On Tuesday, October 8, Invoke Media hosted its second Ideamakers event at Science World, curating and celebrating Canadian visionaries in the integration of healthcare and technology.
The event, which consisted of five speakers expounding on their projects and principles, was reminiscent of the opening line of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: all happy families are happy in the same way, and all optimistic technologists seem optimistic in much the same way too.
The opening of the event reiterated a question from a recent Invoke Media interview of Michael Bidu: "What is the main roadblock facing innovation in healthcare today?" This was his answer:
“This is the $17.2 billion question for BC, the $207 billion question for Canada, and the $2.7 trillion question for the US healthcare system. When it comes to change, the main roadblock is always fear. The fear of not getting elected. The fear of being wrong. The fear of being ridiculed. The fear of facing the awful truth. The reality is that healthcare is a very complex and complicated system with multiple interests from multiple large key stakeholders. So there is not one main roadblock, there are many and their names are: leadership, vision, policy, procurement, reimbursement, interoperability, investment, and culture.”
The five speakers hailed from a range of backgrounds that was unexpectedly wide considering the commonality of healthcare and technology between them. The five speakers were Dr. Brendan Byrne, of Telus Health Solutions; Elina Lawrie, the Interaction Designer of Healthcare Human Factors; Medeo’s Ryan Wilson; Dr. Richard Lester of the BC Centre for Disease Control; and Ayogo’s Mavis Dixon.
While each came to the lectern with different prescriptions for bringing healthcare into the 21st century, not one expressed any doubt that the tech of 2013 would suffice to do so. Fear was derided, if not dismissed, as an impediment to progress.
Ryan Wilson’s presentation was slightly marred by technical difficulties, but the enthusiasm for Medeo and its ability to connect doctors to patients online was undaunted. Even the rational fears were looked over. Only Dr. Byrne emphasized the deathly consequences of a disjointed health-care system, despite Dr. Lester’s substantial experience experience using telecommunications to facilitate AIDS management in Kenya. When the speakers were done, Heiko Decosas was presented with his pass to the Interface Digital Health Summit, which concluded just before the long weekend.
However, if the greatest problem a collaborative event has is a bounty of positivity, the event should be considered a success. Lima Al-Azzeh, Community Manager at Invoke and mastermind of the evening, would consider it as such.
“I’m really pleased with the diversity regarding the audience," they told Techvibes. "I was pleased to see that there’s a healthy interest in collaboration, and a lot of different thinkers and ideamakers here to solve real world problems. That’s at the crux of Invoke in everything we do; we want to promote innovation with whatever industry we’re connected with. Hopefully we can continue the Ideamakers series and bring more and more industries on board, and foster that collaboration and great conversation for innovation to occur.”
For those who missed out on Tuesday’s festivities, future Ideamakers events are in the works. The subject of the next event is still undecided, though the likeliest bets would be on real estate or higher education.
If the only thing progress has to fear is fear itself, the sureness espoused by every speaker should help put it to rest.