Thinking Beyond Health at SXSW Interactive

March 7, 2011

The inclusion of a health track at this week’s SXSWi is big news.  Health, once a second-thought in the social world, is finally seeing the light of day.  This reflects the maturation of the social health community and the progressive thinking of folks like Hugh Forrest and others inside of SXSWi.  I’m honored to have served on the advisory board for this year’s inaugural health track.  I hope we grow.

As excited as I am about the health panels, I’m interested in what lies beyond ‘health’ proper.  As I suggested during Blog World Expo, we all should be looking beyond the echoes of our own community in order to spur change within.  Health professionals at SXSWi should tap the expertise of those outside of health.  A nice example is how Johnson & Johnson brought in David Armano at BWE for an open whiteboard discussion on healthcare.  We need to cross-pollinate with people who have insight to the problems we face.  Other industries have fixed some of what we’re up against.

I’m pumped to see health friends old and new this week.  But I’ll also be thinking and listening outside the health box.


Wendy Sue Swanson, MD March 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’m with you. I usually learn more from the voices most different from my own. This is true at conferences, and in life, yes? As a doc, I’m ecstatic to learn at a conference that doesn’t provide CME! Just means I’ll get to think about things in unexpected ways….Cross-pollination is good for our brains; gets us out of the ruts.

Lisa Fields March 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

There will be so many folks I honor and trust going to SXSWi. Ed Bennett was so kind this morning to give us a number of #tags so those of us who would not be able to go this year might be able to experience some of the grander .

Bryan, it would be wonderful if as many of our health gang could tweet as much as possible. Dr. Christian Sinclair and Renee Berry did such a good job Tweeting during their #HPM Conference in Toronto it almost felt as if I was there.

I will be curious to learn about the slides folks use during their presentation. I would be surprised if you see very many Powerpoint Hell slides. I’d also be curious to see if there are any tech versions to poll the audience or if folks will be Tweeting their comments so the presenter can answer their questions or change their talk.

It will be fun to hear all about it.

Phil Baumann March 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Hi Bryan

I think it’s wonderful that Healthcare is trying to get involved in all this social media stuf and all.

But I have to say: I don’t think SXSW is the best place for Healthcare to advance. Really, I don’t.

It’s a fun place to go and network. But I think we all would be better served if we started something somewhere else.

SXSW was started by an entirely different culture for different reasons, and my concern here is that it’s going to reinforce a trend that I’m seeing as more of the industry gets involved with today’s media and other technologies: a kind of copy-cat syndrome.

The early birds in the conversation about how social media works got they’re ideas in first – but being first does’t equal being right.

My concern, is that we may have reached a point where the copy-cat syndrome is going to take hold at the cost of original thinking and the kind of innovative environment which Healthcare needs.

It’s good to have presence down in SXSW – I’m just not sure it’s going to be as fruitful as most people are charged up about.

I have thoughts on other directions, but they won’t be heard this month, so that’s going to have to be a separate discussion after the Austin dust settles.


DrV March 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Certainly. Although it is important to keep it all in perspective. I agree that it will never evolve a core social health site yet its presence is important for what it represents. As I suggested, my interest is in all the stuff I never hear about outside of health.

Thanks for your comment, Phil.

Dilara Gunes Kurtas March 11, 2011 at 12:53 am

Hi Dr V,

I am doing research on Social Media and Health and have been interviewing a group of selected professionals on this topic. I really would love to get your views and comments too..

What do you think.. Could you spare a 15 minutes for my 10 questions? ( its an e-interview)

I most appreciate your participation.

Kind Regards

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