Health 2.0 Europe Review

The venue was the magnificient Cite Universitaire Paris, and it looked all the more stunning due to the fabulous Spring weather…

Expecting some 400 delegates it was great to arrive to find 540 delegates had made the trip, and the enthusiasm that I encountered was legendary. A who’s who of the “Healthcare Twitterati”, most openly admitting to being a “Geek” or at least a “Health 2.0 Addict” and I wasn’t surprised to learn that >5% had been to a previous Health 2.0 event. From my completely non-scientific counts I noticed about half were using an iPhone.

Whenever I go to a conference I generally notice it is run by one of 5 general types of organisers: 1) The association that needs to connect its members eg. Mobile World Congress, 2)The big conference organiser that has allied skill sets eg. Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit, 3) The big conference organiser who thinks that they should get on this latest bandwagon, too many to mention!, 4) The endless small bandwagon chasers, who move through hype cycles eg. EHR’s, Connected Health, eHealth, mHealth, anything to make a buck! 5) Enthusiast efforts built on a grassroot “with our enthusiasm we can do this” mentality eg. BarCamp, TedCam, Mobile Monday.

Health 2.0 was definitely another example of this 5th group. A successful grassroots driven event that brings people together with an incredible enthusiasm thats somewhat infectious whatever your point of view.

Most of the staff seemed to be volunteers, drawn by the buzz and interesting community/blogs that the Health 2.0 team are creating.

Of all the presentations my favorite was from Suzzanah Fox of Pew Internet Research, who did the job no one wanted to do… dispelling the myths and reminding the audience of the need to “Evolve”.

A great fact for developers to keep in mind… “93% of Chronically ill ask a Health Professional when they need advice” (Fox and Purcell; Chronic Disease and the Internet, March 2010)

I have no doubts that the unshared mobile and it’s as yet massively unexploited completely personal Mobile Internet experience is going to create lots of successful business opportunities for the Health 2.0 community but its still imperative that developers appreciate the fundamental desire for patients to want access to the advice of registered Doctors.


Launch! is the demo session where Health 2.0 events showcase new companies and technologies. A few of these featured mHealth angles so I was particularly keen on this session. There were some very interesting companies presenting but the judging bit that followed each speaker made no sense whatsoever. Clive Pinder of Healthy Worlds would make comments about the presentation/company as the speaker came off stage and one minute he’d be discussing how he’s all set against “proprietary systems” yet he didn’t make a single comment without referring to the iPhone. Strange to say the least…

My favorite demos were by Denis Costello (another Irishman!) of Eurordis, Dominiqu Dupagne of DesBons and Laurent Coussirat of the Mood Institute. It was great to see this was shared with the other delegates opinions and no surprise to find Orange let the mHealth side down earning “Nil Points” in the public Eurvision-style vote:

Yes this mobile operator with $47 Billion in annual revenues and it’s own dedicated Health unit and lots of talk of 3G Dermatology applications in Cairo, etc made a laughing stock of the mHealth opportunity. Their application was presented by Nicholas Cambolin and described as follows:

Tendances Sante is the fruit of a joint venture between Orange Health Care and Sante Magazine, whose purpose is to provide information and tools to improve the health of French consumers

What I saw was an iPhone Application that let you locate clinics by type and location. I couldn’t see anything that couldn’t be produced with some basic cookie cutter software. Nothing leveraging Orange’s network or expertise. This is the type of content I’d expect to have found on the mobile portal OrangeWorld… 3 years ago!

For a mobile operator that is brave enough to have it’s own Healthcare landing page and to sponsor this event, surely the budget could have stretched to develop something that was even remotely interesting?

…it must have been even smaller than that spent on the stupid web game they host on their website landing page (click the dog graphic on the bottom right to check it out):

Out of interest – can you see the purpose of this game? Is there a reason I can’t figure or do they actually not want to be taken seriously? To my mind Orange is the best of a bad bunch and this is typical of the stark need for change that operators face as they attempt to serve the rapidly emerging mHealth market.


