Healthcare gets WIRED

WOHIT 12-9-07 005No, this isn't another story about Unified Communications, cellular phones, or even healthcare's most wired hospitals.  It's about a keynote address I attended this morning at the World Healthcare Innovation and IT Congress in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. WOHIT 12-9-07 003

I find myself in the "other Washington" for the second time in the same week.  I'm came here to participate in a panel discussion this morning that was moderated by Dr. David Brailer, former ONCHIT head honcho and now founder of Health Evolution Partners.  Other panelists included Dr. Jonathan Perlin, former medical leader of the VA and now Chief Medical Officer for Hospital Corporation of America, and Dr. Jeffrey Gruen, Chief Medical Officer for Revolution Health.  The panel addressed the topic of "The Technological Tipping Point for Healthcare--Who Will Lead the Next Revolution?"

WOHIT 12-9-07 007 While our panel was interesting with diverse thoughts and opinions from some leading companies, I was more enamored by the keynote that preceded our's.  It was delivered by Kevin Kelly, Co-founder and Senior Maverick of "Wired Magazine".  Mr. Kelly, who is known for his keen ability to look into the future and predict what will happen, shared what he believes are 4 mega trends that will shape our world over the next decade.  Since I spend a lot of my time thinking about the future as it applies to healthcare information technology and healthcare trends, I was naturally curious to hear how Mr. Kelley's trends aligned with mine.

image Kevin Kelley sums up his 4 mega trends as GLOBAL, YOU, DO, and OPENGLOBAL is all about the Internet and how all of our machines are really just one gigantic machine. In essence, we are referring to what has essentially become the worldwide computer; always on, always connected, and always available.  YOU is the reality that nobody is as smart as everybody.  In a world where we are increasingly connected, we are the web and the web is us.  We now have an agent for collective intelligence.  This leads to user driven innovation as an outcome of the network effect of social networking.  Even doctors (Sermo) and patients (Patients Like Me) have their own social networks.

DO refers to the phenomenon of everything we know moving from products to services.  This includes everything from music and other forms of entertainment to healthcare and electronic medical records.  Everything becomes data on the worldwide computer; not only a data base of information but a data base of all things.  Essentially, Mr. Kelley believes we are moving to a time when if something doesn't exist on the web, it simply doesn't exist.

The final global mega trend is OPEN.  In a world where information and all things exist on the web, attention becomes the only scarcity.  Since everything can be copied, value comes from providing services that cannot be copied; services that are immediate, personalized, authentic, and customized to the individual.

Mr. Kelly said we all need to get better at believing the impossible.  If that is the case, then surely there is hope for our ailing healthcare industry. Many say that a solution to our mess in healthcare is impossible. Today I learned that the impossible not only happens, but is evident all around us.

Bill Crounse, MD       Senior Director, Worldwide Health    Microsoft Corporation