Health 2.0 STAT: Mobile Innovation, Helping in Haiti, HIV Awareness, & More
The room was packed (again) at last night’s #Health2Stat meeting, which brings together an eclectic group of people who care about health care to chat about new innovations and cool projects. Topics ranged from global mobile innovation to accuracy in reporting medical news – all presentations under 5 minutes for those of us who can’t sit still for longer than that (guilty).
The overarching theme of the night – other than improving the health of our nation and world – was certainly to know who your audience is, where they are, and how to reach them. At AIDS.gov, for example, Miguel Gomez talked about how ranking highly in Google for “AIDS” was actually an obstacle, because most people wanted basic information on the condition, not the in-depth news and information AIDS.gov supplies. But Miguel’s group, using web diagnostic tools like CrazyEgg, determined where people were clicking and what information they were looking for, and were able to build resources that the audience reaching AIDS.gov could benefit from. Likewise, Doug Naegele of Infield Communications spoke about how many innovations in global health are working around the lifestyles of those they want to reach – understanding, for example, Africa’s use of mobile phones, and determining how to reach people effectively though these new channels.
A full recap of the night is below. Please comment on anything I missed!
Doug Naegele was up first, giving an inspiring overview of mobile innovation globally – and showing clearly that some of the most brilliant innovations are low-cost and scrappy. The most fascinating was a way to push compliance in Nicaragua and Pakistan using pee sticks (technical term?). Essentially, to promote compliance with daily TB drugs, MIT developed paper that has a hidden code on it, unlocked only after you urinate on it. Once you get the code, you quickly text it in. Do it every day in the month and get extra cell phone minutes. It’s brilliant, cheap, and – most importantly – it’s working.
Nancy Shute from US News and World Report was up next, discussing how we can contribute to make health information more accurate online. We have moved relatively quickly from the rigorous pursuit of air-tight fact-based reporting (as Nancy said, with fact-checking, annotation, grilling from copy editors, etc.) to a “report it first” mentality. Nancy’s solutions for keeping reporting accurate online were based in transparency – news orgs should be upfront with how reporting works and how reporters are trained; report errors to the public; and create tools for people so medical information is more accessible online.
Glenn Pearson from Aquilent spoke next about a project for finding and identifying loved ones during a disaster situation – drawing specifically from the org’s involvement in the post-disaster effort in Haiti. The idea is that hospital volunteers assist in taking photos of those admitted; those photos are then organized and broadcast inside family reunification centers. The company has also developed apps for the iPhone and iPad Touch to find family members post-disaster.
Miguel Gomez spoke next about using social media to allow better access to information on HIV and AIDS. Using social media effectively was no small task – many government employees aren’t twitter-savvy, and many don’t understand how people with chronic disease are searching for and consuming information online. However, “we know the world is changing,” said Miguel, who launched his team head-first into getting HIV information in every channel possible “because people want information in the format they want.” Check out AIDS.gov on twitter, youtube, and facebook.
Lastly Ed Bennett from University of Maryland Medical System and Chip Harman of US Dept. of Veterans Affairs spoke about management truths for the web – quoting often from Lisa Welchman. The overarching point they made – which seems to becoming more true each day – is that the web brings to light anything that’s wrong with your org. In the age of transparency, non-stop communication and sharing, organizations must strive to be just as transparent and communicative.
And that was that – all in all, a great excuse to get out of the office, out of our paperwork and silos, to talk to one another about truly impacting health. For more information, check out Health2Stat’s meetup page or follow them on twitter.