Two years ago, I interrupted a speaker at a big health/tech conference, right in the middle of his presentation. I still blush at the memory. But the speaker was citing data — my data—incorrectly and I couldn’t let it pass.
Brian Dolan recently wrote about how he wished he’d spoken up when he heard someone spreading misinformation at a conference:
Unfortunately, about 80 people sitting in the room either accepted this as new information or failed to stand up to correct the speaker. I wish I had pulled a Susannah Fox and done the latter.
He linked to my 2012 post about what happened at Stanford Medicine X.
In that post I asked:
- What style of conference is the right one for the health/tech field? The TED-style “sage on stage” who does not take questions? Or the scientific-meeting style of engaged debate? Or is there a place for both?
- Do different rules apply to start-ups? Is it OK to fudge a little bit to make a good point, as one might do in a pitch? Personally, I do not think people are entitled to their own facts. There’s too much at stake.
We can’t let misinformation—or worse—go by without comment.
I think it’s time for more people to speak up in health care.
More pediatricians should express their measles outrage.
More people should chronicle the reality of living with chronic conditions.
More people wearing medical devices should demand access to the data being collected.
More people should speak up about medical errors before—and after—they happen.