The Wikipedia article about health care in Russia starts like this: “Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capita basis. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the health of the Russian population has declined considerably as a result of social, economic, and lifestyle changes.”
The Russian health care system has been going through major changes to improve access and quality of delivery. Currently, health care expenditures account for roughly 4% of the GDP (vs. 15.2% in the US) and this number is projected to grow to 10-14% over the next few years. The reform that started in 2009 will continue through 2015. It is expected that about 40% of resources allocated to health care restructuring will be spend on improving infrastructures, including information technology.
Recently I was invited to be part of the conference “Health Plus Technology: Russia and Global Outlook,” jointly sponsored by the Skolkovo Foundation, Life Sciences Angel Network and viamedix. I was part of the opening panel on ‘Technology Intervention to Healthcare,’ which was trying to answer to the following questions: What is fueling the Health 2.0 movement — in the US and globally? What countries/regions are leading the way? And what are the factors and conditions of the industry’s acceleration? The Russian health care system could use a shot of Health 2.0, and so the underlying question was: Is Russia ready for a paradigm shift from top down to bottom up health care innovation? Is Russia ready for Health 2.0?
At the same time, answering a request to produce a Health 2.0 Russia CIS, I took this speaking engagement as an opportunity to meet a few important stakeholders and potential partners. The question ‘Is Russia for Health 2.0?’ took another meaning for me.
Pascal Lardier, Director, International Events of Health 2.0, answers questions about the co-production of health by patients and physicians today and in the future.
Health 2.0. What exactly does this quite a new word describe? When did you use that word for the first time?
Pascal Lardier: It is a quite a new word indeed. Our first conference was in 2007 in San Francisco and at the time some people called the movement a fad. Since then our organization Health 2.0 has introduced over 500 technology companies to the world stage, hosted more than 9,000 attendees at our conferences and code-a-thons around the world, awarded more than $1,400,000 in prizes through our developer challenge program and inspired the formation of 46 new chapters in cities around the globe! The movement was obviously far from being a fad. Just like web 2.0 was a new version of the web, Health 2.0 describes a new era for health innovation where stakeholders collaborate, patients are empowered and the production of health becomes participatory.
Many people associate the word with social media and related things such as blogs, health platforms and health websites. Is that correct? How does “Health 2.0” differ from “e-Health” or “ICT”, for example?
PL: Communities such as online patient forums and the associated produced content played an important role in the Health 2.0 movement from the start. But it’s not just about social media and communities anymore: it’s also about patient-physician communication, personalized medicine, population health management, wellness, sensors/devices/unplatforms, data, analytics, system reform and more. In the beginning, health content became participatory. It is now becoming more and more personalized. All these profound transformations were calling for a new name and Health 2.0 was a good candidate for describing the extension of eHealth.