Health 2.0: Europe will be different

Earlier this month, hundreds of business leaders and communicators in healthcare met in Paris for the first Health 2.0 Europe conference. Some may have been asking themselves whether Europe really needed yet another conference about digital engagement in healthcare, but it soon became clear that Health 2.0 was unlike any other healthcare engagement conference in Europe to date.

To European delegates, the conference’s US roots were evident in what was a packed agenda of fast-moving, if sometimes awkward, stage performances. Matthew Holt, Inda Subaiya and Europe’s own Denise Silber co-hosted presenters and panel sessions, and added their own insights and reactions to each day’s events.

For those still wondering what Health 2.0 is all about, Matthew Holt kicked off conference with a definition in just four points and set the pace for fast-moving presentations, stating that Health 2.0 is characterised by:

  1. Personalised search
  2. Communities
  3. Intelligent tools
  4. Integration of data with content

Delegates were asked both at the start of the conference whether they believe that Health 2.0 services in Europe will be different to the US, and the majority of participants said they do. After two days of Health 2.0 presentations and discussions, the same question was asked at the end of the conference and again the majority of participants felt that Health 2.0 services in Europe will be different to those in the US.

For those of us working in healthcare engagement internationally, this was no surprise at all – Europe has a unique healthcare and cultural landscape, with its own challenges and opportunities for healthcare engagement. It is very different from the US not only because it exists in a different regulatory environment, but because it has a different approach to innovation.

Take for example Doctors.net.uk, the world’s first major social network for doctors which was set up in 1998 in the UK, years ahead of US equivalent Sermo which was founded eight years later. Health 2.0 Europe conference allowed delegates to see both of these alongside the likes of the British Medical Journal’s doc2doc network.

Overall, an incredibly broad range of topics was covered at the conference, although none in any real depth. For speakers, innovation was a must. I supported my own brief presentation of Pfizer’s Real Danger digital strategy with series of simultaneous tweets linking to other campaign resources.

For me, conference highlights (selected from live tweets I sent during the conference) included:

  • Pfizer says MyHealthRecords is available for iPad
  • Pew Internet’s Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox) says that patients with chronic disease are more likely to engage online
  • PatientsLikeMe‘s Jamie Heywood presents their pharma interface and shows the correlation between drug use, efficacy and safety
  • iWantGreatCare‘s Neil Bacon shows a real-time dashboard analysing patient reviews of doctors & clinics
  • Miguel Cabrer gives an excellent medting.com demonstration of clinical case collaboration amongst healthcare professionals, including integrated language translation
  • British Medical Journal’s David Payne shows their international healthcare professional community doc2doc.
  • World Health Organization highlight health divide between poor & wealthy
  • Paul Hodgkin demonstrates patient review site patientopinion.org.uk “Your story can change the NHS”.
  • Bupa’s Annabel Bentley (@doctorblogs) brings a timely reminder that “Remember what we’re looking for here is better health outcomes for patients” and later goes on to give an example: “At Bupa we believe that intelligent use of healthcare data will help reduce cost of healthcare”
  • And my last tweet, after 68% of respondents said they still think Health 2.0 will be different in Europe to the US:  Europe WILL be different from the US because it IS!!! One size does not fit ALL location / culture / language / regulatory…

If you would like to know more about Health 2.0, or how digital and social media is changing healthcare engagement, contact us.

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