Invent Health

As winter sets in here in DC, I’m warming up with memories of September’s Stanford Medicine X conference. I loved putting together a keynote that highlighted how the maker movement intersects with the e-patient movement — and how private sector and government leaders can benefit. This intersection, and the lessons we are learning from it, are the latest examples of how the internet gives us access not only to information but also to each other. That deceptively simple insight is, I believe, the key to unlocking the potential for innovation in health care.

Here’s an excerpt:

Stanford University posted the full video on their Facebook page and you can learn more about the Invent Health initiative I launched at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by reading the following posts:

Health care needs a jolt of innovation. Here’s how we’re approaching it at HHS.

Invent Health: The National Week of Making

The Invent Health Initiative: Hardware Innovations for the Low-Resource Environment

Invent Health: Finding Common Ground

The Invent Health Initiative: Hardware Innovations Hard at Work

Invention and Innovation in Emergency Preparedness

Empowering Inventors to Create Tools for Better Living, Better Clinical Care

Kid Inventors Focus on Health

How my food-allergy community “flips the clinic”

May 10-16, 2015, is Food Allergy Awareness Week.

I am grateful to the women (and a few men) who help me care for my son with food allergies. I’ve never met most of them in person, but they are there for me, 24×7, answering questions and sharing resources. Continue reading

Speak up: The network is our superpower

I have a new post up on Medium, illustrated with this gem from a 2012 post:

Fred Trotter: Citation Needed

Thanks to Fred Trotter for adapting this xkcd cartoon

An excerpt:

We can’t let misinformation—or worse—go by without comment.

I think it’s time for more people to speak up in health care.

More pediatricians should express their measles outrage.

More people should chronicle the reality of living with chronic conditions.

Continue reading

What health care can learn from Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel

Google is upgrading health search…again.

In 2010, I was inspired by Animal Farm to write that Google saw some health sites as more equal than others. This time I turned to Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton.

Cover of children's book: Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton

Continue reading

Share the glow

Conference tweets are a little like brunch pics on social media.

Stanford Medicine X: Sunday morning panel

Sometimes I want to reach out and say, “Shhh, it’s OK. I’m so happy that you’re happy with your eggs, but you don’t need to show them to me.”

Then again, sometimes you see a pic that makes your mouth water and you think, “Next time, that’s going to be me eating that yummy food.” Or you go into your kitchen and cook up something delicious right here, right now, inspired by your friend’s experience.

Maybe that’s why we can be so manic on social media. We want other people to feel what we’re feeling. We want to share the glow.

That’s what I hope to do when I share my experience at Stanford Medicine X, where the glow is so very bright. I want your mouth to water. I want you to get some of that good stuff for yourself, either by finding your way there next year or finding something similar locally.

I put together a Storify to capture the spirit of the panel I was on along with Pamela Ressler, Meredith Gould, and Colleen Young (pictured above). The experience of preparing for that panel — and sharing the conversation so openly with the world on the livestream — was transformational. I think we are really on to something. I’m not going to let the fact that the conference ended stop me from continuing to push forward on what we learned together.

Pam Colleen Susannah Meredith photo by Gilles

Post-panel photo by Gilles Frydman

If you want to see more of our brunch pics from Medicine X, check out:

I’ll add links to other sources of the Medicine X Glow if I spot them. Please post in the comments if you’ve got ideas about our panel topic: how to create, build, nurture, and spread community in health. And, related: how to share the magic of being at a conference (or brunch).

Oh, and compliments to the chef, Larry Chu, and his crazy-talented crew who cook up Medicine X for us. Delicious, year after year.

“One person’s TMI is another person’s need-to-know.”

Meredith Gould, aptly summarizing a key discussion point for our upcoming panel, “Communicating the experience of illness in the digital age.” (TMI stands for “too much information.”)

too much information by mkorsakov on Flickr

(What I imagine the experience of illness feels like to people cut off from communities of fellow patients and caregivers. Photo credit: mkorsakov on Flickr.)

We are flipping the panel, posting ideas and sparking conversations in advance so that when we arrive at Stanford Medicine X, the on-stage event will be one more link in the chain, not the starting point.

Catch up:

What else can we do to engage more people in the discussion? Please share ideas in the comments.

Put down the clipboard and listen

Here are the remarks I prepared for the Feb. 6, 2014, Engage & Empower Me class at Stanford Medical School. It’s a long post, so if you’d prefer to zone out, you can watch the video.

In thinking about this class, I thought a good framing question for tonight is: How does change happen?

  • How do political systems change?
  • How do cultural practices change?
  • How do business practices change?

And, more powerfully: How do you recognize when change is happening so you can surf the wave? Or even guide it and be part of team leading the change? Continue reading

Stanford Medicine X: Participatory research

Brett Alder and I spoke last night at Stanford Medical School’s Engage & Empower Me class:

Today is a travel day for me, back to the East Coast, so any comments posted may wait in the queue — but please let me know what you think! I’ll post more about this event when I’m home, including links to the studies and resources I cited. Some are listed on this Storify: Participatory Research. And check the tweets, tagged with #medx.


Patients included

Patients IncludedI recently received an invitation to speak at a conference and quickly ran it through my standard criteria. It met 4 of the 5 — pretty impressive — so I agreed to a phone call with the organizers. They let me know right away that they are open to collaboration and suggestions, so I brought up the idea of inviting a patient or caregiver to be on the panel with me. This wasn’t a new concept to them, but they wanted more information about what that would entail.

I identified 3 challenges:

  1. convincing the organization that including a consumer is worthwhile
  2. finding the right person
  3. making it worthwhile for the consumer to participate Continue reading