SXSH 3-7Today kicked off the 2014 South-by-Southwest Festival (#SXSW) in Austin, TX, running until March 16 and featuring dozens of sessions, concerts, video, and fireside chats in music, film and interactive segments. I’ll be involved in an interactive session on Tuesday called “The Digital Health Bubble – Is It About to Burst?” This panel includes Marc Monseau (@MDMonseau) who is a pioneer in health and social media (building J&J’s early leadership in social health online); Marco Smit (@MrHealth20) who leads Health 2.0 Advisors and is a veteran strategist in several health/tech companies; and, Robert Stern, Founder/CEO of @PointofCare, a health IT platform that enables population health management. (For more on me, visit my website here).

We four will debate the question at hand, which is quite appropriate at SXSW as the digital health category is fast-growing at this manic meeting. Health has its own Twitter hashtag at SXSW – #SXSH. Sessions in health cover the gamut, from self-quantification (e.g., “I Sing the Body Digital” with Ivo Stivoric of Jawbone, one of the early innovators at BodyMedia); big data and analytics (“Hacking Your Life for Better Health” featuring Michele Polz of Sanofi and Fred Trotter, my personal health-data guru), wellness and fitness (“Gamified Healthcare: Can Nike Fuel Save Lives?”), and the key role of design (“Healing Healthcare with UX Design,” featuring Abbe Don now with athenahealth and ex-IDEO).

I mention these sessions because these are all people who regularly inspire me in my work, and in my health. If one is mindful at SXSH, it can be a very fruitful experience both professionally and personally. But it can be challenging given the huge footprint and manic rhythmic vibe of the meeting.

Digital health has grown so quickly at South-by that some folks think it may need its own dedicated space and time slot. John Nosta asked in Forbes, “Has digital health found a home at SXSW?”

I’ll let you know what I experience over the next few days. Stay tuned to my tweets @healthythinker, follow the #SXSH hashtag, and if you’re in Austin on Tuesday morning ready for a great start to your morning, come hear our debate!

What contributes most to health and longevityHealth Populi’s Hot Points:  When I begin to speak on Tuesday, I’ll set the landscape through my health economist lens, talking about the drive toward The Triple Aim: the Holy Grail of driving population health, enhancing the patient experience, and reducing per capita health costs.

Here’s one of my slides: it illustrates something our Institute for the Future team learned through a meta-analysis of clinical research into what exactly creates “health.” We did this research as part of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2020 Forecast. The bottom-line: healthcare system “inputs” contribute only about 10% of health; the lion’s share comes from lifestyle behaviors, followed by genes, social relationships, and the environment.

This is a useful thinkertoy as we hear about the New-New Things, like Google Glass applications and sensor-laden bras, and what they can do to contribute to health and The Triple Aim. Tools that empower us, seamlessly and even invisibly, to nudge good decisions every day, will help people – consumers, patients, and caregivers – co-create health with the health system.