Conference Season: Patients and Caregivers Welcome

We are deep into the fall conference season. One of my favorite trends is the increasing rate of inclusion of patients and caregivers at health care events, on stage or in the audience. The California HealthCare Foundation was a pioneer in this regard. Patients 2.0, an off-shoot of Health 2.0, and e-Patient Connections represent a strong tradition of inclusion of consumers on stage and off. And the recent Medicine 2.0’11 at Stanford set a new high-water mark of e-patient involvement, in my opinion, thanks to the leadership of Larry Chu.

On October 20-21 in Boston, the Connected Health Symposium will present the latest opportunity to attend a fantastic health care innovation conference. If you’re interested, click to view the PDF invitation from Joe Ternullo, the organizing chair of the event. Essentially, patients and caregivers who would like a free pass should send Joe an email: jternullo (at)

If you’d like to read my reactions to last year’s symposium before you make your plans, here are a couple posts:

The Future of Health: Robots, Enchanted Objects, and Networks

Connected Health: patient networks panel

If you’d like to learn more about how Medicine 2.0 included e-patients, please see:

An Open Letter to Stanford

Announcing Medicine 2.0 Stanford ePatient Scholarship Program

There are many more conferences and opportunities for learning. Here are some lists I found:

Global Event List for Health Innovation

Alex Albin’s list of upcoming conferences

HealthCamp Calendar

What other events are on the horizon? What are your observations about including patients and caregivers in health innovation events?





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6 Responses to “Conference Season: Patients and Caregivers Welcome”

  1. Woohoo – this is AWESOME! Thanks!

    Another high water mark worth mentioning, was the IHI Forum last December, at which the Cautious Patient Foundation paid travel expenses as well as registration for 50 patients and advocates to attend. Here’s a post from back then.

    I’m so happy that this blog – especially you, Susannah – has/have played an active role in this movement. Healthcare can only get better if the leaders are more accustomed to hearing the words – and Q&A – from empowered patients. Thanks to all the leaders who are making this happen!

    • Susannah Fox says:

      Thanks, Dave, that’s another great example!

      I hope that more conference organizers and participants will chime in with their own stories about including patients & caregivers. It’s a trend that is growing organically — and hopefully all sides can take advantage of it.

  2. Heather says:

    Do we keep a running conference calendar? I am working more and more in e-patient realms and keep hearing about great things just a little too late.

    • Heather says:

      Also, it might help generate interest in volunteering at the conferences that are close by.

    • Susannah Fox says:

      Hi Heather,

      Various people and organizations have talked about keeping a running calendar of events that would be of interest to an engaged consumer audience but I don’t think anyone’s taken it on as a task. It’s too bad since there are some excellent events and there are opportunities for people to attend at lower (or no) cost.

      There are some perennials you can count on for the fall circuit: Health 2.0 San Francisco, Medicine 2.0 (next year in Boston); e-Patient Connections in Philly; Mayo Transform in MN; TEDMED in San Diego; and Connected Health in Boston. Again, those are just the ones *I* have attended – not saying they are the best or only events to consider.

  3. The major problem with patient participation in conferences is the cost. Most often we’re not doctors, researchers or business people with a budget to go to such things and the high registration fees, travel costs, and costs of being away from home are completely prohibitive. The only way I was able to attend Medicine 2.0 was on scholarship. I dearly hope to be able to go to additional events in the future, but someone will have to want me to be there enough to get me there! I ask that all conference planners consider this issue and make scholarships available and even consider asking doctors, researcher and business people to bring a patient of their own and/or personally contribute to scholarships.

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