“Digital transformation” is the corporate strategy flavor of the moment across industries, and the health are sector isn’t immune from the trend.

As this 13th year of the annual Health 2.0 Conference kicks off this week, I’m focused on finding digital health innovations that engage people — consumers, caregivers, patients, health citizens all.

This year’s conference will convene thought leaders across a range of themes, and as is the Health 2.0 modus operandi, live demo’s of new-new things.

As Health 2.0 kicks off today in pre-conference sessions, there is useful context described in a new report from the American Hospital Association’s Center for Health Innovation and EY talking about health care digital transformation in the form of “Anywhere Care.”

What’s perhaps most exciting to me about this report is that it’s conceived by the American Hospital Association. In my scenario planning world of “thinking the unthinkable,” the mantra of “Anywhere Care” means the Association is embracing a future beyond the inpatient bed: reaching into the community to the school, the retailer, the shopping mall, faith-institutions, parks. Ultimately, as I coin in the conclusion of my book, HealthConsuming, health/care can be bolstered and ultimately made in the home as our personal health hub.

Three pillars will underpin future health systems: they will be digitized, personalized, and population-focused.

Most importantly through my health consumer perspective, these pillars underpin a platform of participatory health: that is, a process where people co-create their personal and familial health and wellness in partnership with clinicians, providers, coaches, patient-peers, retail health sites, school nurses, and other touch-points that bolster and inform our care.

As EY’s framework illustrates here in the Venn diagram, these many health and wellbeing touch-points leverage various technologies and services: maturing EHRs and acute care, as well as emerging tech like AI, blockchain, and biometrics. Remote monitoring, the Internet of Things (both medical and via a smart home), wearables, and telehealth/virtual care channels will enable that care, anywhere, in this AHA/EY vision.

This week, Health 2.0 2019 will feature examples of all of these technologies and services. My focus will be on how these can be best designed and delivered to bolster self-care in this participatory health mode, to deliver on the Quadruple Aim. That means, what’s done on behalf of the patient/consumer benefit to enhance the care experience, drive outcomes, and lower per capita costs also does no harm to the clinician and better yet, supports and buoys their efforts and work-flow, too. A preconference focusing on Providers will feature this important discussion on physician burnout — a very real challenge in American health care at this moment.

The “Unacceptables” session, which is the younger sister to the original “Unmentionables” sessions conceived by Alexandra Drane, will address three sins/shames in our lives: human trafficking, homelessness, and maternal mortality. Tech demo’s will be offered by three innovators who are developing novel solutions to these seemingly intractable problems, and I can’t wait to learn more about how tech can address and scale to these huge problems.

I’m also especially keen, from the patient privacy perspective, to hear my close colleagues Deven McGraw and Vince Kuraitis explain the “Health Data Goldilocks Dilemma: Sharing? Privacy? Both?” toward the close of the meeting on Wednesday afternoon. It is a well-placed time in the conference agenda to have this conversation, because the previous two and a half days were all about gigabytes of data being generated every day that are private, personal, often tabooed, and some largely unrelated to health”care.” We’re at a turning point in the post-Facebook/Cambridge Analytica and Equifax breach environment, where patients and consumers still believe their health care providers and doctors are their most-trusted data steward. But will HIPAA protect American patients in this world of AI, Big Data velocity and volume, and persistent social check-ins? Deven and Vince will teach me more on this evolving challenge that touches all of us.

So as we consider the Holy Grail and amazing opportunity of Participatory Health, we will wrestle with the challenges of social and health equity, financial wellness, privacy and data in-security, and patient and clinician burnout. I’ll also be participating as a judge in Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s innovation challenges for home/community health and social determinants; interviewing DayTwo President Josh Stevens on the emerging gut microbiome/nutrition market; and, speaking about my book HealthConsuming with Dr. Indu Subaiya, Health 2.0 Conference co-founder, followed by a panel of consumer-facing health tech demos to consider in the participatory health model.

This is my lens as I enter this year’s annual Health 2.0 Conference, and I’ll be tweeting and posting here on Health Populi through the week.

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