It’s been an important couple of days for social health. This week marked the inaugural SXSH in Austin one day before the famed SXSW. A meeting of passionate social health thinkers, SXSH was an unconference that was as important in what it symbolized as what it offered. SXSH has potentially instigated the evolution of a core meeting for those interested in the role of online socialization in health care. It’s success stemmed from the hard work of Shwen Gwee, Dana Lewis, Reed Smith and Tom Stitt.
Johnson and Johnson’s Marc Monseau called SXSH one of the best social media events he had ever attended (and he’s seen a few). And SXSH caught the attention of SXSW organizers who assembled a last-minute panel to discuss SXSH. Until now, health has been an afterthought at SXSW.
Looking forward I have a couple of thoughts:
Silos. The topic of social media and health care draws on a handful of interests. SXSH focused on providers, pharma, and e-patients. But based on preliminary feedback from SXSH and attendees at the ER 2.0 SXSW panel, mobile developers are listening and likely will play a pivotal role in the implementation of apps that really change (or ‘delta’ in the words of Jen McCabe) health behavior.
The insight and innovation of Greg Matthews of the Humana’s Innovation Center has brought attention to the role of payers in the health conversation. Toby Plewak, The New England Journal of Medicine’s Manager of Product Development, has amazing insight from his work bringing the world’s most prestigious medical journal into the social sphere. I had the opportunity to meet Tobin at SXSW and discuss SXSH 2011. He’s excited about attending and hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to have him as a speaker or panelist.
All of these stakeholders are important and deserve a voice as SXSH is defined.
Cross-fertilization. SXSH, by virtue of its relationship to SXSW, has at its disposal some of the greatest minds in interactive media. We should tap that resource. We should take advantage of the remarkabl talent populating SXSW and cross-train with non-health experts from other industries. This year SXSH had Rohit Bhargava at our disposal which brought us visible credibility and expertise.
Show me the thought leaders. SXSH could evolve as the core meeting of those who think and innovate in health and social media. This, of course, will require the presence of serious minds. Thinkers drive attendance and conversation. Attendance draws sponsorship. SXSH should also strive to elevate those who are quietly pushing the margin but don’t have the brand recognition of the space’s KOLs.
Is there a doctor in the house? While painfully slow to engage in any meaningful way, physicians should not be discounted. There are MDs revolutionizing the way health maintained and delivered. SXSH should give them a pulpit. And don’t forget about the next generation of physicians. They’re in line to help set the standards once physicians take a more visible role.
After SXSH, let’s make SXSW healthier. Based on the standing-room-only status at our ER 2.0 panel, the attendees of SXSW want to hear more. Those versed in social media and healthcare should work to create panels that help SXSW attendees learn from what we’ve worked so hard to understand.
I believe that at some point we’ll look back at the passion of those present at this year’s SXSH and reminisce how it all started.
I’ll see you in 2011.