Day 2 of the fourth annual Health 2.0 Conference started bright and early with three conversations with CEOs: John de Souza of MedHelp, Giovanni Collella of Castlight, and Jeff Arnold of Sharecare (which we saw demoed yesterday). The CEOs gave their takes on where their products stood in the changing healthcare world, and what they saw as challenges going forward—both for themselves and for others.
Two strong sessions about Tools and Unplatforms followed, highlighting and expanding on topics Indu and Matt had touched upon yesterday. “The Data Utility Layer” brought us a panel of heavy-hitters from the likes of Google, Kaiser, Microsoft and WebMD, while a series of demos showed off a variety of middleware services and products that promised powerful platforms for connecting data and services. “The Emerging Consumer Ecosystem” included an amusing (if occasionally awkward) play that showcased the interoperative power of apps from members of the Health 2.0 Accelerator. Unfortunately, although the concepts were impressive, both sessions seemed to feature products and presentations that didn’t quite live up to the spirit of Health 2.0—they lacked the compelling, human stories we saw yesterday, and suffered from a lack of attention to UI, language, and design.
Lunchtime brought the ever-popular Launch! session, which showcased ten brand new products from companies large and small: Axial Exchange exchange.com, Bill-Doctor.com, Breath Research, Castlight Health, HealthPrize, Mytrus, Univita, TeleThrive, Traitwise, and Trigeminal Solutions. The rapid-fire format gave us a look at some truly interesting new ideas across a wide spectrum of uses and users. At the end, the audience selected their choice for best product, which ended up being the previously-highlighted Castlight.
In contrast to yesterday’s very strong focus on patient power, today the conference turned its gaze somewhat to the tools and systems that change the way caregivers and providers operate. The afternoon brought us a series of excellent demos of how a group of companies and services (Vitals.com, DrChrono, Remedy Systems) could combine and communicate to streamline the entire care delivery process. Other demos and case studies followed, showing off entries from major players from health plans, payers, providers, and more. Afternoon breakouts included discussions on tools for provider search, hospitals, wellness, and global health.
The evening featured a powerful discussion by a powerful panel of investors and venture capitalists, moderated by Bob Kocher of the Brookings Institute. Onstage were Don Casey, Esther Dyson, Lisa Suennen, Mitchell Kapor, and Bryan Roberts; they talked about where the money is now, where it’s going, and where it should go. There is something to be said about listening to smart people having an intelligent discussion, punctuated with both humor and insight.
We also got to hear from the Code-a-thon participants, who had been working feverishly in a corner of the exhibit hall while the rest of us enjoyed the conference. The winner, First Step, was an innovative way of combining publicly available data so as to help users make the right steps in changing their health, but the rest of the competitors deserve mention for how they were able to create great applications using the wealth of data online in such a short timespan. Mitchell Kapor had just spoken on stage of the low barrier of entry for players in the health information area, and nowhere was that more evident than with the Code-a-thon entries.
Regina Holliday came on to reveal and describe the painting she had created during the past two days of listening to the conference. In doing so, she delivered a powerful and emotional message to remind us all why we are here: it’s more than the money, the ROIs, the business models, and the revenue streams. It’s the patients and the people and the lives that we may change—for the better. (Her painting was auctioned off then and there—for a cool $3100—to continue to support her efforts in patient advocacy.)
On that note, Matt and Indu closed out two great days of conference. We saw a lot of fascinating people, technologies, and products—some of which we hope to feature here in greater depth in the future.
Here’s looking to an undoubtedly bigger and better Health 2.0 next year.
Henry Li is Associate Editor at THCB. He is a master’s student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he studies in the Division of Health Sciences Informatics and performs clinical software research as well as cost-effectiveness analyses.