Health 2.0 Seattle: Drilling Into Local Industries For Healthcare Solutions


Since the inception of Health 2.0 by co-founders Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya, Health 2.0 local chapters have popped up all over the world. The chapters differ in location and objective, yet all provide networking opportunities and stimulating discussions for people involved or interested in how technology can be leveraged to systemically affect change in the healthcare industry.

Health 2.0 Seattle is hosted by digital product studio Substantial, and its mission is to establish Seattle as a leader in healthcare innovation by facilitating dialogue among professionals from the local technology, life sciences, and global health industries.  Just north of Silicon Valley, Seattle is often overlooked as a critical health care center. As digital meets demand in the healthcare space, however, it is clear Seattle can play hard and strong. Software designers, programers, and computer scientists are increasingly interfacing with life science, global health, and regional healthcare professionals. It’s just been a matter of time before these industries began peaking behind each other’s curtains.

For 2014, Health 2.0 Seattle is also attempting to do something a little different. They have launched a series that calls on experts to weigh in on how to navigate the hurdles of the constantly in flux healthcare industry; how to drive change within the community; and, how to create products and tools of value in the marketplace. These are not just local conversations; rather, they are global and universally relevant discussions occurring within a local setting.

MedCrunch will bring key insights and takeaways to our audience from this series monthly.


In January, Health 2.0 Seattle introduced the first of its series to a diverse crowd. The topic was “Identifying the Issues.” The goal was to uncover some of the greatest challenges existing in the global health and life science fields, and to see where technology would have the most impact. Panelists included: Mary Kay O’Neil, Executive Medical Director at Regence BlueSheild; Brad Younggren, MD, FACEP Chief Medical OFficer, Mobisante; and Rob Lin, Vice President of Finance for Infectious Disease Research Institute.

Key insights were:

  • There is a huge need to support the consumerization of healthcare, where also just as critical, is the need to optimize clinical workflow.
  • Both Mary Kay O’Neil and Brad Younggren discussed how the majority of technology used by clinicians (Electrical Medical Record Systems and Practice Management Systems) did not have the patient care process originally designed into its functionality, and its actual use was more for billing. Because of this workflow is heavier around administrative duties instead of caring for the patient.
  • Globally, the opportunity to leverage mobile is as prevalent as it is in the US. Health needs are drastically different, but portal diagnostic tools and technology allow clinicians to scale, treat, and prevent communicable diseases in a cost effective manner. Rob Lin, previously of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pointed out, however, that the design of the technology must take into account so many other challenges like access points to delivering the tools and technology. These access points involve not just shipment or a country’s transportation infrastructure and environment, but also education and the traditions and values guiding a culture’s interaction with or understanding of health.


Below is the 2014 Health 2.0 Seattle Program Outline:

January: Identifying the Issues

  • What the greatest challenges in the life sciences and global health fields are
  • Where to look to seek out the meaty problems
  • Where innovation is most needed in our community
  • How technology can help

February: Paths to Innovation

  • What investors look for: startup solutions
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Engaging with life sciences and global health to create meaningful solutions

March: How to build a successful product (backend focus)

  • Hands On workshop on how to build software products in healthcare
  • How to engage with a technology company to build a viable solution

April: How to design a product for consumer adoption? (front end /UX focus)

  • Consumer focused design
  • Culture of healthcare is changing → consumerization
  • Using social media
  • Designing for doctors and patients

May: How to design a product for B to B adoption

  • Industry veterans speak about what’s happening within their field
  • How to engage
  • Avoid getting stuck in pilot mode

June: Risks & Roadblocks

  • Legal issues
  • Privacy
  • Big data

July: Innovation at Work

  • Product showcase
  • What’s next in healthcare innovation

Disclaimer: Susan E. Williams sits on the board of Health 2.0 Seattle.

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Susan E. Williams (@estherswilliams) explores experiments at the intersection of health care and technology, particularly around how mobile apps, games and sensory apparatus change the way we pay attention, understand, and make decisions about our bodies, emotions, and behavior. Susan received her BA in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and her MA in East Asian Culture, with an emphasis on Japan, from New York University. She is on the board of Health 2.0 Seattle, and works (and believes) in social media communications for health care and science.


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