SXSW Crowdsourcing a Revolution: Can We Fix Healthcare?

The SXSW Interactive morning kicked off with panel examining how challenges could be used to fix healthcare, spur new business models, and avoid prize and app fatigue. Health 2.0 has been participating in a series of events here at SXSW including Health 2.0′s Startup Bootcamp (recently featured in the write-up “SXSW Woodstock for Geeks” by Lisa Suennen, co-founder of venture capital Psilos Group), The AT&T and Health 2.0 Hackathon, and the upcoming Health 2.0 Code Blue Party. Today’s event hosted top industry and policy leaders including Aman Bhandari, Senior Adviser for Innovation at HHS, and Health 2.0′s Co-Chairman and CEO (and our fearless leader), Indu Subaiya.

The presence of health technology has gained an incredible amount of attention at SXSW in a short period of time. Panel members briefly reminisced about the informal health tech meetings they used to host in the corner of a windowless room and celebrated how health is now on SXSW’s main stages.  Without a spare seat in the house, the popularity of the panel indicated the growing interest in health technology, challenges and the SXSW community’s desire to aid our nation’s healthcare system.

In the past year, prizes and challenges have come in to vogue in the health sector. Competitions have a long history of benefiting humanity and driving major breakthroughs in industries from space flight to oil clean up. But prizes are also effective at crowdsourcing innovation, accelerating progress, and attracting new talent. The panel discussed the various ways they’ve applied challenges to their respective fields and how such competitions are being implemented in healthcare today.

Panel member, Cristin Dorgelo Asst. Director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office Of Science And Technology Policy, discussed the history and key characteristics of successful challenge models. She was followed by Jeffrey Davis, Dir, Space Life Sciences at NASA, who spoke about his experience in designing challenges to further government research and the importance of rooting competitions in a larger development strategy. Indu Subaiya then discussed Health 2.0′s Developer Challenge and how our competitions are playing a critical role by incentivising individuals in a  landscape crowded by organizations targeting large institutions.

Indu’s presentation also gave a great overview of Health 2.0′s challenge and code-a-thon process from the perspective of developers and companies new to health technology. The individual developer might not know how to role-out an enterprise solution across Kaiser Permanente’s network. But various events by Health 2.0, along with a growing ecosystem of health incubators and government programs, are establishing a structure and process to help.  If you’d like to learn more, you can see her slides here.

The SXSW Interactive audience did not disappoint - asking informed questions highlighting the growing role challenges are playing in the Interactive space. Questions included:

  • Are challenge sponsors just outsourcing the risk?
  • How do we change institutional culture to promote innovation an get large organizations more comfortable with fast, frequent but soft failure?
  • Can challenges or participants in challenges enact real change in a space as large and as regulated as healthcare?
  • How do sponsors and teams manage intellectual property?

We recommend you watch the video for concise answers from the expert panel but, if you’d like to jump directly into SXSW’s fastest growing scene, be sure to register for the Health 2.0’s SXSW Code Blue Party on Monday March 12th. There, you can mingle with these Health Tech’s thought leaders and get connected to the space.

  • Jay Drayer

    Great panel … so much room for such needed innovation and so many great minds working toward a solution

Health 2.0