Archive for category foresight

Park Prescriptions for Better Health!

Park Perscriptions

I am so excited about this concept: Park Prescriptions as a best practice in preventive health. There are several groups pushing to create a national agenda for implementing park prescriptions more widely by further understanding and defining “park prescriptions,” identifying successful models from across the country, and developing standardized measurement and data collection methods that define effectiveness of these programs.

The National Recreation and Park Association is is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Institute at the Golden Gate in California to further this work.

HERE is a sampling of success stories where parks were prescribed for better health.


No Comments

Your Smartphone Will Be A Medical Device…Very Soon

It probably won’t be too long before we will see the first FDA-approved smartphone. Given the incredible rate of adoption for consumer mobile health sensors and the apps that manage their data streams, it seems inevitable that the market demand for a phone that generates and interprets health data, and then offers advice based on that data, will easily outweigh the cost to develop it. In fact, Nokia (surprisingly) just announced that they sponsoring the Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE for $2.25M to help make this holy grail phone a reality sooner than later.

The global competition is intended to “stimulate the development of sensors and sensing technology to drastically improve and expand the quality and access to healthcare across a wide variety of settings for consumers all around the globe.” There are actually 3 challenges and the first one concludes in May of next year while the final wave receives its award in the fall of 2014. Not sure if this will save Nokia or if $2.25M is enough of an incentive, but I’m betting that someone else will be on the market long before Nokia can commercialize the winning tech.

, , ,

No Comments

Own Your Health

Over the years I’ve come to notice that confidence is really the root of any behavior change, especially for changes that affect your health. I also think that there are residual cultural norms here in the US which discourage self-empowerment regarding health. However, I’m happily observing that many online health resources are both democratizing decision-making and eroding those cultural norms to finally give Americans a greater sense of health ownership.

Online searches for “health ownership” will give you different interpretations of what that phrase means but to me it describes the self-confidence to participate in decisions about your health. This participation is in part the result of a more democratic relationship and greater partnership with our doctors, but it also comes from personal investment.

The more time spent researching conditions online, or tracking them via downloaded apps or embedded sensor technologies, the more invested in the experience we become. It’s the same strategy Mint uses to suck you in; the more data you invest, the more control you feel you have of your financial destiny.

What if a reliable and easy to navigate Personal Health Record (PHR) interface were available to aggregate health data – and they are coming – then those who opt to use it might feel as in control and excited about managing their health as they do now about managing their money.

, , ,

No Comments

BIL Hits the Big Time

I’m pretty thrilled that BIL has made it mainstream by getting face time in the Wall Street Journal – in fact, I think the article even ran on the front page a few days ago! I guess the notion of counter-culture or, rather, counter-elitism makes good news these days given the rash of political uprisings against dictatorships recently.

It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to make BIL this year as it is next week in Long Beach (5th-6th) and chances are I’ll be in a delivery room pushing out my own art/science project. I am, however planning on attending the first Quantified Self Conference, May 28-29, 2011 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. I’ve been supporting Gary Wolf and the team to get things going and will probably be working registration on one of the days…who knows, maybe I’ll even present something on the Archive again.

, ,

No Comments

HealthCamp SFBay 2010 is a go!

The dedicated HealthCamp team that organized last year’s amazing one day unconference on healthcare innovation is back to do it again this year! We sold out last year and so it didn’t take much convincing to get Kaiser to agree to let us host the event again at their Garfield Innovation Center in San Leandro on October 6, one day before the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

We are currently working on the logistics and seeking key sponsors such as Intel and Cisco who were gold sponsors last year. We will again be focusing on the conversations and idea sharing but plan to integrate a more sophisticated way to capture and report back the learning to the community. Providing flip cameras to participants was floated as an idea along with live streaming of the the Twitter feed (#HCSFbay) like last year, but we are exploring other methods as well. It’s going to be another great event so please visit the HealthCamp website to register!


No Comments

My Dream 3D User Interface

One of the slides from my presentation.