Conversations were many and plentiful, I’m pretty sure there were some that went on all night because when I left the evening reception (held in the oppluent surroundings of Les Invalides”) they were still in full swing. It seems a hard a fast rule that if you want a 5 hour long conversation: Just ask someone in IT how they think healthcare could be improved!!!!

I got some very interesting insights out of these conversations. The Healthcare Industry needs to do more to listen to these perspectives even if most are centered around uncertain business models with uncertain objectives. It seems to me that this conference brings together the only people in Healthcare who think let’s just try this and see if it works. Which is a very good and a very bad thing!

On the positive side: I recently gave a lecture to a group of Medical Students in the UK and found only a small minority had a smartphones and less than half of them even had a camera phone. For a multitude of reasons an increasing proportion of todays patients are already way ahead of Doctors when it comes to familiarity with Mobile Phones and the Internet. I can only see this gap widening. Out of this there is an enormous opportunity for the IT/Web/Mobile industry to work with Doctors and Healthcare Providers to create transformational patient experiences.

On the downside: The best results aren’t going to originate from either side of this divide but from collaboration between both sides, by taking an understanding of the clinical approach, patient journey and available technologies and their cost. Unfortunately the Healthcare Providers haven’t met Health 2.0 with the same amount of enthusiasm as the techies.

While most people I talked to candidly accepted there may not be a business model for what they were doing, they were determined and driven to do it anyway as it might be good for patients and/or they had personal reasons (these issues had affected themselves/a loved one).

I’m not a big fan of shakey Healthcare business models because of the possibility that an online Health service could be taken away from a committed patient, or that a developer would sell patient data/access in order to keep a service viable. In the sensitive area of Healthcare it’s not good enough to string a patient along for as long as your credit card holds up.

Business models built on advertising also hold enormous potential for disaster as you won’t always be sure what data the advertiser is getting and what they’re doing with it, eg. an advertiser wanting to pay alongside key words will not only be getting a customer but because of the context they’ll also be getting highly sensitive and personal data about that customer – information that in most cases the customer won’t know is being shared. This steps up a level with the prospect of cookies and other services that can agregate customer data.

My biggest detraction from most of what I heard was that there was lots of talk of how technology could be effective or make money without the first appreciation of the care process or the actual patient journey. So here’s my advice. If you are developing a Health 2.0 service: Go out and find a Doctor, offer to buy them dinner/donate to their charity etc for a hour of their time. Then explain what you want to do and ask them for their feedback. If you need a Doctor to give you an opinion like this… get in touch and I’ll find you one.

Pfizer’s Mobile Health Deep Dive

I had arrvied very excited to learn more about how Pfizer, the worlds #1 Pharmaceutical (by sales), was innovating in mHealth. Expectations were heightened as they’d paid for Headline Sponsorship and a “Deep Dive” session. Apparently they were going to reveal all about how “Dr Mobile delivers content wherever physicians and patients may be and however they wish to recieve it” and announce their new mobile services for patients.

Information about the 5 iPhone applications they’ve made available for physicians can be found at and the new launches for Patients can be found at And before you ask yes they really did refer to them like that:

What I was supposed to get was “Transparency, clear messages, targeted, simple, no promotional, Added Value Content” but one look under the covers and I was more than unimpressed.

Checking out there exhibition stand and it immediately became obvious, Pfizer are the latest big brand to fall victim to iSyndrome eg. to think that developing something for the iPhone constitutes a Mobile Strategy.

A quick look at the applications they have built and I couldn’t believe my senses! It’s surprising that this ever managed to get past the marketing team, but I cannot see how the the legal team have approved any of this!

Let’s start with the fact that they announced “only two weeks ago” that the service would be renamed “”. What a mouthful… “WWW Dot Docteur WWW Dot Com”. Incredibly they’d even done a nice bit of work to integrate one of the completely redundant http://www.’s into the logo….

Say it out loud, then imagine you’ve got to present this to a room full of Web 2.0 people who are into Health! I can only presume they have no idea of what the www means… or it’s growing redundancy.

Bizarrely they have a “Mobile Optimised Site” but it’s not able to autodetect visitors using mobile phones and can only be accessed by entering a separate and rather impossible to guess URL:

Again no surprises to find it’s just the watered down version of the “website proper”. No extra mobile features, or leveraging of the 8 unique attributes of mobile as the newest mass media.

