#SXSW Interactive Top 10 Takeaways for Healthcare in 2013


There were far too many terrific takeaways over the four days I spent at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, TX this past weekend, many of which I promise to elaborate on in the coming weeks. For now–here are my Top 10–really in no particular order, as all will be coming your way in due time. I cannot say enough good things about the SXSW experience — please comment and share your own takeaways if you also attended!

  1. Mobile and Responsive design: For anyone creating content of any kind–this is the bus to be on, and it’s well on its way down the road. As a medical device or a content viewer, for healthcare diagnostics or your favorite magazine–almost any tool or content being developed today needs to have a mobile version ready to go. Responsive design adapts web content to the device it is being viewed upon, and ideally should be a consideration when any content is developed.
  2. Visual presence: Will be key to sharing/driving/conveying ideas. Designers themselves were highly visible speakers, and emphasis was put on good design being the mechanism that will not only introduce the feel, the heart and the soul of your brand or organization, but also break through the sea of content being developed. See Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, two leaders in the news “blogosphere”, for examples.


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  3. Subtraction: With the exponentially increasing amount of information, data and content coming at us, learning how to remove the unnecessary will be the way to achieve your goal. Knowing when to stay open to the “noise”, and when to tune out, will take discipline for those seeing unlimited opportunity in everything now available to us with the swipe of finger or click of a mouse.
  4. Collaborate: Open source everything! How will medicine respond to this call?
  5. Sensors for health: The body will become the data source of the future. Talk about transparency–Ouch! BodyMedia was one health tech company present sharing their technology for tracking exercise, sleep and calories in a meaningful way.
  6. Change is the new “black”: It’s here, it’s in and begs to be embraced by every generation. There will be much of it heading our way, and it will require all of us to change our behaviors as a result at some point. How will healthcare leaders not only embrace change, but lead change?
  7. Print has a shelf life: While this may not be a news flash to many, it was confirmed by leaders in media and publishing ahead of the game. Not sure when the switch will turn off, but have your digital, interactive content ready to go in responsive design mode.
  8. A good idea is only half the equation: The other half is knowing how you will spread your message. Social and mobile have converged, and will be the main avenues through which all things spread.
  9. Google and android platform: For a dedicated Mac user, this is a conclusion I can no longer ignore. Not sure where this is all heading, but I know I need to understand it better. The openness of the platform alone is worth a deeper understanding. Guy Kawasaki, of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, puts his manuscripts out on Google docs for his readers to edit. Google Glass appears to be here to stay, and I recently heard David Letterman do a Top 10 on Google Talking Shoes…
  10. “Maker Movement” is here: What tangible content, assets or services are you adding to good of the world? These folks had a strong presence at SXSW, and it’s not just the 3D Printer folks, who admitted we are a ways off from printing spleens any time soon.

Following #meded Twitter Stream to Medicine 2.0

While perusing the #meded Twitter feed last week, I was once again reminded how the young are educating all of us. Not only with the resolve they are leaving the shame and blame culture of medicine behind, but in their mastery of technology and social media–both avenues to the future of medicine. I followed a link found on the #meded stream to David Harlow’s post, Medicine 2.o Takes Harvard Medical School By Storm, which in turn took me right to the Medicine 2.0 Conference page and the wonderful list of speakers who were hard at work in Boston September 15-16 discussing new ways to disrupt medicine using social media, social networks, Web 2.0, mHealth and more.

Medicine 2.0 is a World Congress that began five years ago in Toronto bringing together those with the vision of where social medial, mobile health and Web 2.0 could take medicine to discuss and design peer-reviewed research in areas of need. The following video provides a brief introduction, and Gunther Eysenbach MD/MPH/FACMI from the Medicine 2.0 Advisory Committee and the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network, Canada gives an overview in his welcome to attendees (excerpt follows):

…the Medicine 2.0 congress…(and network) has grown tremendously…with now almost 500 attendees in Boston and over 3,000 members in the social network (medicine20.net)…This growth is of course testimony to the enormous and increasing importance of participatory, open, and collaborative approaches supported by emerging technologies in medicine – which is exactly the topic of Medicine 2.o…we not only talk about Web 2.0, but we actually apply its principles throughout the development of the conference…Our conference website doubles as a social networking site…and our peer-review processes are really peer-to-peer (and highly automated) rather than committee driven…

The lineup included:

  • A keynote from Jamie Heywood, CEO of PatientsLikeMe, an organization trying to move medical research into the next century by putting the patient at the center through data collection, collaboration and participation.
  • A keynote from John Brownstein, Harvard Medical School, who discussed capabilities and future directions of public health surveillance and detection of emerging infectious disease.
  • A keynote by Dave DeBronkhart (aka e-Patient Dave), who reviewed the status of personal health data and his own model of how information comes into existence and how people are pulled toward that information.

Additional sessions covered:

  1. Mobile and Tablet Health Apps: Looking at Evolving Use of Apps and Mobile Health Devices in Real-Time Clinical Setting; Mobile Devices, Communication and Care Coordination for Older Patients with Chronic Pain; Mobile Intervention for Depression
  2. Business Models for Web 2.0
  3. Web 2.0 Approaches for Clinical Practice, Research and Quality Monitoring: SMART Platforms: Creating the “App Store” for Health
  4. eCoaching: Evidence-Based Empathy Training Improves Patient Satisfaction
  5. Web 2.0 approach to behavior change, public health and biosurveillance: Smoking cessation via Social Media; Internet-Based Intervention for Kids of Divorce; Automated Tool for Addressing Lifestyle Changes During a Medical Encounter; Exploratory Study on Celebrity Health & Fitness Usage on Consumer Attitudes & Behavior
  6. Usability and human factors on the web: The Embedded Designer: The Next Big Step for Healthcare Systems
  7. And more…See their program for more details here

Needless to say, it was long overdue that I added the #meded stream to my Hootsuite dashboard. I look forward to being even further educated by the young! And if all these Twitter references sound foreign to you, Mediabistro.com offers some excellent introductory and advanced online courses on this excellent research, marketing and future disease surveillance tool.