I’m still working my way through notes, video, links and tweets to try and and bring together as much as possible of the interesting content to come out of Doctors 2.0.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the hot topics:

Empowering the doctor, not just the patient
It’s easy to assume that digital health is all about encouraging patients to access information and communicate online. However, several speakers, including Kathi Apostolidis and Lucien Engelen, were keen to emphasise that, on balance, patients have been much more progressive in their adoption of the web. In many respects the more pressing issue is to help health care professionals acknowledge and adopt digital tools, so that they are better prepared for the informed patient who arrives in their surgery.

Taking the hype out of digital innovation

The main auditorium at Doctors 2.0

Panel discussion in full flow, with huge Twitter wall recording proceedings, top right

On my panel of speakers, chaired by Bryan Vartabedian, we discussed the all-too-common fear of digital as a primary obstacle to adoption of the web for health information and communication.
My take-away from this was that while digital evangalists are an essential part of any organisation, they (and I guess I am one of those) can be almost as much of a hindrance. It’s important to take the ‘geek’ factor out of people’s perception of digital.

Evaluating success properly
It was apparent from discussions around the table, that healthcare organisations are still not clear how to evaluate success properly. Commercial organisations either evaluate social media by attributed product sales (very difficult to measure and possibly unsustainable) or simply by the number of ‘likes’ or fans they attract. Not a very useful way of measuring the value of social media, and either approach is likely to undermine the true value.
I don’t think Doctors 2.0 quite nailed an answer to this, but there were interesting conversations about the value of facilitating conversations between patients, so that they can help each other.

The role of Government in digital health
At one point the conference organisers launched an audience poll to ask the audience to what degree they thought Government should be involved in digital health.
Optional answers ranged from ‘none at all’ to ‘Government should pay for, regulate and control all online health content’.
Amazingly, the majority of the audience thought that Government’s should control as much of the information as possible; paying for, and regulating it too. I think this may be more a reflection of the international audience present, who acknowledged the difficulties posed by private sector organisations funding healthcare information.
Personally, I thought this question was a a little over-simplistic in its approach. We need to consider what is already available out there, the quality of that information, and most importantly the role of patients in governing and editing the information that is available.

That’s a quick run-down of some of the hot topics, with more to follow. I hope to pick up on some of these issues through #nhssm in the coming weeks.