Next Things First, version 2.0 by charlottegee

The Health 2.0 conference took place in San Francisco yesterday and today (take a look at all those sleek, pretty sponsor logos:

The “traditional” definition of Health 2.0 is “the use of social software and light-weight tools to promote collaboration between patients, their caregivers, medical professionals, and other stakeholders in health.”

We’ve all seen these websites. A few of us may even use (and benefit from) them. More likely, the majority of us have just read about them on blogs or in newspapers and wondered: “Does anyone actually use those sites? Why would anyone want to add yet-another social networking site to his list of bookmarks?”

At any rate, there certainly seems to be a never-ending crop of Health 2.0 sites popping up on the web … targeted either for particular professions or diseases and conditions or goals like weight loss, increased physical activity and smoking cessation. And someone is giving them lots of money.

Capitalizing on this trend (and perhaps fulfilling its own prophecy), this week’s Health 2.0 conference has generated a lot of interest, with a SRO audience of 1,000. Over at The Health Care Blog, Matthew Holt writes of the buzz:

Tonight the party starts, the beautiful (and not so beautiful) people gather, and the shows under way—and that’s just the Health 2.0 team! There’s also 900 + speakers, guests, media, volunteers and the community is buzzing. Wall Street may be going crazy, the election may be a cakewalk (or not) but in health care interest in combining user-generated content with personalization based on data is growing. Last year around 500 people got together to find out what Health 2.0 was. Really, we only had about 35 decent options from which to choose our eventual 25 demo panelists (and one or two of those were a little of a stretch).

This year he says they chose from over 250 (!) presenters.

All of this buzz does raise some questions. What do we do with all of this user-generated content? Which platforms and features (and, yes, gadgets and widgits) work and which don’t? How does a consumer, a physician or a caregiver go about separating the wheat from the chaff, with so many options out there?

Oh, and, what about traditional health care services (remember that “legacy” business: the actual provision of care?). One might wonder if all this Health 2.0 stuff is on the periphery having little-to-no effect on the delivery of care, or whether there is more of an impact on established models. For instance, for someone just diagnosed with diabetes, does having an online social network have any real impact on her health outcomes? How does her interaction in an online community affect her relationship with her caregivers and the facility? Does anyone know?

Thoughts on where we go from here? The floor is open.

[We will be posting comments and perspective from our friends, readers (and even those we think are totally off base) over the course of the next week. Let us know what you think.]

Posted by CharlotteGee and RobC


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[…] engagement, health it, venture capital | Tags: consumer engagement, health it, venture capital Our post on Health 2.0 has generated even more feedback. Here’s the latest: Health care is a very attractive […]

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