Greetings From HealthCamp!
Despite a few technical difficulties on my end--leave it to my computer to have trouble posting a blog in a sea of wifi--HealthCamp Philadelphia went off without a hitch. Conversations were already flying as attendees signed in, posted session topics on the giant scheduling board and filed into Room 505 for the intro session and kick off. Mary Ann Geier, HealthCamp organizer, said it was the biggest turnout for a HealthCamp yet, and everyone was eager to talk.
As it turns out, HealthCamp wasn't always a hit; the concept first started in 2006, according to organizers, but it fizzled out. The recent surge of public interest in health care prompted a relaunch of HealthCamp. And this time, it's taking off.
Today's sessions covered a variety of topics, from EHRs to health care consumerism to breaking down information silos. Presentation approaches ranged from prepped PowerPoints to spontaneous conversations and open forums. The rules? Respect differing opinions and feel free to come and go between sessions as you please. Needless to say, it was pretty laid back--perfect for a rainy Saturday.
The thing I found most refreshing about the event were the different perspectives and backgrounds HealthCamp brought together. In one session, software developers, health care researchers, an RN, a guy from Johnson and Johnson and an average consumer shared the floor. I even got to throw in my two cents, offering an HIM perspective on issues like medical identity theft and the challenges of EHR adoption. What made the moment even sweeter? They listened!
I'll admit there were some points where the conversation was so engaging it was hard to get a word in edgewise. But hey, I'll take too much enthusiasm over vacant stares any day.
As you may have expected, we didn't reach any mind-blowing epiphanies or craft a silver bullet for health care. But that wasn't the point of HealthCamp; the important thing was we got the conversation going. The casual setting encouraged people to not only share their opinions as industry experts, but voice their personal qualms with health care as concerned Americans.
It was a productive but draining day--health care reform isn't easy, after all. So off to a nearby pub many HealthCampers went after the closing session; nothing like celebrating with a heart-healthy glass of wine.