The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival held in Austin, TX, brings together industry leaders, up-and-comers, celebrities, and everyday people to share big ideas, enjoy great music, watch film debuts, and learn about cutting-edge technology. This year, for the first time, OpenNotes was on the scene in early March to sway opinions and promote transparency in health as the new standard of care.
Leading the conversation were OpenNotes’ Executive Director Cait DesRoches, DrPH, and Senior Strategist Liz Salmi in an animated panel discussion about transparency in healthcare. Joining them were Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Atrium Health, and Bryan Vartabedian, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. As part of the session, the four showcased diverse perspectives within the health transparency movement.
Admittedly, being at a festival like SXSW is different for OpenNotes. We’re used to attending Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) meetings and American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) conferences. But at SXSW, within a two-hour period, you can see a talk by the world’s leading expert on AI in healthcare, demo a new video game, rent an electric bike and ride to a small stage to see Henry Winkler perform improv.
The OpenNotes team was excited for the opportunity to address such a diverse crowd. The topic of “health and med-tech” has been the fastest growing sub-track within the SXSW Interactive Festival over the last few years, and the session on transparency in healthcare, featuring OpenNotes, was a hit—getting “favorited” more than 500 times on the SXSW website. One of the reasons our session stood apart from others is that “opennotes” is not a thing you can buy or sell; OpenNotes is about culture change.
“I participated in many health sessions at SXSW and there were only two that talked about an approach to changing behaviors, as compared to companies talking about what they are innovating,” said Tod Johnson of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
At the end of the panel session, we were able to connect with a number of healthcare enthusiasts we wouldn’t normally run into at an academic conference, including some health-tech podcasters, journalists, policymakers, and professional associations.
We hope to be back in 2020. For now, check out this tweet from the American Hospital Association about our session. If you are looking for more details, check out the Graeme Thickins blog where he provides a great summary of the full session.