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3 Reasons SXSW Can Change Social Health


Coming off the heals of South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive I have more ideas bouncing around in my head than I know what to do with. I am excited to bring these ideas back to hospitals I work with to see what fits within their strategies and goals.

This year was such a great step for those of us who coordinated last years Sharing Exchanging Social Health (SXSH). In just a year’s time we have moved from an unofficial un-confernce, to having an official SXSW health category. A special thanks goes out to, SXSW Interactive director, Hugh Forrest who was kind enough to listen to us then agree that health was a major category that SXSW could benefit from.

I think there are three main reasons SXSW Interactive has the chance to change social health:

  1. We Move Outside Our Silos – Not only did I get the opportunity to learn from those outside the hospital world, I got to learn from those outside healthcare. Seeing what others are doing is aspiring and makes you stretch your thinking to see how you could adapt ideas to fit your industry. Personal Example: While charging my phone I had the chance to visit with the creative director from Hilton Worldwide. They are in the process of redesigning all 10 of their brand’s websites. Talking with him I gathered a few ideas on how they deal with “experience” online and how I may adapt this to hospitals.
  2. The Conference Duration – SXSW is a long conference. WIth the Pre-Commerce gathering on Thursday afternoon it made the overall interactive festival six days for me. On one hand this is a long time to be on your feet, but on the other hand this gives you so many opportunities to steal some time with very smart people. Personal Example: After his panel I was able to catch Daniel Goldman, JD who is legal council for the Mayo Clinic. We had a great chat and was able to talk though several scenarios on privacy that my clients seem to deal with on a regular basis. Past this I could fill up this page with brilliant healthcare people who I was able to spend sometime with.
  3. Technology Integration – SXSW is known as a place where technology comes to launch. Being around so many developers and designers you can not help but be inspired. Seeing what technology is coming really gives those who are there a chance to see/interact/question these platforms and tools. Personal Example: At a healthcare networking event held by WCG I was able to spend some time talking with David Alston, CMO from Radian6. We talked about new ideas and how hospitals specifically could benefit from certain features, changes, updates, ect. From this conversation I look forward to more chats with them on hospital specific enhancements.

Now it is time to take a deep breath and let everything from the past six days really sink in. Sure I got about 19 black t-shirs and a bunch of stickers but it was so much more than that. SXSW is what you make of it like many other conferences, but the difference just like Facebook is they have critical mass. Maybe not as many healthcare folks as others but that is OK… because that is quickly changing.

Did you attend? Did you not attend? I would love to hear feedback from both.

– Reed


Author Info

Reed Smith