What’s All the Palooza

After many years of living in the DC Metro area, I finally managed to attend the HealthData Palooza event at the Washington Hilton (famous for amongst other things the Assassination attempt of Ronald Regan) that first took place in 2010 — created in part as a response to the then newly established Website and database HealthData.gov

The group sponsored by the AcademyHealth brings together a wide range of companies, people and patients — problem thinkers and solvers big and small to share their voices, insights and above all else passion for solving some of the mostly intractable healthcare problems

As Mightycasey wisely noted :

Healthcare is not broken — it is working precisely as designed

Pro tip: patients/consumers/PEOPLE can’t navigate current US healthcare system ’cause “system” is sick-care focused wealth transfer play. It ain’t broken, it was built this way. #rightcare #HDPalooza
— Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey) April 26, 2018

Which begs the question how do we fix it — there is no simple fix to the problems of the complex lumbering system that is an integral part of everyone’s lives. If by some miracle you are in the small minority of people who have not intersected with healthcare…just wait

Focusing on real problems vs creating solutions that are seeking out problems is the better place to start — HIE’s being cited as a good example where the business case does not support the model or the investment. That’s not to say that sharing data is not desirable but rather than the economic model and incentives do not drive the necessary investment in solutions. The health systems do not perceive the value in sharing the patient data to allow patients the ability to select a provider that is not in their network. This is the reality of the Health system working as designed which will fight actively or passively to protect their interests.

The Healthcare Environment

While not news to many the points made by Dep Sec Hargan outlined the Department of Health and Human Services plans to execute on many of the ideas from the previous administration focused on their role to play here, as a first-mover, sometimes a standard-setter, and the like, but fundamentally, they believe the most important progress can be made by providing incentives and encouragement for the private sector to find new ways to innovate, collaborate, and communicate.

We know all of you are unafraid of change — you naturally see it as an opportunity, not a threat.

The Buzzword panel was refreshingly honest — perhaps because the members were willing to challenge the status quo and callout hype over reality. As one panelist put it — too many healthcare companies marketing departments were getting ahead of their skis:

Government Announcements

Scott Gottlieb from the FDA shared some new announcements including the addition of a Premarket Digital Safety Program designed to create a more unified data standard for premarket safety reporting. As he put it:

if we want American patients to benefit from innovation the FDA itself must be as nimble & innovative as the technologies we are regulating. That requires us to take a modern & flexible approach to regulation

He’s right — as is true across all industries — we are no longer compared to our industry peers but rather to local, domestic, national and even international experiences. We don’t check our expectations at the door of healthcare and transport ourselves back to the 19070’s era of technology. If we can book a ride instantly and meet it in a mutually agreed but random spot today why then would you want to find the taxi line/queues and stand to wait in the hope that the resource finds you?

The same is true in healthcare and its good news to find the FDA moving in line with expectations and trying to modernize the system to keep up with the technologies they are charged with regulating and protecting. The good news is they have made great strides along this path already offering a more agile form of verification of devices and solutions and continue to engage with the industry, innovators in a productive and positive way.

It would be remiss to not call out specifically Candi Castleberry-Singleton (@Candi) — the appropriately titled VP of Inclusion at Twitter, and the thought-provoking presentation that was…. wait for it…. all inclusive of the audience.

Joking aside she used great personal examples, audience participation activities and a clear passion and insight to make each and every one of us think again about how inclusive we are and behave.

She asked everyone in the audience to stand up if you they felt like they were always respectful to other people, then proceeded to point out that respect is a 24 hours a day 7 day a week 365 days a year activity and as she put it:

We can always do better — respect is a full time job for all of us:

You can watch the full presentation conveniently streamed here:

Breakout Sessions

The dialog and exchange continued in the afternoon with break out sessions that were lively and engaging. It was only possible to attend one of the multiple concurrent sessions but you can get a sense of the discussions in the twitter moment I put together that can be found here.

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Originally published at incrementalhealthcare.com on April 26, 2018.