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Civic Labs: Bangalore

Bangalore, Karnataka, India

On June 16th


Civic Labs: Bangalore and the Digital Open

While working on the Digital Open: the Innovation Expo for Global Youth that IFTF is running in partnership with Sun Microsystems and Boing Boing, I have tried to keep an eye out for potential areas that would benefit from the types of projects the Open is seeking. It was great to see this interview with the U.S. Government's first C.I.O. in the July edition of Wired.

IBM's vision for . . .

So says IBM.  It also proclaims:

Technology alone can't cure what ails us. But it can help those who treat our illnesses, heal our injuries, and find new ways ot battle diseases do it even better. It can also help healthy individuals to make smarter choices about their health and care.

So much information, such limited ability to understand it all

As patients or health consumers, we have an ever-increasing abundance of information at our fingertips.  The Web is full of resources, from WebMd to Wikipedia to Daily Strength to a host of other sites that may or may not be reliable sources.  Even the most savvy of users may find sifting through all this information a challenge.  Companies like Navigenics and 23andMe provide complex data about our personal health that certainly requires explanation to be properly understood.  As we continue to move toward empowering people to become active participants in their health care, we make the assumption that they will be able to keep up with and synthesize the abundance of information that may be relevant to their health.

Should the doctor be ordering MedPedia yet?

MedPedia, which I wrote about last fall, has gone public. Part Wikipedia for health information, part LinkedIn for health professionals, it remains the Health 2.0 darling of TechCrunch (TC).

Big wigs playing in personal health information arena

Next up this morning, representatives from WebMD, Microsoft HealthVault, Aetna, Google Health, and Yahoo! Health are giving presentations and demonstrations of consumer-targetted health information aggregator platforms. Most of these are variations on personal health records (PHR) that can send out health-related alerts to their users; offer online coaches and medication management applications; and generally provide a (hopefully) convenient and secure place for consumers to store and access their personal health information.

Medical experts wanted

By now, I think that it is safe to say that Wikipedia plays a ubiquitous role in the world of online information. This is even true for health information. At our Spring 2007 conference on Biocitizens and New Media Technology, Health Horizons Program Director Rod Falcon noted in his presentation that, "Wikipedia is the most frequently cited source [of user-generated health content] and appears on the first page of 63% of health searches" (emphasis is mine--I marvel at this phenomenon).

A new player will soon be entering the field of online medical information: MedPedia.

Regular strength or extra strength? Drowsy or non-drowsy formula? Brand name or knock off?

These are the questions I often find myself pondering as I stand in the cold medicine aisle at my local drugstore. This morning, Rod Falcon, Director of the Health Horizons Program, dropped a good old-fashioned newspaper on my desk that announced a solution to these dilemmas. Evincii, a Mountain View, CA, startup that has been in (mostly) stealth mode since 2005, has now formally unveiled its in-store, interactive, over-the-counter (OTC) drug information kiosk.

Retail DNA

Navigenics is not the only company to market consumer genetic testing (see 23andMe and deCODEme), but it may be the first to do so in a retail setting (at least one as trendy as Manhattan's SoHo District). The New York Times has a short piece about Navigenics' temporary storefront in SoHo.

The continuing challenges of RHIOs and EHRs

In August, I wrote about the demise of the Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) in Santa Barbara. In January, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) published a discouraging report about these collaborative health information technology (IT) offerings.

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