Healthcare IT Conferences – visions of the future


Me at Supernova 2006
In the interests of research, and ensuring that I didn’t get to bed
until 3.30am this morning – I went along to the Connected Innovators
Showcase, held as part of Supernova 2006 inside Second Life.

What’s this got to do with Healthcare IT? Probably not a lot at this
point, but it was certainly an early view of what we can expect to see
more and more of in the future.

The event itself consisted of 12 five minute pitches by early stage technology companies. It was funny to hear some of the 35+ assembled avatars pass snide comments on the seeming inability of the assembled geeks to get the presentation laptop up and running – though who hasn’t been there? Lessson : even slick events like this get whipped off at the knees not having a powerpoint engineer to hand.

The virtual space was very nice. On entrance, you could browse the HUD (Heads Up Display) to learn more about the event and the companies presented; the very same as having your conference brochure. You could sit and chat with other attendees at cosy little booths, where virtual documentation was available; Banners on the walls advertised the event sponsors – and at the head of the room, a large display showing the video stream from the pitching area.

What did I learn?

Like this attendee mentioned – it’s useful to know the basic controls of navigating and equipping yourself before entering the environment; I found lots of people extremely helpful on the night with a lot of this stuff (thanks electric sheep ) – but I can see how one might be as welcome as a drunk at a cocktail party if the attendees were a little bit more hardened to this sort of interruption.

Just showing the presenter in this case, without showing the slides, is just not enough; It’s funny – when you actually attend a presentation  – you sometimes bemoan about the quality of the slide deck; but believe me, in this situation you need them; a lot of people commented on this; at one stage I was hoping that my backchannel comments of "move to the slides instead of the presenter" would be taken up by the event organisers – not so in this case;

From a presentation point of view, 5 minute pitches are interesting

  • you really need to boil down to the essence of your product or service;
  • Don’t spend too long talking about who you are, and what you have done in the past, but rather what you are/will do;
  • don’t keep looking over your shoulder at the slides – look at the audience (see last point);
  • vision is important, but not so important as to being the only thing that you talk about – articulate the vision with examples, users on the system, (accurate) facts and figures;
  • and to me, the most important – try to have somebody else (or a wireless mouse/pointer) to navigate the presentation.
So what might be some of the lessons learned for Healthcare and Healthcare IT conferences? Probably not much for the moment – this is just too way too early for the conservatism often associated with the sector; but there are definitely some easier take aways such as streaming/podcasting/vlogging of content which could be implemented now (Disclosure : my company is involved in this area). While conferences are quite often noted for their networking possibilities, sometimes just the content is just as important.

What do you think ?


2 thoughts on “Healthcare IT Conferences – visions of the future

  1. Great report Kevin. I have to admit it took me a long time to get Second Life but once I walked down from Stephen’s Green down Grafton Street and through Trinity College in the Dublin sim I finally saw the amazing potential beyond gaming.

    I’m looking forward to you continuing exploration of this virtual world. What’s your SL name?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *