Written by: John Lynn
This week I have the opportunity to attend the first extension of SXSW interactive outside of Austin. The event is called SXSW V2V and is happening in Las Vegas (yes, I have an obvious Vegas bias). Last night was the opening event and I was amazed at the depth of the interaction that occurred at the opening event. As I compare it to similar opening events at HIMSS it’s hard to even compare. At the HIMSS event it’s a struggle to engage people at the event. I usually do, because that’s who I am, but I was amazed how many people were willing and interested in engaging at SXSW V2V.
In one evening I had a chance to interact with a broad spectrum of people across the tech startup ecosystem. It was fascinating to see what various entrepreneurs are doing in 3D rendering, travel, bitcoin, and many other areas. I even enjoyed some time with Kyle Samani from Pristine. Kyle had his Google Glasses on and basically was able to start a conversation with anyone in the hall. I guess Google Glasses are a good investment if for nothing other than meeting new people at conferences.
I’m sure that many wonder what value I’ll get out of attending a tech event like SXSW V2V (Although, I do have a blog about Vegas Startup companies). No doubt there are very few people at the event working in healthcare specifically. Besides Kyle I also ran into my congressman who was an MD in a past life. So I did have a conversation with him about meaningful use (that post later). However, the lack of healthcare knowledge is exactly why I enjoy attending an event like this. There’s real value in getting outside of our healthcare box and seeing how we can apply technology or experiences from other industries to healthcare.
Take for example bitcoin. I expect that many in healthcare will wonder how a virtual currency will matter to healthcare. The obvious use is when people want to start paying your clinic in bitcoin. The less obvious application is using the processing power that “mines bitcoin” to solve some of medicine’s hardest problems. There are a lot of major healthcare problems that need a whole lot of computing power. The human genome was just the start. Bitcoin could be one way to access computing power well beyond the most powerful super computers in the world.
This is just a simple example of the power of learning things beyond the healthcare industry. I’m excited to see what other things I’ll learn over the next few days of the conference. Not that I don’t enjoy deep discussions about meaningful use and EHR certification. I love those too, but those deep discussions are often informed by learning about industries and technologies that aren’t in healthcare.