 conference confirms that this is a movement, and more people in and outside of health are focusing on solutions. There are two bits of Critical Heavy Lifting beyond Health 2.0: to get out of the coal mine (thank you Esther Dyson) and re-imagine the U.S. health system; and, to recognize that most factors that nurture wellness and health have nothing to do with the health care system — think fast food and corn-infused processed foods, the malling of America, lack of green space and walking paths and urban planners in health debates. Including these stakeholders in future Health 2.0 meetings would be constructive. I’ve an idea: let’s give IDEO a week, a whiteboard, and a million post-it notes. I bet they could give us a picture of the health system That Could Be.