It was a true honor and a pleasure to be invited to be part of the UCSF Unusual Thinkers panel at Dreamforce 2012 yesterday in San Francisco. Jenise Wong and I joined the panel to talk about our plans to help revolutionize the way diabetes data is used. I’ve noticed several reoccurring themes in the last year that came up again yesterday:
1) People are ready for patient empowerment. This sounds obvious, but that is just the point! This is no longer an upstart idea or something that should be argued about, but rather a given, a precondition to any new system or idea. People want to own their health data and it is going to happen, whether or not the medical establishment is ready or desiring.
2) There is tremendous excitement and energy being put into technology in healthcare. There is a seemingly endless number of people with remarkable ideas, passion… and a startup.
3) There is nearly as much trepidation and concern about HIPAA and regulation by the FDA. Though nobody will quibble with taking patient privacy and patient safety seriously, the pendulum has clearly swung too far in one direction and is slowing innovation.
4) Nobody can seem to believe the fact that “this hasn’t happened yet.” To a culture accustomed to upgrading from the iPhone 4 to the 4S to the 5 in the course of 18 months, it is impossible to imagine that a similar pace of innovation has not also happened in healthcare. There is a mixture of surprise, curiosity, and sometimes sad resignation at this fact. It is my belief that this great surge of innovation that I mentioned above in bullet 2 is building up behind a dam, waiting for a few structural changes in healthcare policy and economics to occur before it bursts through.
(On a personal side-note, my apologies for my long absence from posting on the blog. I was off getting married and on my honeymoon!)