Monday was Xconomy’s first ever event dedicated specifically to exploring how information technology can be used to improve the healthcare system. The event opened with a keynote address by Frank Moss, director of the MIT Media Lab (our venue for the forum), who used a clip from Saturday Night Live satirizing the Middle Age-technique of bloodletting to demonstrate the sluggish pace at which doctors adopt new technologies. This introduced us to a theme that ran throughout the event: that patients will assume much of the power in thrusting the healthcare industry forward.
John Moore, a physician and MIT Media Lab researcher, offered a look at the technology and interfaces allowing patients to communicate more effectively with caregivers both near and far. Executives from San Francisco-based Keas, the Microsoft Healthcare Innovation Lab, EMC Healthcare Consulting, and Life Image, each took the stage for an “innovation profile.” They talked about how their technologies are putting control of healthcare more in patients’ hands and how the growing volume of data in the medical field will fuel enhanced physician care. Following our rave-drawing executive panel on the Internet’s role in transforming medicine, a slew of audience members lined up to ask questions of the speakers (and in some cases grill them), voicing concern on topics such as the degree of control patients should have in pushing the healthcare system for changes and employers’ management of healthcare costs.
The day concluded with spotlights of companies that are developing technology to make people healthier, including FitnessKeeper, the startup behind the RunKeeper mobile app, and Vitality, a maker of Internet-connected pillboxes designed to keep patients on track with taking their prescription meds. Many of the speakers addressed the myriad inefficiencies in the system, but also acknowledged that patients need to take greater responsibility in leading healthier lifestyles.
Click on the photos in the gallery below for snapshots of some of the speakers and sessions I mentioned.