I am sitting in Newark Airport early on a Sunday morning. It is the day after HealthCamp Oregon. The Portland, Oregon event was made possible through two major sponsor (Kaiser Permanente and Urban Airship). HealthCamp Oregon was also supported by The Center for Health Research and GeoLoqi. Without the support of our sponsors HealthCamp would not be possible.
Nate DiNiro of OpenAffairs.TV did an incredible job as our local organizer. Hats off to him!
When you look simply at the number of attendees you might think HealthCamp Oregon was less successful than other HealthCamps. But this is one of the hidden secrets of HealthCamp. The numbers do not tell the story. It is the quality and diversity of the participants that make every HealthCamp invaluable.
As one of our attendees told the group at the recap "I learned more in 3 hours at HealthCamp than by attending one of the leading multi-day uber Health Conferences."
HealthCamp Oregon with 30+ attendees allowed a much more fluid camp than our larger events. The tone for the day was set by Dr. Yong Shin of Kaiser Permanente. We usually have a 10 minute fire starter talk but Dr. Shin has been instrumental in establishing the Kaiser Permanente North West Center for Heart and Vascular Care and his talk and Q&A session extended for close to an hour. As a surgeon who has transitioned from the Fee for Service world to an organization committed to Total Health for it's members. We were privileged to gain a rare insight in to the challenges that the traditional health care market place faces as Health Care reform gathers pace. Health may be a team sport but cardiologists and surgeons in the Fee for Service world are not necessarily on the same team. It's a competition out there and the patient is the football.
Another amazing highlight that just reaffirmed the special nature of HealthCamp was a lunchtime "Fireside chat" between Ward Cunningham and Tom Munnecke. Yes, It was an amazing, intimate chat between the father of the wiki and the father of Vista (the Veteran's Administration health record platform). They provided some sage advice to anyone who is willing to listen in health care. Keep it Simple! We love to make it complex but the original wiki took just 300 lines of Perl code and the core of Vista was made up of 19 commands. When 75% of health care costs are driven by lifestyle choices we need to keep the simplicity factor firmly in mind.
The rest of the sessions at HealthCamp seemed to fall in to two main themes: 1) Health Records and their Information interoperability and portability 2) Mobile applications.
It was great to meet people that I have followed on Twitter. The opportunity to expand a dialogue beyond 140 characters is worth it's weight in gold!
All in all, HealthCamp Oregon proved once again that HealthCamp intellectually is a heavy hitting event that brings exceptional minds together and focuses them on the issues and challenges we face in Health Care. The relationships and friendships that are built at HealthCamp are enduring and it shows that when we share our expertise and insights freely we can be far smarter than any individual industry expert.
I will look forward to returning to Portland, Oregon for another HealthCamp in 2012. In the meantime my attention is focusing on Tuesday November 1st in Los Angeles for HealthCa.mp/LA where more than 100 people are scheduled to come together from Kaiser Permanente and the Los Angeles County Health Services to develop ideas to address improving community health in Southern California. It should be another fascinating HealthCamp event! Why not join us!