CONUSMERS/INDUSTRY: Consumer health care conference in SF coming up next week

Next week I’ll be at some of the Consumer Directed Health Care Conference in SF. It’s a weird match of the business guys trying to extort the last dollar out of the HDHP/CDHP buzzword before it dies its inevitable death, the wing-nuts promoting it who still can’t do basic math, and the real long term players, mostly on the IT side, who are trying to figure out how to put customer service and patient self-involvement into the care process. Sadly all too few of the latter, and none of the Information Therapy crowd who actually know something about it.

I’ve already interviewed Grace-Marie Turner about this, (no prizes for guessing which category she fits into) they have everyone’s favorite (lack of) market-theorist Reggie Herzlinger (although earlier than I like to get out of bed, so I’ll probably skip it) and even Newt is making an appearance.

It’s kind of funny that Grace-Marie and Sally Pipes are on suggesting in a only slightly loaded way that a Consumer Driven Health Care System will Succeed and a Government Run/Single Payor System will Fail and there is no one from the other side to respond. Couldn’t they afford Uwe? Was Jamie Robinson busy? David Himmelstein unavoidably detained by the FBI? Alain Enthoven couldn’t make the drive up from Stanford? Ian Morrison booked elsewhere. Couldn’t find my phone number on my web site? (UPDATE: apparently they talked to Brian Klepper, found out he wasn’t a fan and never called back).

Don’t worry, they did find one blogger’s numberDmitriy Kruglyak of The Medical Blog Network is giving a talk on Blogs & Open Media: A New Force in Consumer-Driven Healthcare. I don’t know what he’s going to say, but the title looks good and correct.

However, given that this is a conference about making health care an easy experience for the consumer, you’d think that they would have paid a little attention to “their” consumers the attendees. So you want to see Reggie’s talk on the first day? Go to this screen — look at the far right and tell me what time Reggie’s on in the 8.30 to 12 range. Meanwhile go to any session and hit the “session description” button. It launches a word document no less, which for most browsers spells trouble. And on the three that I’ve opened at random there’s no more info than is in the session description on the main page.

OK. Let me stop griping about user interfaces, remind you that good customer service, patient-centered care and high deductible health plans are not necessarily causally or even collinearly related, go the conference and report back.