I'm very excited to report that today myself and a bunch of online health experts convene in San Diego, CA, for the "Spring Fling" version of last Fall's Health 2.0 Conference. As you can see, the focus of this round is "Connecting Consumers & Providers" with a huge emphasis on the user experience (that's us!!).
* Alice Kreuger, a tech writer from Colorado who's been using social networking sites to help manage the effects of multiple sclerosis. She's president of Virtual Ability, Inc., a non-profit that operates The Heron Sanctuary, a support community for the disabled in the virtual world of Second Life.
* Matthew Zachary, a concert pianist who recovered from a rare and malignant pediatric brain tumor at the age of 21 which temporarily derailed his music career. Today he's not only recorded several albums, and played scores of concerts, but he's also created the I'm Too Young For This Foundation, "which is changing the way cancer among young people is understood."
* Ranae Whitmore, who "experienced an epiphany 20 months ago and embarked on a new and enlightened journey of weight loss and self improvement using several Health 2.0 sites including Daily Strength (where's she's known as "Heartgirl")." She formed friendships to provide motivation and eventually lost 140 pounds. She's now dedicated to helping others along similar journeys.
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plus demos from...
a new combo health search and community site called WEGO Health
and the brand new patient "story-telling" site Trusera.com.
Then at mid-day I'm supposed to sit on a "Reactor Panel" about patients connecting with healthcare providers. In other words, what's the patients' experience at the doctor's office? When I asked how to prepare for this one, the organizers said, "Don't worry. You've been preparing for the last four years, since your diagnosis." Gotcha.
Finally (and this is really neat!), I'll also sit on the closing panel exploring "The Future User Experience" with the likes of:
* Legendary entrepreneur Esther Dyson of EDventure - a board member an investor in many a healthcare and genetics company
* David Kibbe - former director of (and now senior adviser to) the Center for Health Information Technology at the American Academy of Family Physicians.
* Scott Shreeve, MD, of Crossover Healthcare, former founder of MedSphere and Health 2.0 pioneer
And little 'ol me? Yeah, I wondered too. But Matthew Holt & team insist that the patient voice is what this whole movement is about. No sense having a bunch of heavy-hitters on the business and technology side without at least one in-the-trenches user who knows what it's like to be a patient seeking help online.
So there you have it. All this Health 2.0 buzz comes down to the changing experience of us patient-types with the health and medical system. This whole affair will be videotaped and I'll post the links as soon as possible, of course.
Stay tuned for H2.0 updates the next few days.