Frankly, I’ve pretty much reached the point of exhaustion with tracking my life through the Archive. It’s been over a decade of meticulously shooting, collecting, prepping, organizing and assembling as many data channels as possible into a single “scrapbook on crack” stream. At 19 volumes, this project that has fed most of my OCD tendencies, needs to take on a new form so that I can get on with my life.

I didn’t fully realize what I needed in an interface to execute this phase change until I was intensely interviewed (for 3 hours) last November by a team from Jump Associates. Apparently I met the requirements for an “extreme user” of notebook documentation and thus made the perfect subject to probe for ideas. The session turned into therapy for me as I dolled out all my “in a perfect world” scenarios for documenting my life.

The key take-away for me was that this new interface MUST be tangible. If I can’t move stuff around with my hands, feel textures, physically arrange images/ideas/data in a space, then it just ain’t gonna work for me.

The problem is that the technology just hasn’t fully arrived yet. But there is some cool stuff out there for content access (a la Minority Report, but called the g-speak spatial operating environment) and for content entry/interaction (who hasn’t seen Pattie Maes & Pranav Mistry’s TED talk from last year?).

The questions is, how do you combine these technologies (instant tangible data entry with instant tangible data access)? I want to gather information, sort it, rank it, edit it and then store it in the appropriate category all within a few simple moves. In fact, maybe I could turn it into an interpretive dance…

I’m going to speak about this during the Quantified Self Meet-Up next Wednesday the MedHelp offices at 927 Market Street.

, ,


Healthcare’s Excellent Adventure

BIL:PIL logoThis past weekend saw the inaugural launch of BIL:PIL in San Diego, a two day healthcare innovation conference following TEDMED. The first question people tend to ask is actually not about healthcare at all, but rather, who’s Bil? Those of us who were around in the late 80s usually get the tongue-in-cheek reference to “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” and, not surprisingly, it is that same spirit of wacky innovation that you find at the BIL gatherings.

late the night before...

Midnight chalking the sidewalk.

Like many social media phenomena, BIL:PIL is entirely “user-generated.”  All the organizers, like myself,  freely volunteer their time to envision, coordinate, and manage the event and the talks are presented by unpaid and unsponsored speakers from across the healthcare industry and country. We leveraged several internet technologies to spread the word using our Facebook page with almost 400 fans, an editable schedule with a mobile interface (moBIL) to register the talks in real time, and live streaming of the event on the BIL:PIL site to bring in over 700 unique visits.

Rampant twittering on the hashtag #bilpil further spread content to the entire following of each tweeter – some with over 3,000 names on their list! However, it wasn’t just the technology that made the event a success, it was the content and, moreover, the mission that engaged people.

BIL:PIL is about progress, sharing ideas in healthcare through technology, and the shifting paradigm of health ownership to the consumer. For example, Scott Johnson of the Myelin Repair Foundation talked about how his frustration with the industry’s lack of planning and progress to develop a cure for MS led him to create his own research foundation. In 5 years, and with only $20M investment, his team has been able to develop more targets than some of the largest and best staffed organizations in the world.

Maren & Todd

Me and Todd Huffman, one of the founders of BIL.

Even huge industry organizations like BIO came to support the event and spread their message. One of their new programs called “I Am Biotech” aims to garner public support for the biotechnology industry despite a constantly changing political landscape, the struggling economy, and misconceptions about the science of biotech. BIL:PIL provided a forum to spread the word across a network of active individuals already engaged in the healthcare discussion.

This was just the first of what will be an ongoing series of events. In fact, for next year there is already talk of hosting BIL:PIL on both sides of the country on the same dates with live casting and video walls set up at each venue. Without a doubt, healthcare is on on the path to become way more EXCELLENT!


No Comments

Plenty of Food for Thought at HealthCamp

HealthCampI have to say that I’m pretty proud of how well HealthCamp SFBay turned out! After months of planning, the volunteer team kept the 200+ attendees on schedule while the many industry thought leaders contributed their insights to an open and vibrant discussion.

