Current Edition

What exactly is Health 2.0?

Pascal Lardier, Director International Events of Health 2.0, answers questions about the co-production of health by patients and physicians today and in the future.
October 12, 2012, Questions by Artur Olesch, health journalist
Health 2.0. What exactly does this quite a new word describe? When did you use that word for the first time?
Pascal Lardier: It is a quite a new word indeed. Our first conference was in 2007 in San Francisco and at the time some people called the movement a fad. Since then our organization Health 2.0 has introduced over 500 technology companies to the world stage, hosted more than 9,000 attendees at our conferences and code-a-thons around the world, awarded more than $1,400,000 in prizes through our developer challenge program and inspired the formation of 46 new chapters in cities around the globe! The movement was obviously far from being a fad. Just like web 2.0 was a new version of the web, Health 2.0 describes a new era for health innovation where stakeholders collaborate, patients are empowered and the production of health becomes participatory.
Many people associate the word with social media and related things such as blogs, health platforms and health websites. Is that correct? How does “Health 2.0” differ from “e-Health” or “ICT”, for example?
PL: Communities such as online patient forums and the associated produced content played an important role in the Health 2.0 movement from the start. But it’s not just about social media and communities anymore: it’s also about patient-physician communication, personalized medicine, population health management, wellness, sensors/devices/unplatforms, data, analytics, system reform and more. In the beginning, health content became participatory. It is now becoming more and more personalized. All these profound transformations were calling for a new name and Health 2.0 was a good candidate for describing the extension of eHealth. Nowadays Health 2.0 also describes a movement and a community of health entrepreneurs who are playing an important role in accelerating the innovation cycle. New ideas are often coming from them. And this is why providers, payers, pharma, IT suppliers and even health authorities are getting more and more interested in their work. Our conferences are also a way to showcase their work around the world.
Let’s make a short time journey. Where do you see Health 2.0 in 10 or 20 years? Will it change medicine in a considerable way?
PL: It has already changed medicine in a considerable way. The main rule we follow as a conference organizer is to always present live demos. It shows our audience that these products are ready for use and many times already piloted or even implemented on a larger scale. Patients are becoming more and more active in the co-production of their own health. New technologies keep them longer out of the hospital and provide more support from care communities including families, friends, even strangers. This way, healthcare is extended to outside the usual domain of health professionals.
Which dangers does the Health 2.0 phenomenon involve? Some say that there are considerable risks associated with electronic health records.
PL: This scare has definitely put a break on the development of national health records worldwide. Now we showcase many technologies that include an electronic health records allowing patients to better manage their health information and share some of it with their care communities.
Health 2.0 – please correct me if I’m wrong – has a lot to do with the so-called “empowered patient”. But if we discuss our health issues on a website, this can cause a lot of mistakes. I’ve heard doctors saying: “Empowered patients are a problem because they think that they know better than doctors. Sometimes it‘s really heard to change their minds. Even if they are wrong they tend to believe what friends say instead of trusting the doctor’s knowledge.”
PL: It’s true there has been a fundamental shift in the relationship between patients and health professionals. Patients now often come to their physician’s office having researched what they think is their condition. When they challenge their doctors’ knowledge and diagnosis, this usually happens in cases where there was already a lack of trust in the relationship. I believe doctors should encourage and guide this attitude, work with their patients to help them understand how the information they found may or may not apply to them. This shift is an opportunity for better care rather than a threat to the health system.
Which new Health 2.0 initiatives around the world seem to be most interesting right now?
PL: Chronic diseases have been an important burden on health systems, so there is a lot of interest in the technologies that promote treatment adherence and enable population health management. We also see a lot of opportunities in tools that allow to connect health professionals and improve the safety and efficiency of the clinical workflow. Then innovation opportunities sometimes are where you don’t expect them: in the taboos of medicine like sexual health, mental health, addictions …
You organise Health 2.0 conferences around the world – in Berlin, Bangalore and San Francisco. What are the differences in Health 2.0 between the United States, Europe and Asia?
PL: You’re forgetting a few: This year we’re also going to the Middle East (January 27-28, 2013 in Dubai) and Latin America (June 21-22, 2013 in Sao Paolo)! It’s a lot but the demand to bring the Health 2.0 conference to other markets is very high. It’s hard to summarize differences between these markets: health systems create very different environments for the development of the Health 2.0 movement; taboos vary greatly from one culture to another; the challenges for health entrepreneurs are not always the same. Liability is always an important question in the US, whereas we barely discuss that question in Europe.
How would you encourage our readers to attend the conference in Berlin in November?
PL: Health 2.0 Europe brings together all the key stakeholders of health innovation: entrepreneurs, IT solution providers, health professionals, patient organizations, health authorities, public and private insurance organizations, medical devices and pharmaceutical companies, telecom groups, VCs, financiers, and policy makers. This year the event will feature more than 75 speakers from 25 countries; more than 45 LIVE technology demos; a special session on Pharma 2.0 – Opportunities and pitfalls; an Investors’ Panel and Q&A on Financing Health 2.0; a strategy session with Frog on design and patient engagement and the first ever Berlin Code-A-Thon – 2012 promises to be a great edition!
One last question: How do you use what Health 2.0 offers in your daily life?
PL: I review a lot of technologies every day and I try quite a few. I end up using some. I won’t name names, but I spend a lot of time on patient forums. Not necessarily for myself, but also for my family and friends. I have a few apps on my phone to motivate me to a lead a healthier life. And I recently started using a mood measurement platform to follow someone around me with serious ups and downs. That’s about it!
<Please insert your journal/blog/other media here> readers and associates receive a special discount of 30%. Use promotional code ‘MEDIA12’ during your registration to take advantage of this special offer.
About Health 2.0 Europe
Health 2.0 Europe is the premier conference dedicated to how Web 2.0 and social media are transforming healthcare systems in Europe. The conference brings together professionals in the converging industries of healthcare, the internet, mobile applications and social media to address how Web 2.0 and mobile technologies revolutionize both healthcare delivery and treatment. Health 2.0 Europe is organized by pioneering experts with decades of combined experience in health- and web-related business and consulting, including Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya, founders of Health 2.0 in San Francisco.  Please visit for more information, or follow Health 2.0 Europe and its online communities and groups on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About Artur Olesch
Artur Olesch is a Berlin-based journalist who writes for the Polish healthcare platform For over a decade now, Artur Olesch has been involved with KAMSOFT – one of the biggest providers of IT solutions for healthcare and pharmacies in Poland. On November 6, 2012, he will present the Polish healthcare system’s first e-health platform at Health 2.0 Europe.
Media contact / press registration:
Nina Zeldes
AVISOmed for Health 2.0 Europe
+49 30 278798070