So what’s all this worth?

Not much if you bother to read the T&C’s. Infact the value of the entire patient experience of the Mobile applications is neatly undermined by the continual reminders (in French) that state how “The following information has no legal value”. Do they really think that’s good enough? Or that any court in the world is going to let Pfizer use this to avoid responsibiltiy if someone assumes this application has some value and is adversely affected because of it?

Pfizer Patient Records on a Mobile:

The service also offers an iPhone/iPod synching application explained as follows:

“Each patient with a chronic illness knows how important it is to record all health events that occur as and when the time, but also to be able to transmit at the next consultation with your doctor. monKronoSanté is a simple “widget” to install on your Mac (Dashboard) or PC (Desktop) that can store lots of information needed to monitor your condition. A new version is now available for your iPhone or iTouch so you can have on you at all times, essential data for tracking and monitoring your health, but also the main contacts of your partners in care with all their details. As it is easier to use a computer and a keyboard, so we created the ability to “sync” to your iPhone / iTouch.”

So let’s see we now have full comprehensive patient information on an easily lost/stolen/misplaced device.

Checking this out I was shown an application that required the pressing of a “First Aid” SOS styled icon before I could view the medical history of the owner. Apparently this tops downloads in the Health channel on the App Store for France with “3,500 downloads per month” (a measure that says nothing of customer interest/usage as its a free app that can be deleted immediately if the user isn’t interested).

So by the end of this year there will be maybe ~30,000 people with such easy access to their health information. I noticed that the Pfizer representative demonstrating the app didn’t have his own health records being made available in this way… one has to wonder if patients (who live in a world of nosey employers/boyfriends/children etc) are going to be happy with this lack of privacy.


Pfizer announced how it’s stepping in to provide SMS tools to Clinics and Pharmacies that let them use SMS with patients to “remind patients of the date and time of their next appointment”, “to contact a Pfizer representative” and “to inform patients that their order is available for collection (Pharmacists)”

Pfizer announced how “Dr. SMS is a value-added-service that saves time and enhances the image of a modern and efficient office or the pharmacy to patients”. A great way of adding value for a drug company, but surely in 2010 there really isn’t any excuse for Clinics/Pharmacists to still be considering whether or not to use SMS with patients? I’m not so sure it’s a sign of a “Modern and Efficient” operation now that even my rural country Library Service here in Ireland has already adopted it for book return reminders… more like having a business staple!

HON Code

I wasn’t surprised to find the HON Code getting lots of interest from the delegates. But I can point you to countless disreputable healthcare sites who have HON Code granted logos. But there’s no need, look at the T&C of nearly any of them and you’ll read legalese that explains how they “take no responsibility for advertisers/messages featuring on this site”. Imagine going to a Doctor who gave you some information with the proviso that they “take no responsibility for anything you read”. This HON Code only means something if you have no credibility to start with. In my opinion if you’ve got registered Doctors onboard with your project you’ve already got more credibility. Save yourself the costs and use to time to blog about your company values.

The history of Patient empowerment/participation:

I really wasn’t expecting this… but an enlighting talk by Denise Silber proved very interesting with some excellent references eg:

> Nancy Miriam Hawley of Our Bodies Ourselves (cofounder of a 1970‘s publication about “Women & Their Bodies” which was a “course by and for women” that was produced because of the lack of say that patients felt they had in their our care).

> The long lasting effects on adoption of eHealth in the French Healthcare System that resulted from the propreitory “Minitel” System. (I wouldn’t be surprised if in 5 years time people talk of how the iPhone had this same effect on the mHealth market)

> Efforts of early activists eg. Anja Forbriger of calling for patients rights to include “Internet access for Cancer Patients at every Hospital”

Online care interactions with clinicians

I opened up this session by explaining what mHealth was:

…and then talking about how 3G Doctor is leveraging quality informational videos (produced by our partners at Harley Street TV) to improve the patient journey and add value to the informed Video Consultations patients can have with our remote Doctors. It was quite a difficult task within the 3 minute time frame and I ran over quite a bit (thanks to Matthew Holt for tolerating me!) despite the fast talking.

