Day 2 of the World Healthcare Innovation and Technology Congress started early with a 7:00 AM breakfast sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent. Early morning meetings are usually rough, but many of us were from other time zones and we were less than talkative. They probably needed stronger coffee and an IV drip to get the group going. The main message from Alcatel-Lucent talk; the network is in the path of care. This has many meanings, but it echoed the general theme of the entire conference.
Next up was the opening keynote address from Microsoft’s Peter Neupert focused on consumer driven healthcare changes on how online communities are creating new points of care. The disparate communications between the patients, care providers, and family and friends cause significant stress on the patients and producing negative outcomes. Online communities can deliver the same message to all concerned with the patient and ease this stress. Neupert’s message, it’s not about the technology, but the outcomes we are trying to enable. Agreed. Just not sure I want to go to the Microsoft Hospital. Probably needs to be rebooted every twelve patients…
Another interesting point was the discussion about using all this data we are collecting on patient treatment and outcomes to create logic and assist the physician in the care of the patient. While this is not a new concept, it was a good reminder of the benefits of EMRs and true interoperability, the utilization of data to improve outcomes. Let’s face it, there is too much to know to be able to handle all situations a care provider may encounter.
Frank Torti of the FDA challenged my thinking and made me look at the role of the FDA in a different light. Torti is a scientist and discussed the infusion of science into an agency that regulates products accounting for 25% of all consumer spending. The challenges to the FDA are growing due to overseas manufacturing of drugs, medical devices and food, bio-terrorism, and the accelerated change in technology. To keep up with these challenges, the FDA is turning more to science and three principles: partner more and smarter, maintain a core of scientific expertise, and be preemptive with their scientific strategy.
Next was a demonstration of “cutting-edge” technologies. The first was a merging of video conferencing and translators from LifeLinks. Their system was impressive, but the most entertaining part of the demo was seeing a member of the audience who recognized and reacquainted herself with one of the interpreters. From that point on, the demo bordered on being more of a dating service, but seeing the interface work in that fashion proved to be an effective illustration of its success. The second demo was an impressive data informatics and business intelligence tool by MedE Financial. However, I’m still left wondering, how do we get good data into systems do perform this type of analysis. We need to remove human error as much as possible.
After lunch, we broke into three executive tracks involving 4 presentations. The first I attended was on a clinical intelligence system for providers that demonstrated an intuitive and powerful tool that could be quite useful. The second was a demonstration from the Social Security Administration and their efforts with the NHIN and finding ways to process claims in hours instead of months.
Next came the two highlight presentations of the day; Consumers at the Center with Greg Matthews of Humana and Second Life and Virtual Worlds with GT Sweeney.
I had the pleasure of meeting Greg Matthews first via Twitter on day 1 of the conference. He was part of the 5 or 6 of us who were live tweeting during the event and building our own little network. When Greg realized his breakout session was in the “big room,” he put out a call to Twitter group to attend his session.
Greg and Humana are working on strange (for an insurance company) and wonderful uses of technology and social networking to improve their customer’s health. From the Free Wheeling bike program (freewheelinwaytogo.com) featured in this year’s presidential conventions to the new efforts with Exer-games, his team of innovators pushed my thinking and challenged me to figure out better ways to reach-out and engage our customers. For more on Greg’s team and their programs, check out their blog crumpleitup.com. The name says it all.
The SecondLife demo was also strong and my favorite part was watching the virtual presenter from London take over the show, talk to us from a podium, display his slides, and even gesture to the slides all within SecondLife. One can always benefit from a live demonstration of technology in action and despite the challenges, live demos are the best way to go. The possibilities for community development and personal interaction were racing through my mind.
These two sessions are why I came here; they illustrate and demonstrate what is possible to stretch our thinking. The event provided me the ability to connect virtually and face-to-face with like-minded individuals who share my interests and deal with the same pains. When you think about it, this really is a massive dating service helping you to find sole-mates who share your interests…
My day concluded with a presentation on the international perspective of healthcare and the global economy. I found two key messages in this talk. First, Denmark has built a very slick and comprehensive health information network and it is being used. They average 4.5 million messages a month from a country of 5.5 million. The second lesson spoke of the challenges in universal healthcare in a global and moving marketplace. It’s great when you have universal healthcare in your country, but what happens when you cross boarders into someone else’s universal system? Add to the mix medical tourism and there could be a steep price in the future.
After 11 straight hours of sitting, listening, tweeting, and taking notes, my back told me it was time to go. I’ll have to watch today’s closing address on the CD-ROM that I’m ordering. Overall day 2 of the World Healthcare Innovation and Technology Congress was a smashing success and well worth my time. I only wish there were more people here to listen to these presentations and share the growing excitement.