‘The Program has Evolved to Respond to the Digital Context’ – Interview with Denise Silber on Doctors 2.0 & You


MedCrunch: We loved attending the Doctors 2.0 & You event; it was really charming and educative. We particularly enjoyed the familiarity and community feeling amongst the attendees. What were the highlights of the event this year for you?

Denise Silber:  Thank you and great question. Where do I begin?  Bringing together Key Opinion Leaders from different continents. The presence of physicians and patient innovators, such as an early Google Glass Explorer surgeon who was already using iPods and iPhones for telemedicine, another physician who uses VSnap to send messages to patients, a Patient With Diabetes who created a motivational sort of Serious Game type App. We demoed on stage the first Digital Fork to help people eat slower. The Start-up Sessions were very exciting. People wished they could attend simultaneous parallel sessions because they were all so interesting. Our livetweeting went up considerably. Nearly 8000 tweets in 48 hours on the hashtag #doctors20 in 15 languages!

MedCrunch: Can you tell me a bit about how Doctors 2.0 & You has evolved and what made you conceive this event in the first place?

Denise Silber:  The program has evolved to respond to the digital context. There are more subjects out there and the audience is more mature. So we have expanded the program to give people more choices and we have continued the search for the most cutting edge speakers. We renew our faculty each year. Also, our poster area has gotten bigger, as has the demand to participate in the Start-up contest.

MedCrunch: The speakers were certainly very interesting. How did you go about selecting the speakers for this year’s event and how did you define the program?

Denise Silber:  People apply to speak through the online application form, and then there are multiple reviews. I ask the most relevant advisers their opinion. And then ultimately the choice has to do with the needs of the program. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. We sit down with all the names and topics and see how to weave it into something coherent. We take on motivated speakers with a cause.

MedCrunch: Can you tell me about some actual health/healthcare trends that you saw emerging or re-emerging at the event?

Denise Silber:  Definitely. The importance of Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook and Apps in diabetes and cancer. The rise of mobile app evaluation.  The use of Apps by healthcare professionals for their patients. The importance of eReputation for professionals and industry…

MedCrunch: What trend would you deem as particularly relevant or applicable to physicians/ our readers?

Denise Silber:  If I look for the most universally applicable trend, I’d say the importance for physicians to be able to recommend apps and other social media opportunities to their patients. More patients are interested than before. So, it can become a real plus to do so.

MedCrunch: MedCrunch was really impressed with the Start-up competition. Can you elaborate on the process of selecting these start- ups? And which was your personal favourite?

Denise Silber:  Over the years that I’ve been working on start-ups, I have come to understand that it’s not about creating the most amazing new idea. It’s about the execution. That sounds banal but it is rarely understood. So, we are looking for people whose start-up has a chance of succeeding. How well they follow the process, how motivated they are, how well they prepare…As to my favourite, I like to follow “collective intelligence.” The two finalists selected by the jury are great, MyHospiFriends (used to be Hôpital Affinité) and KelDoc . There was actually a company that I missed who didn’t make it to the finals because they felt their product wasn’t ready and so they didn’t compete…A great idea nonetheless.

MedCrunch: Being an international eHealth pioneer, entrepreneur and running Doctors 2.0 for the past years, what is your advice to Start-ups in this industry and what tips can you give to new entrepreneurs?

Denise Silber :   1) You can’t do it alone. Get a multi-talented team together from the start. 2 or 3 people from different backgrounds. 2) Concentrate on execution 3) Don’t underestimate the importance of the marketing and communication; technology does not sell itself. 3) Don’t think you’ll succeed with your first company. Most do not.

MedCrunch: Are you aware of any new projects or connections that have emerged from the event this year?

Denise Silber Some start-ups are collaborating; some people have found work or assignments. I should ask around for the stories. There are several.

MedCrunch: What are your plans are for the next year’s event? Could give us a teaser? Did you have any particular learnings from this year that you would apply?

Denise Silber Teasers: early sign-ups will get to attend a special Master Class with an expert.  And the dates have just been confirmed for  June 5-6, 2014 – here! We will continue to privilege a very human touch of people reaching out to people. Various medical conditions will be featured and, oh – speakers will have to send in their presentations 3 weeks in advance! And finally, let’s get the MedCrunch reader who gives the best reason why, one free pass!


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Based in Vienna, Anna graduated from Leeds University in 2004 in Politics and French Literature. She then founded a magazine featuring young artists, designers and photographers working in Austria and Eastern Europe. In 2005, Anna moved to London where she spent six years at Google working across several departments, most recently in Sales. In the past year, Anna worked as an interim executive at TV1, an independent news station in Bosnia. She is passionate about investigative, in-depth journalism that exposes problems, illuminates issues and provides practical or philosophical solutions to readers. Anna is a lover of science and is always seeking to learn more about our universe. She also loves cooking and traveling.