DC Health Innovation Summit recap, next time in Cleveland?

There was a bit of a twitter flurry started by this tweet over the weekend.

It came about through a mashup of my experiences during DC Health Innovation Week – and I was only one of two people (the other is Ravi Poorsina – @ravipoorsina) who attended every single event. But before we get there, let me recap DC Health Innovation Summit. As the press release says:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — One of the government’s newest catalysts for innovation is co-host of an event bringing together health innovators for collaboration that aims to transform health care through knowledge sharing. The event will be held at a one-of-a-kind space devoted to discussions about health.

Leaders from the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Kaiser Permanente, Vangent, Inc. and 100 other national leaders in innovation will gather at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health on June 10 for the Health Care Innovation Summit.

Here are the photographs from the event, click to enlarge:

As you can see from the pictures, the event format was very open and I think well received by attendees. To this day I have not found a group of people, any group, that can’t operate this way…the thirst for engagement crosses ages and titles (see: If you’re worried that unconferences don’t work for all audiences, look at these photos )

There’s what was discussed, and then there’s who discussed them. I definitely felt and feel that there is an emerging community of people who are devoted, with real commitment of time and resource, to figure out ways to deliver health care more effectively, more affordably, and more in a tangible way patients and families can perceive – more time with the doctor, more information to make good decisions, more involvement in preventing illness and preventing errors. When you have the head of the CMS Innovation Center ( @CMSInnovates ) and the CEO/Co-Founder of MassiveHealth (@MassiveHealth) Sutha Kamal (@suthakamal) in the same room , you can go from medicare reimbursement to app platforms in 3 seconds flat. Add a little Chris McCarthy (@McCarthyChris) and Christi Zuber ( @czuber ), the thought leaders of the Innovation Learning Network (@healthcareILN), including but not limited to Lyle (“Dr. Lyle”) Berkowitz (@drlyle1), the ePatientDave (@epatientdave) and the icing just gets thicker and thicker.

I helped staff the event yet on reflection was able to be in several great breakouts, thanks to the law of two feet (love that law!). A funny moment, when Christine Kraft (@ChristineKraft) and Geeta Nayaar, MD (@gnayaar) were seeking each other out to discuss “Why doesn’t love have a billing code?” each thinking no one else wanted to discuss….and yet everyone wanted to discuss. The first step is legitimizing the question.

The Cleveland Connection

As I said above, because I was in every event last week, I was able to make connections between the content that impressed even me.

When I saw Jen Dyer, MD (@endogoddess) for the second time last week, it was after the summit and during the code-a-thon. In fact, here’s the photograph of the conversation.

2011 Health2Dev Code-a-Thon 2670

Jen lives in Columbus, Ohio. She’s a pediatric endocrinologist, innovating using communication technology (SMS, twitter) to support kids with diabetes. As I referred to in my post about the ‘a-thon, I tend to pick up the passion that’s around me, and Jen is working on apps/technologies to better connect kids to their condition managements/care teams. So I asked her to frame a situation in her clinical care that would benefit from big innovation, and we began talking about new diagnosis of diabetes in children. For non-clinicians, you should know that being diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes as a child is a big deal. It requires admission to the hospital, mostly for the purpose of getting everyone on the same page, intensive patient and family education, and then intensive follow-up after. As Jen told me, the hospital setting isn’t required for this teaching, it’s just where it’s done today, at enormous cost to the health care system – 5,000? 10,000? dollars per day? What would it be like if a passionate doctor-expert could create a new model that delivered all of the same goals – engagement with care, true understanding of the treatment plan, connection to other families and the care team, without the hospital. What could that $10,000 per day do? We could find out by going to Cleveland (she told me Cleveland is perfectly acceptable in her Columbus-ness). So that is the synopsis of my conversation with Jennifer.

There’s more. Another attendee at the Summit mentioned the tremendous amount of innovation happening in Cleveland, by institutions like The Cleveland Clinic (@clevelandclinic).

There’s more. Gail Sands, who’s currently at the Cave Institute and has a strong record of innovation as a former leader at Kaiser Permanente Ohio, sent me this video:

There’s more. I love the spirit of Cleveland and the people in health care there. I last visited Kaiser Permanente Ohio in 2009. Not enough people know how much innovation is happening there every day.

There’s more, but this time I’ll ask readers to post in the comments. If I was so honored to share the KP Innovation Journey at this event (slides being posted soon), I wonder if Jennifer Dyer might do the same as part of the innovative medical community in Ohio. I’d come to watch her.

All of this said, this is not my meeting and I don’t get to decide where to have it. I did hear at the end of the day that there should be another one in 4 months. That’s October. Discuss in the comments below, all of it.

Thanks to everyone at Vangent (@vangent_inc), CMS Innovation Center (@cmsinnovates) and Kaiser Permanente (@kpnewscenter) for a great get together for all.


As a Cleveland native, I can't help but love this idea. The Cleveland area has reorganized around hosting events/business dedicated to the future of health care, and has many well-educated yet unemployed workers who could help entrepreneurs staff up quickly. Combine these reasons, Ted's suggestions, and the great schools of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy within a 2 hour drive and you can see why Cleveland should not just host an innovation summit – but become an innovatipn hub!

I would be thrilled to help with the event in Cleveland. Between the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Metro Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University and its Case Connection zone it is known as a center of excellence for health innovations and healthcare. Come in the spring, when the city is blossoming. Cleveland will soon be known for its work in providing integrated healthcare with technology for underserved populations.

Ted, thank you for giving me an opportunity to promote Cleveland!

Ted et al – Being just down the road, we're naturally inclined to believe that Ohio is the right spot for this 🙂 and with Aman's suggestion to piggyback on the C3N, we're in! Not exactly sure what this means, but I'd be very happy to talk further – maybe conference call?

Hi Michael,

I am happy to talk to anyone – I am not convening the next meeting though or on that planning group, I think Aman is closer to that than I, I would make sure to check in with him,


Ted Eytan, MD