I’ve been promising to start blogging for so long now it’s gone beyond a joke to my friends and assumed some kind of ghostly constancy: a measure of my failure to put my money where my mouth is and talk more online about my thoughts and wishes for Digital Health Innovation, Medicine, and all things care related. To do so in more than 140 characters at least, as I’ve been tweeting for some time now.
140 characters allows you to say quite a lot, but it starts to become a full time job going through the tweets to replace every ‘to’ with 2, ‘for’ with 4, and so on. Hashtags compete for content. It becomes the conversational equivalent of bouncing on a trampoline and arguing your point with someone through the first floor window.
Why have I finally posted now?
I’ve just spent a mind-expanding and thoroughly stimulating 5 days at the Medicine X conference in Stanford, Palo Alto. Thanks to the kindness of Anne Marie Cunningham (@amcunningham)I was invited to attend the inaugral Medicine X Education conference, and given this opportunity stumped up the cash to stay on for MedX itself: 3 days of ePatient testimonies, workshops, tech demos, and late night chat and carousing that seems to be the staple of this event. The relentless positivity and good cheer, the blue skies and cool breeze, and the genuine warmth and optimism of everyone that I met has left me changed for the better. Its a distinctly un-British state to be in, so before I jump on the plane and start on the process of recompressing I thought I’d make this post. Announce my intentions. Post something that everyone can hold me to.
To understand what exactly I’ll be importing, I’ll let Executive Director Dr Larry Chu (@larrychu) explain:
Medicine X is a catalyst for new ideas about the future of medicine and health care. The initiative explores how emerging technologieswill advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients to be active participants in their own care. The “X” is meant to encourage thinking beyond numbers and trends—it represents the infinite possibilities for current and future information technologies to improve health
I’ll cut to the chase – Dr Chu promised alot, and he delivered. During the excellent and balanced programme I’ve heard about Omics, Liquid Biopsy, Social Media disrupting medical education, Open Data implemented through the Open Notes programme, and from many patients telling their personal stories about how they’ve overcome the barriers that the existing healthcare system has erected around them. Seasoned with the optimism and promise so typical of the West Coast, I’ve a long list of tasks to action and people to connect with. There’s enough in my Evernote file to last me years.
Ultimately, all this is pointless without being able to deliver on the promise and bring it to my patients in the UK. I’m back in work on Wednesday morning, and I’ll start as I mean to go on with practical, small scale changes to my work that I hope will do their part in making patients feel more engaged in their healthcare. I can then build on this and slowly introduce some of the more significant changes within my practice, and then beyond to local practices and maybe even the NHS as a whole.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be looking in much more detail at some of the incredible advances and concepts that I was exposed to at Medicine X. Do come back to find out more and let me know what you think about it all. You can also follow me on twitter (@keithgrimes) , but do be aware that I have the tendency to swear at times. Particularly when it comes to some of the changes being forced on the NHS.
For now, I’ll just focus on this: Wednesday is the day that Medicine X lands in Sussex. Let’s see if if I can hold on to this glow until I return to recharge in 2016.