Top 10 Healthcare Takeaways from #SXSW2014: Part One

March 19, 2014
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As I did in 2013 for SXSW, here are five of my Top 10 Takeaways from #SXSW2014 that can be applied to healthcare. Stay tuned for the remaining five later this week…

As I did in 2013 for SXSW, here are five of my Top 10 Takeaways from #SXSW2014 that can be applied to healthcare. Stay tuned for the remaining five later this week…

1) Storytelling for Change – From Storytelling for Change: A Decade of Impact put on by Participant Media (Waiting for Superman, The Help, Food, Inc.) to The Secrets Behind Addictive Storytelling to A Conversation with Jon Favreau (@jonfavereau) on the release of his new movie Chef (trailer below), brand builders and filmmakers shared tips and success stories throughout the week on projects that have gone viral, and others that have entertained audiences around the globe. As a writer and believer that good stories move mountains, I gravitated to those who told their own authentic stories versus those using story to move products. While many have been using story to sell and manipulate, good storytellers, filmmakers and change organizers know that the real movement occurs when we write from the heart to the heart.

2) The Doctor’s Office is Changing – In the session, Doctors Offices on Their Deathbeds, Dennis Schmuland MD from Microsoft and Gautam Gulati MD (@drgautamgulati) among others led a panel looking at what can be accomplished when providers and patients collaborate to stay well versus treat illness. The idea of flipping the clinic in light of data acquisition and transfer via wearable technology (think FitBit) and better designed health IT systems will put pertinent information about patients in the hands of providers before they enter the clinic. This will allow clinic time to be spent developing a better understanding by both of how to stay well, treat chronic illness and stay out of the healthcare system. In the future, that provider may be a virtual physician or an avatar according to the panel in the session, The Avatar Will See You Now.

3) Wearable Tech – Fitbit, Nike and Jawbone all had a presence at SXSW and everywhere you turned, a new groups were trying to slap a new device on your wrist, touting the benefits of “owning your own data” and “the quantified self”. While I’m the first to admit I love my Fitbit–a constant reminder that I’m sitting at the keyboard too long each day–wearable technology is here to stay and entrepreneurial physicians, health tech start-ups, the government and computer scientists all see the opportunity these devices hold. Whether health IT infrastructure develops the flexibility to communicate with the rest of the world or not, a multitude of data points are already being collected by the innovative organizations openly embracing what consumers/patients want. Look for this movement to gain traction, driven both by consumers/patients and those involved in the redesign of healthcare.

4) Patient Engagement/Ownership – Following on the wearable tech movement, all health panels I attended mentioned the need for patient engagement and ownership of their health and wellness. Those with a FitBit or FuelBand are already on the band wagon, and most likely aren’t the ones taxing the current healthcare system. But as the over-arching healthcare model shifts to one where providers are paid to keep patients out of the clinic, where will that leave those with literacy challenges, or a chronic illness that affects motivation and cognitive capacity? These are two sides to this same coin, and as we move forward by placing increased responsibility on patients, how will we ensure we don’t leave the less engaged for whatever reason behind?

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.22.08 AM5) Develop A Content Strategy – In Go Home Marketing, Your Drunk, Kristina Halvorson (@halvorson) led a hilarious session, educating and entertaining a ballroom spilling over with fans and followers. Wanting to move to the next great thing in content development is great, but do you have a strategy? In her experience, many clients come to her looking to run before they can walk. Fix your sh@#! was the takeaway here. Know what you have, develop a plan and then embrace all the innovations in content design and development. For those who couldn’t attend, her book, Content Strategy for the Web, could be a good substitute. If nothing else, I highly recommend downloading a copy of her slides from slideshare here.

(healthcare takeaways / shutterstock)

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