Hard to believe it’s already been three weeks since I was in Silicon Valley to attend the US-based Fall Health 2.0 Conference. For those of you unfamiliar with the Health 2.0 Conferences, they were founded 9 years ago as a result of a chance meeting between the like-minded Indu Subaiya, an MBA and MD, and Matthew Holt, founder of The Health Care Blog, the web’s premier blog on the pairing of Web 2.0 technologies and digital health. Since the first Health 2.0 Conference in 2006, it has blossomed into an international series of conferences and developer competitions designed to showcase and drive the advancement of new healthcare technologies.
Health 2.0 Fall Conference Overview
This year, there were nearly 2000 attendees, 200 live product demos, 60 vendor exhibitors, and over 100 expert speakers. I was pleasantly surprised by the attendees – a colorful mix of entrepreneurs, vendors, patient advocates, healthcare industry luminaries, and of course, the celebrity bloggers we’ve all read but few have met. I saw demos of consumer-oriented medical devices, of software that provides decision support for providers, mobile patient engagement solutions, and platforms to manage the caregiving challenges that come with the world’s rapidly aging population. I was also impressed by the speakers, particularly Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, Susannah Fox, CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as our own Frank Ingari, CEO of NaviNet.
Chelsea Clinton Addresses Women’s Health Issues and Healthcare Access
Chelsea Clinton spoke about women’s health issues, the lack of access to healthcare and necessary prescription drugs, and the work that she is doing to improve these issues at the Clinton Foundation. In one example, Chelsea described the implementation of a cell phone/SMS-based system they introduced Ethiopia with the partnership of their Ministry of Health. This system allows the government to track every pregnancy, provide direction on the cadence for prenatal visits, and alerts expectant mothers of their anticipated due date, as well as when to make their way to a hospital for delivery. According to Chelsea, this system provides Ethiopian providers with more comprehensive data on pregnancies and expectant mothers than is available in the United States.
Susannah Fox Touts Innovation
Susannah Fox, CTO of HHS, addressed her role as CTO or the “Chief Innovation Officer” as she views it and spoke about the innovation that she’s worked to foster within the department, as well as her goal to bring the future of healthcare back into the HHS. Fox also challenged the audience to join her by volunteering for a tour of duty within government, explaining that as one of the largest payers and providers in the country, HHS’s openings for “Innovators-in-Residence” and “Entrepreneurs-in-Residence” allow the best and brightest to infuse their knowledge and expertise with government stakeholders to solve specific problems that exist within our healthcare system today.
Digital Health Adoption Still Has a Way to Go
Moving away from the keynotes, there was clearly a mood of reflection on the past and excitement for what the future holds for healthcare technology. Attendees were asked whether digital health will be adopted by the current healthcare industry or whether it will become its own industry via a mobile phone survey. The results were mixed, but the only the definitive answer was that it is likely years away. Comparing patient-centric healthcare solutions to Uber and how they’ve shaken up the transportation industry by empowering the consumer was a reoccurring theme. Examples included startups that facilitate provider consultations via mobile phone and video chat and solutions for patients to digitize and transfer their comprehensive personal health records between providers, as well as personal medical devices that connect to your cell phone, can identify medical issues proactively, and can share the results with providers electronically.
Healthcare Innovation and Opportunities Extend to Payers
Payers were largely absent from Health 2.0, so NaviNet's Frank Ingari delivered an industry “deep-dive” to a packed ballroom in an effort to educate attendees about payers’ ever-changing business landscape and the tremendous opportunities that still exist for innovators in the payer space. Ingari shared common startup missteps when working with payers and offered advice on how to structure successful payer relationships with realistic expectations. He explained NaviNet’s open approach to partnerships, which include our newest partners Spendwell and Tandigm, and closed by inviting entrepreneurs and innovators to join us as we navigate payers through the changes that lie ahead. Most healthcare conferences showcase what’s available today, but what makes the Health 2.0 Conference different is the focus on innovation and its proven ability to showcase the future of healthcare.
Interested in learning more about NaviNet’s latest partnership with SpendWell?