Day 1 - Health 2.0 Silicon Valley

Health 2.0: A global perspective

After the talk, we had a lively Q&A session

After the talk, we had a lively Q&A session

So the actual conference didn't begin until 2pm on Monday 30th September 2013, but I was giving a pre-conference workshop, Health 2.0: A global perspective at 8am on Monday morning! 

Those that know me, are always hearing me ask why we can't do more in Digital Health for as many of the 7 billion people than inhabit the Earth. Many conferences in Silicon Valley are very focused on innovation in Silicon Valley, let alone New York, or a foreign country. I'm grateful that Health 2.0, who gave me this chance to speak, consider the global picture. You can read more about my motivation for giving the talk in my Health 2.0 blog post from a few weeks back.  

The talk was well received, and you can see the slides below. It was extremely challenging to condense the efforts of 6.7 billion people into a 60 minute talk, but I gave it my best shot!

I asked the audience after my talk a question. I said, "If I was a startup outside of the USA, and I approached you with a new product/service, would you be more or less willing to listen to me, having heard this talk?". It was marvellous to hear people in the audience saying "more willing". That's encouraging, because it demonstrates that people in America ARE open to learning about what's happening abroad. I chose in my talk to move beyond the hype of Emerging Markets, and give practical examples of how doing business in Emerging Markets can be extremely risky. 

I included aging population as one of the challenges facing the world. Timely, as a new global study published today says that the world is NOT ready for aging populations. 

At 2pm, Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya opened the conference. 1,700 attendees. There is definitely a lot of energy at this year's conference. I believe it's partly due to the launch of the new online health insurance exchanges launching on Tue 1st October. 

Panoramic picture of the attendees in the Missing City Ballroom 

Panoramic picture of the attendees in the Missing City Ballroom 


There was a keynote from Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California. Definitely seemed to be a very forward thinking and progressive politician. One of the points he made stood out, "Let's move from machine thinking to platform thinking. That's what Health 2.0 is all about." 



Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information in the NHS, from England spoke about plans for spreading innovation in the NHS to make it the best healthcare service in the world. Watch the 5 minute video below to hear more.

One demo that stood out was from Christopher Bradley, who founded Mana Health. They just got awarded the contract to build the patient portal for the state of New York. I love the way they have the sliders that allow you to change who can see your data.  I took a short video of the demo.  

There is a lot of walking involved in this conference, due to the size of the convention centre. It's actually quite a good thing being a health conference. I'm going to track the number of steps I walk today and see just how active the conference has made me!  


Great to meet old and new friends today. In the evening reception, I caught up with Eugene Borukhovich, who runs the Health 2.0 Amsterdam Chapter. Definitely a guy worth speaking to if you spot him.  




Want to replicate the culture of Silicon Valley?  


Many countries are trying to build their own startup ecosystems, looking to beat the Valley. To those policy makers with grand ambitions of one day eclipsing Silicon Valley as a hotbed of innovation, you have to inspire people everywhere, not just in offices of tech companies. When I checked into to my hotel for the conference, I noticed a board that tells you the weather for the next few days. In addition, the board also had a quote by Peter Drucker. That tells me so much about the underlying mindset out here, and helps to explain why you meet so many people wanting to change the world (who often end up doing so). In order to understand the very roots of Silicon Valley, I found this PBS video. It's 90 minutes long, but it's extremely useful for anyone outside of Silicon Valley. It really connected the dots for me.  

Health 2.0 Europe: We know how to innovate too! 

As Health 2.0 London Chapter Leader, the ecosystem of nearly 500 members I have created is due in part to what I have learnt from attending Health 2.0 conferences, not just in the US, but in Berlin, Dubai, and Delhi. The Health 2.0 Europe conference is moving from Berlin to London. I'm really excited about it being held in my city. 

If you're at Health 2.0 Silicon Valley this week, and haven't thought about attending the conference in London, I want to let you know that there is so much going on in Europe. Partly, the aging populations combined with deep austerity cuts to budgets has led to governments wanting to support entrepreneurs in health technology. Those people willing to take risks and try new ideas, are quite possibly, the very people who may help Europe meet the challenges of the decade ahead.  

If you would like to learn more about the London chapter and/or the Europe conference, please come and find me. I'm here at the conference until Wednesday evening.