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Our Top Five Picks for SxSW

by Caroline Smart, CloudView Editor

It’s that time of year…SxSW PanelPicker time!  The annual conference-cum-festival in Austin is the place to see and be seen, as well as pick up some majorly influential ideas and find out “what’s next” at the intersection of healthcare and technology.  Our Austin office has witnessed the annual migration of over 30,000 people to our small but mighty city and witnessed their unbelievable energy transform it into a thrumming melange of panels, parties, and networking. But the panoply of programming can leave a festival go-er stressing.

Though the programming schedule may be book-length, consider that it only represents a fraction of the proposed sessions which make their way through the “PanelPicker,” SxSW’s crowdsourcing  tool. Fortunately, SxSW (“South by” for those in-the-know) lets us vote for the presentations we’d like to see most.  Check out our faves below, and don’t forget to vote!

1. Disrupt Yourself—Innovating Healthcare from Within

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, this is the panel for you.  There is so, so much opportunity in healthcare, and entrepreneurs are taking on the challenges of this very regulated industry for the greater good.  At the same time, some large corporations are inviting entrepreneurial energy into their corporations by developing innovative business units, from partnerships to emerging services, that sit independently from their core products.  Still others are building separate venture arms. If you’re an entrepreneur, the course of innovation can look radically different from seed idea to implementation, depending upon whom you invest with.  Hear from the head of athenahealth’s strategic investment arm, Mandira Singh, and CVS Health’s Brian Tilzer about the differences between the VC and strategic investment models.  As an entrepreneur, learn the right questions to ask of your prospective investors to identify the right investment opportunities for you. But don’t take our word for it: watch the panel pitch here:


2. New Prescription: Mobilize Patients’ Communities

Patient-centered care is the new buzzword in health care.  (We’re talking to you, “population health.”)  From the biggest health systems to the smallest tech innovators, people are waking up to the quality outcomes and costs savings that come from having engaged patients and engaged communities.  From medication adherence to in-home support and monitoring, providers are getting into the patient game to mobilize patients and their communities to enhance care.  Hear from our Austin neighbor Seton Medical Center and their innovative new program which mobilizes patients’ personal communities to aid their recovery. 


3. The Future of Medicine: Where Can Tech Take Us?

We’ll admit, we’re massive fans of Singularity University’s mission to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply “exponential” technologies to address society’s greatest challenges—and we’re not just talking health. These guys are tackling some of the biggest challenges in energy, environment, food, security, water, space, and government.  At athenahealth, we’ve talked a lot about what healthcare can learn from Silicon Valley, from big data analytics to using a platform as a service, to creating a consumer-centric service model.  But frankly, when it comes to some of the sexiest emergent technologies, we’re clueless. That’s why we’re psyched about this panel, which proposes a combination of technology and innovative thinking can improve the quality of our health in ways never before considered.  Dr. Daniel Kraft is a physician, pilot, and entrepreneur thinking on the biggest questions about where some of the coolest emergent technologies-- low cost personal genomics, molecular imaging, wearable devices & mobile health, robotics, AI, nanotechnology, and regenerative medicine-- can take health next. 


4. The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative

Precision Medicine is one of the great hopes of medicine and is rapidly progressing from concept to operation—but is it all it’s cracked up to be? This government-industry initiative is leveraging technology, data and policy to understand and develop new frameworks for individualized, tailored treatment.  We’re incredibly excited by the potential of private and public partnerships to leverage HITECH, new payment models, and open data to remake the digital landscape in health care. Senior White House Advisor Claudia Williams will tell us what PMI requires of all of us--patients, technologists, entrepreneurs, data scientists, and clinicians-- and what it may offer in cost savings, health improvements, and new business opportunities.


Rethinking Healthcare Through Design Thinking

If good design is a simple, elegant expression of purpose, then designers and developers in healthcare have a tough balancing act.  The challenge is to express the complete story of the patient and his or her health such that no essential data is overlooked, no critical information is lost, and care is coordinated as the patient moves between care settings.  Design thinking has the power to make healthcare work the way it should, informing the moments of care and restoring the patient-provider experience.  We are looking forward to hearing from two design-thinking experts from IDEO and Dell Medical school on how design and technology can come together in good health.


Caroline Smart is a Senior PR Associate and CloudView Editor.

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