Friday, May 9, 2008

Health 2.0 Versus Human 2.0: No Contest

So far, from this blogger’s vantage point,, it’s no contest.

The score is Health 2.0, 550, Human 2.0, 0.

Five hundred fifty Internet experts gathered in San Francisco in September 2007 to attend a Health 2.0 conference, orchestrated and led by Matthew Holt, health analyst,, impresario of the Health Care Blog, and by Indu Subaiyu, health internet guru and consultant.

They were leaders of the Internet band. They were dedicated to the proposition that the Internet will clean up, rationalize, and make transparent all of those forces that have contributed to the current U.S. health care imbroglio.

Health 2.0 will be a game changer for unraveling then clarifying the U.S. health system, which one health 2.0 participant called a “calcified hairball.”

All the Giants were there in San Francisco (where else, since the Baghdad by the Bay is cheek-to-jowl with Silicon Valley), Google, Microscoft, WebMD, Yahoo, Intel, Revolution Health, and Walmart, and other major players, including, a physician Internet player, and a host of emerging entrepreneurs, too. It was a grand event. It pulsated with excitement and anticipation of what was to come – empowering and connecting everybody in the health care community and beyond.

It is safe to say, at this autumnal event, health 2.0 became a rolling forward movement – a swirling whirling mish-mash of Internet companies, wikis, mash-ups, videos, bloggers, and assemblers of user-generated data – all designed to connect health care consumers, providers, and players in a seamless Web of data and ideas.

At the conference seldom was heard a dissenting word or whimper from the Human 2.0 community. But more on that later.

For those of you not in the know,

Health 2.0 is the next generation Internet with increasingly simple applications and simultaneously more sophisticated software allowing every widening access and use of information at the site of care by end-users, namely patients and doctors and everybody else connected to health care. A winning combination of evidence-based information, sophisticated algorithms, centralized data depositories, and user-generated data hold health 2.0 together

Health 2.0 is a computer contagion, spread both by physical contact with infected brethren and by remote but ubiquitous and instantaneous cybespace connections. Health 2.0 is an Internet typhoon, cyclone, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, or any other large scale data storm system, all wrapped up in one electronic bundle, laying bare, flattening and making transparent everything in its path.

Health 2.0 excites everybody, left and right brainers alike, because it is so damn logical, allowing you to see details on the ground, in the air, and from cyberspace. You can view and document all transactions in the aggregate, retrospectively and prospectively, but not always perspectively.

Then there are the pitifully weak forces of Human 2.0

Human 2.0 is the present and future generation of followers who say humanism – that system of thought based on values, characteristics, and intellect of human beings – will resist the logical and relentless encroachments of the computer and will allow individualism, creativity, and unbounded thoughts of humankind to flourish. Computers are not the do-all, be-all, and see-all. They are limited human tools, not magical machines.

Health 2.0 clearly outmatches and outflanks Human 2.0. The Health 2.0 folks and their machines are, after all, online, real-time, all-the-time, and they have data to back them up. They are linear, objective, and measure-driven.

Human 2.0 folks may say humankind and health-kind are too subjective to measure, too complex to pin down, too chaotic to yield to computation, too private and too personal to be exposed for the whole world to see, and too full of human hunches, intuitions, paradoxes, informal relationships, gossip, rumors, jealousies, secrets, variables, permutations, and combinations to categorize. Indeed, some of the Human 2.0 advocates are saying in hushed voices that the Health 2.0 enthusiasts are suffering from an advanced case of hardening of the categories.

The game is still young, but it appears Health 2.0 has all the forces of logic, scientific and management evidence, business opportunities, and information technologies on their side. Human 2.0 may have some human capital and human nature assets, but little else. Human 2.0 is …well, a little too human, a little too protective in hiding its secrets. foibles and inconsistencies. To err is human, and to be inconsistent.

Personally, I find consumers and doctors partially covered, more attractive than those with all assets transparent and exposed. I fear I am one of God’s diminishing few, and the game will inexorably go to Health 2.0.

But it’s not over until the Fat Lady, either bare or clothed, sings.

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