HealthCamp Yale 2011 Wrap-up


As I write this, I'm in a cab going from New Haven airport to Hartford airport. I was bumped, but I did get a pretty good travel voucher for a future flight. The sun is just coming up over the horizon before 7am and I'm reflecting upon what happened yesterday at the Yale School of Nursing. I would say that there were probably about 40 people that came through the day for the HealthCamp Yale 2011 experience. If you have never been to a HealthCamp before, here is what you can expect.

I cannot say enough for the volunteers for an event like this. I know that they do a lot of logistical work before the event. But during the event, they were fabulous. There was some opening remarks from the organizing team (Mark Schrimshire, HealthCamp Founder, pictured above) and then the next step happens which is to create and to schedule the sessions for the day. What? The sessions are not determined before hand? Yes, that's right. The people that show up are the ones who come up with the sessions. Then, this matrix is placed on a board and people place their sessions on it. This is called an "unconference" concept in which there is a little less structure than other types of meetings. It is very organic in that the participants come up with the content - much like the concept of social media in general - the generation and interaction of user-generated content.

I did a session myself on physicians and social media - of course. I even did a live video stream of my session for a while in which I positioned my laptop camera on whomever was speaking (for the most part). Thanks to Cascadia, Thuc, and Gregg for joining the live stream. Unfortunately I wasn't able to incorporate their comments in our discussion. It's tough to be a facilitator for the "in real life" people and try to keep track of the chat room as well. Our discussion was mostly that physicians need to be on social media and on the internet because patients are going to search for them there. Good discussion on how doctors should write a blog post or record a video of things they say 30 times a day to patients like "this is why you do not need an antibiotic." There was also discussion on how physicians can use the internet to market themselves - like a facebook page for their practice, etc. I was happy with how the session went. As most things in an unconference format, where the discussion begins and where the discussion ends are sometimes two very different places.

I even did a short video interview for the event and I'll make that available when they let me know where to find it. I also recorded some audio interviews during and after the event which I will play on the upcoming Family Medicine Rocks podcast. The after party, for me, is the real HealthCamp. This is where, for the most part, people become a little more real and, for the most part, people take off their marketing and sales caps and relax. This is great for me because I get to ask questions like why do they do what they do? Why are they in the industry and/or job that they are in now? Why and how do they use social media in their work? To be honest, I'm still processing that information right now as I am riding in this cab to the other departure airport.

I "won" the longest traveler award - which is kind of funny to me. Was it worth it for me go, and to have a long travel day home since I got bumped off my flight? I would say yes. I have said this before, but meetings like this are not really about the tech, they are about the people. The persona that people put out there on the internet can sometimes be different than in real life - at least that's what people have told me Hehe. But, I really enjoy trying to go beyond the internet personality and seeing what drives these people and their background information. Thanks again to the HealthCamp Yale organizers for the invite to attend. Maybe it would be cool to think about organizing a HealthCamp back home for the people that I know... (BTW, this entire blog post was written and posted - including the picture upload) during my cab ride to Hartford - how cool is that?)