BoardKaiser Permanente donated their Garfield Innovation Center while both Cisco and Intel were the key sponsors of the event. Opening remarks were made by their key healthcare leads including Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group. Dr. Kaveh Safavi, VP of the Global Healthcare Practice at Cisco, and Patricia Perry, VP of the Digital Health Group at Intel.

Not surprisingly, their focus was on leveraging technology for better health outcomes. Specifically, online video communication is where the system will move toward as the population ages and mobility declines. For example, Cisco has their TelePresence technology which allows real time remote doctor visits (if you can afford the set up fees).

But what really interests me is how to motivate behavior change. A product research finding discussed by Tom Keegan from Smart Design was “compliance is a lifestyle”…shouldn’t it be “engagement is a lifestyle”?

The HealthCamp unconference format really helped instigate conversations and I felt that attendees came away with a renewed energy for facilitating change in the system – and a big smile from all the wine and cheese we served during the closing remarks and recap!

No Comments

Health eGame Night – Success!

KaiserLast night I moderated a panel of game developers who have produced games that fall in the $7B Health eGame category. Sponsored by HealthCampSFBay and hosted at Tech Liminal, we had speakers representing Kaiser’s Amazing Food Detective, CryptoZoo and Happy Year of the Ox.

What struck me was the diversity of games out there that actually do provide health benefits – which is why I asked each of the panelists to first define what they felt healthcare and wellness was and how their game applied. CryptoZoo’s Kiyash Monsef (a Cryptodocumentarian) explained how the parkour-inspired game fell squarely under “exergaming” definition but also heightened mental acuity through problem solving.

The goal of Kaiser’s game, as explained by Danielle Cass (PR) was to help kids make better nutrition decisions and get physical ; the game shuts down after 20 min and tells you to do 100 push-ups! When I asked if the game had met its goals, Danielle said they stopped counting downloads after 250,000 but had a hard time gauging follow-up. 

The panelists were enthusiastic that Health eGaming is a growing category with many more sophisticated games in the works from large firms like EA and Nintendo but also from grassroots teams and individual developers. Gaming offers the hope that play will once again get you off the couch and elevate your heart rate without making you feel like you are actually doing work.


No Comments

Biotech is the New [old school] Pharma

BioI just got back from the Bio (Biotechnology Industry Organization) annual conference in Atlanta and was struck by just how uptight the industry has become. Undoubtedly some of this rigidity can be attributed to the fact that over 90% of funded biotechs have provided no return on investment and the industry as a whole is suffering as much as everyone else in this bleak economy. But the idealism and creativity once hallmarks of the biotech movement seem to have faded and some new [design] thinking could help provide the needed therapy.

Steve BurrillIn fact, Steve Burrill a leading biotech investor and industry veteran, forecasted many of the same things I’ve been preaching here such as the movement toward a patient-centered model of health care delivery. During his state-of-the–industry report at Bio he dedicated almost half of his presentation to the sea change of IT-enabled healthcare. Some of his key points included:

  • Emerging “Self-Care Model” with home diagnostics and monitoring systems channeling data through mobile communication devices to then telecommunicate with labs.
  • Increasingly consumer-driven personal health planning through partnership with physician and aggregated digitalized health data (Burrill even cited Moore’s law on this one and conceded that Europe will probably beat us in getting to an efficient model).
  • Movement towards a convergence model as data sources become increasingly linked and accessible to both patients and doctors.


How all this ties to biotech is through the concept of personalized medicine. With inexpensive genetic profiling ($399) from firms like 23andme, an individual can work with their doctor(s) to establish a care plan tailored and tracked specifically to their medical needs, lifestyle and disposition.

Biotechs need to start playing with the rest of the team more – partnering with healthcare social media sites as well as electronic records and diagnostic tool designers to remain relevant and integrated in this fast-moving ecosystem. Drop me a line, I’ve got some ideas for you.


No Comments