This week’s Check-up comes from David Barton, Jill Munson and Jamie Carracher who attended the Social Health 2011 conference.

Colleagues from the NY Health, SF Corporate, and DC Health groups recently attended the Social Health 2011 conference (SXSH) or as it’s also called, the “Social Health Summit.”

Founded and organized in part by Edelman’s Shwen Gwee, the conference is an international social health un-conference designed to bring together individuals from across the health care industry – patients, professionals, payers, providers, drug manufacturers and government. According to the organizers, “While each of these various health care verticals often meet and speak within each vertical on a regular basis, there are very few occasions when the entire spectrum of health care meets to speak across the verticals.” SXSH seeks to solve this issue by engaging individuals across the entire health care industry to share and solve problems together, instead of “pushing the bottleneck” to a different vertical in the spectrum; with the ultimate goal of driving better outcomes for patients.

The day-long conference featured presentations on topics such as unleashing the power of data, health technologies and innovation; social media use by hospitals; health care’s use of social media; and the intersection of workplace wellness and public health, among many others. Additionally, the conference served as the launch of IsMyCancerDifferent.com [Edelman client], an online movement created to educate people about a personalized diagnostic tool available for a range of cancers whose manifestations vary widely from person to person.

The day was divided into a series of pre-planned keynote presentations, as well as a series of more interactive “un-conference” breakout sessions, where topics were decided by the participants and provided attendees the opportunity to dive deep into select topics in a small group setting.

This week’s Check-up highlights key insights and takeaways from the conference. You can also check out the Twitter conversation (live tweet archive) for a more in-depth look at the discussion that took place throughout the day.

Data Liberación

Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), kicked off the conference with a presentation similar to his talk earlier this year at South by Southwest. Focusing on unleashing the power of data, IT and innovation to improve health, Todd’s presentation outlined three trends in the health industry:

  • New incentives to innovate in health care
  • Information Liberación! (as Todd calls it)
  • Increasing market transparency

Combined, these three trends result in the perfect equation for an innovator at the intersection of health and IT: “new incentives + information liberation = rocket fuel for innovation.” One of the most recognizable outcomes of these trends is the Health Data Initiative, which uses the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a model for “liberating” HHS-owned health data. However, with all the innovation around this newly released data it is important to remember that health literacy is still a key component. Innovation challenges such as the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge are looking to solve this problem by facilitating the transformation of complex spreadsheets into useful data. Some great examples that have come about as a result of this “data liquidity” include the VA’s Blue Button Program, iTriage, Asthmapolis, and more.

Additionally, with the shift from pills and devices to services and digital applications, problem solvers in health care, life sciences, pharma and biotech have to re-think its end products. Todd stated that he’s never been “more optimistic about health data innovation to help advance the future of health care… we can’t wait for the government to do this… the public is much smarter and better at translating data into practical insights and tools for the consumer.”

Addressing this data issue is essential – what’s the point of releasing all this data unless people actually understand what they are getting?

State of Social Media

How much activity does Facebook see in one month? According to Melissa Davies, Social Media Market Researcher at NM Incite, Facebook receives roughly 53 billion minutes of face time per month. And why does this matter? Because, Davies emphasized, the personal experience remains the currency of online conversations around health care. NM Incite found that in the online space, conditions with the highest prevalence are not always the most discussed online. In fact, check out this infographic illustrating how conditions with lower prevalence often generate higher online engagement as patients are usually very active and vocal online.

Additionally, Meredith Ressi, President of Manhattan Research presented data about how younger consumers are more inclined to look on the Internet for health information instead of calling a doctor, whereas older generations tend to pick up the phone first. Breaking the data down by gender, Ressi stated that the Internet influences the health decisions and behaviors of men more than women. (Compare this to asking for directions – men don’t want to visit the doctor and would rather just figure it out on their own). Ressi also talked about the rapidly increasing trend of health information consumption via mobile platforms and how the majority of that activity is driven by mobile search; serving as a reminder that we need to continue to focus on mobile optimization and not simply think mobile apps is the only solution for that platform.

Growing trend: DIY Health

During her afternoon remarks, Jane-Sarasahn Kahn described a fascinating health trend: do-it-yourself (DIY) health. As our economy continues to struggle, consumers are looking for ways to save money and extend their spending dollars, whether it is fixing their home on their own or improving their health. In the health space, this is leading many people to save costs by avoiding doctor visits, splitting pills and self-treating their conditions.

DIY health has also led to opportunities for health organizations and entrepreneurs, including app developers who are creating mobile health tools for patients and hospitals that are finding new ways to engage patients, such as the Mayo Clinic, which opened a space in the Mall of America in Minnesota. Similarly, patients are looking for new ways to engage and take charge of their own health care, including demanding more access to their personal information and online access to their doctors. You can read more about Jane’s thoughts on her blog.

Health Barometer

Following the launch of the Edelman Health Barometer 2011 (#EHB2011) at Mashable‘s Social Good Summit, Shwen Gwee provided attendees at the Social Health Summit with a brief preview of the health engagement data. The results of the global survey showcase the technology and sources that people use to not only make health decisions, but also to manage their health. The (global) results naturally segmented into five distinct groups along the spectrum of digital engagement in health – Actionists (21%), Followers (24%), Participants (35%), Traditionalists (7%) and Offliners (23%). For more information about the global #EHB2011 results and more on these five segments, visit the Health Barometer website.

Summary

The way that people interact with health is changing rapidly. Everything from definitions of health, to sources of health information, to health data access are evolving – much of it being driven by digital technologies, the Internet, and social media. For an in-depth summary of the day’s content/discussions, please read Shwen Gwee’s “6 P’s of Social Health” blog post, which was featured on the Social Media Club’s blog. Also, visit SXSH.org to learn more about Social Health and view an archive of coverage from the event.

Image credit: surroundsound5000

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