PharmExec Blog

The Rise of the Patient: Medicine 2.0

by Sarah Krüg

Amidst yellow sandstone arches and California Mission Revival architecture, The Medicine 2.0 +Stanford Summit (otherwise known as the Fourth World Congress on Social Media and Web 2.0 in Health Medicine) set out on a three day journey to challenge its diverse audience to break down silos and expand beyond traditional boundaries. From a focus on research findings and scientific data to dialogue around the future of science, medicine and emerging technology, innovators and thought leaders congregated from around the globe at the state-of the-art Stanford venue, Li Ka Shing Center for Learning & Knowledge. Through the congress, Stanford extended an invitation for open scientific inquiries into the pursuit of teaching, learning, and research, in alignment with its motto. 1

The energy in the room was contagious starting with the unique conference badges that featured personal QR codes (eliminating the need for business cards), lively twitter feed and building of a #med2 community (over 5,000 tweets!), to the theatrical presentations that conveyed unconventional solutions to healthcare issues. From theory to practice–patients, healthcare professionals, academics and executives discussed and debated concepts such as participatory medicine, patient self management, behavioral change, decision making, the quantified self, communities of practice, social networking, gamification, personalized healthcare, and innovation in medical education. There were so many interesting points made at Med2.0, but I’ve captured a few highlights below:

Abraham Verghese, MD eloquently walked us through the bedside ritual of examining the patient as a critical but threatened skill that is the foundation to the patient-physician relationship. He explained the potential of displacing the patient during the digital age and reliance on technology during the clinical encounter —with more emphasis placed on patient data, rather than the person being treated.

Jennifer Aaker, PhD delivered a brilliant keynote that demonstrated the impact of social media saving lives through storytelling, collaboration, and enabling the wider community to quickly act. The story began with 2 Indian men with AML in search of bone marrow matches and ended with 20,000 South Asians registering as a result of a powerful awareness and social media campaign. Attendees had the opportunity to have their cheeks swabbed and sign up for the Be The Match Registry during the break in the corridors.

The eclectic BJ Fogg, PhD shared his behavior change model which shows that three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: B = MAT (Behavior = Motivation x Ability x Trigger).

Susannah Fox gave the closing keynote on the impact of “peer to peer healthcare” where patients are seeking and sharing health advice online. Roadblocks included pockets of offline patients, patients not motivated to engage in their healthcare, silo tools/communities, and lack of awareness of resources. Opportunities included leveraging the power of online caregivers, engagement prompted by life changing diagnoses/events, rise of mobile adoption, and emerging focus of technology that bridges silos and allows data flow. The beacons of change in these efforts include patient, clinician, and technology leaders.

There was a major focus on patient self management platforms in chronic diseases, the Quantified Self and use of digital devices to collect real-time quantifiable patient data, decision support tools to make informed choices, and gaming to change behavior by rewarding patients for meeting health related goals. With all the data being collected, the question is how do you give back the data to patients, synthesize, and set context in a way they can understand?

The use of technology as a catalyst in healthcare improvement was prevalent.  From the use of social media and mobile health tools by physicians to communicate and improve clinical workflow to the use of virtual community platforms by patients to share experiences, understand options and obtain social support–It was clear that patients and healthcare professionals are embracing the impact of technology—although not necessarily at the same pace. Patient online usage to share and obtain healthcare information is on the rise; however a research abstract (764) demonstrating physician attitudes towards social media for their own professional education and knowledge sharing showed that usage and intent to use is fairly low. Plagued with social media privacy concerns and associated risks, traditional modes of learning, and lack of clear guidance and policies—physician usage is growing at a snail’s pace in comparison.

There was a spotlight on the e-patients, of which 23 received scholarships to attend the conference. Each had a compelling story to tell regarding their personal but at times unfavorable experiences with the healthcare system and how they made informed medical decisions by becoming more empowered and engaged in their healthcare. These real life interactions crystallized key themes conveyed throughout the conference.

Larry Chu, MD was the skilled conductor of this colorful performance, which set the bar high for future Med2.0 conferences. We were each given the opportunity to challenge both established and new orthodoxies in healthcare, infuse innovation and creativity into potential solutions, and explore collaborations among the diverse Med2.0 community to make things happen!

Planning for the 2012 Med2.0 Congress is underway to be held September 15-16th at Harvard Medical School. Stanford will also debut MedicineX in 2012 focused on the intersection of emerging technology and the future of medicine.

1 Die Luft der Freiheit Weht-unofficial Stanford Motto, Ulrich von hutten, 16th century

Sarah Krüg is executive director at Cancer101, a patient organization. She was previously Global Education Director in the Medical Education Group at Pfizer

This entry was posted in healthcare, leadership, Meetings, Patient Communication, patient compliance, patient education, social media, Strategy, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

One Comment

  1. carl
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Nice article Sarah. Good to get an insider perspective (even if it is 2 years on).

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