Up after my talk were presentations by Health 2.0 regular Roy Schoenberg of American Well and Joris Moolenaar, Director of IPPZ (Innovatie Psychologische Zorg) who are doing remote Doctor consultations that are similar to those offered by 3G Doctor but without the mobile element eg. the Patient needs to use their connected PC instead of mobile phone.

When it came to audience questions I was really surprised to be asked “Do we think we can add value even though our Doctors can’t get hands on with their patients” …after hearing talks about how the informed patient is leveraging online communities (like of patients to become an expert patient I’m surprised anyone in the audience could even begin to ask such a basic question.

The panelists on this stage represented new ways to serve new types of patients. Thinking the Doctor patient interaction isn’t going to move from the hands on consultation is as futile as thinking we’d always be using Bank Tellers when we started to see automations like ATM’s and Plastic Payment Cards being introduced. We need 21st Century tools to do 21st Century jobs… and Healthcare is no different.

Summing up

Unfortunately the event was way too loaded with excellent online health news and views for me to do it any justice with a blog post, but it is a fully recorded conference and all materials (including Videos) are available to buy from the Conference Organisers. You’ll also be able to catch some on their Health 2.0 TV Channel.

I’ll also update this post with some other reviews when I get the time and welcome commentary and links to other reviews in the comments below.

About David Doherty
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13 Responses to Health 2.0 Europe Review

  1. Pingback: ICMCC News Page » Health 2.0 Europe Review

  2. John says:

    Thanks for the good summary and your own particular insights into some of the more bizarre or is it just clueless developments by some looking to ride the Health 2.0 bandwagon.

    We are still so early into this and much to do. Good to see there is equal excitement on your side of the pond.

  3. 3gdoctor says:


    Thanks for the comment.

    Wouldn’t be so dismissive as to call it clueless as I don’t think any of us know exactly where the traction is going to come from. Never forget: Imagination is more important than knowledge!

  4. Thanks David for the interesting articles and photos. Good to have you with us in Paris. And glad you liked the historical piece we did.

    I’ve been collecting links to these reviews on one post:

  5. LaTonya says:

    Thanks for the commentary as this is the first that I have heard of this type of event. I live in Arkansas. Everybody here is going iPhone crazy so I can see why most of the exhibitors are targeting this fad.

  6. Pingback: Health 2.0 Europe: A Moveable Feast |

  7. Susannah Fox says:

    First, thanks so much for the praise and for getting my point. I did want to dispel myths and set us down in reality for the rest of the discussion. I’ve posted my remarks and slides if anyone who missed the event would like to check them out:

    Health 2.0: A Moveable Feast

    Second, I missed some of the presentations you mention and very much appreciate your summaries.

    Third, I’m cooking up a post of my own about the HONCode discussion and hope you don’t mind if I quote you. The debate about health information quality has raged for years and while I have taken a break from including questions about how consumers decide which sources to trust in our surveys, I think it might be time to re-open that line of questioning. I’d be very interested to hear what you think of how we constructed our survey questions for these reports, for example:

    Online Health Search 2006

    Vital Decisions: How Internet users decide what information to trust when they or their loved ones are sick (2002)

    Feel free to contact me if you have suggestions for future research: EMAIL REMOVED TO AVOID SPAM

  8. Thanks David for the interesting summery and clear explanation of why we need to bring doctors in front of patients!

  9. Hans Haveman says:

    Thank you for sending me your personal impressions. It a amazing world we should us for imporving health care
    Hans Haveman

  10. Hans Haveman says:

    Thank you for sending me your personal impressions. Web 2.0 is an amazing world in which we should use health 2.0 for improving health and healthcare

  11. Pingback: Size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it « 3G Doctor Blog

  12. Pingback: Intel Health’s Eric Dishman weighs in on the “hype and hope of mHealth” « 3G Doctor Blog

  13. Pingback: Susannah Fox, Pew Internet, publishes “Mobile Health 2010″ Report « 3G Doctor Blog

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