Monthly Archives: September 2007

Free to Travel? Not Anymore

I know you are all busy and you don’t have time to follow everything that goes on in Washington, but did you know that the Transportation Security Administration held a public hearing in Washington, DC last week on the TSA’s so-called Secure Flight scheme to require government-issued travel credentials and individualized, explicit, prior permission for all domestic airline travelers within the U.S., and to subject us to government-compelled search and interrogation by private commercial third parties whenever we fly.

To me, this seems to violate a basic freedom Americans have always had — the freedom to fly around America. Sure we have always had to get passports to travel abroad, but I’m wondering whether Homeland Security really needs to make our domestic travel even harder than it already is.

When I go to California now, which I do about once a month, I have to get to the airport two hours in advance, take my liquids and put them in a freezer bag, throw away anything larger than three ounces, take my shoes off, take my laptop out of my bag, wait in a long line to get through security, and then stand in a little holding pen for five or ten minutes until a “female assist” is free so she can wand me and pat me down because I have had a hip replacement. The fact that I have a card from my physician in my wallet that tells the world where the metal part is inside my body makes absolutely no difference.

So travelling has become a pain, rather than a pleasure. And for those of us who travel for business, which is most of the working world, it is a pain that has to be endured repeatedly.

But the worst part, in the words of a Washington Post article, is that “the U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as long as 15 years, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to assess the security threat posed by all travelers entering the country.”

So you might want to choose what reading materials you take with you carefully the next time you travel. You also might want to follow the blog at to find out how to exempt your own records from this new law that’s moving forward.

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Of Course Ahmedinijad Should Speak at Columbia

There. If you disagree with me, you need read no further. That’s my view. ( Full disclosure, I attended Columbia for my M.A. in the times when there really WERE riots.) If you want to cut me some slack, read on and I will try to explain why I thought so.

The higher education system in America has always been the place where unpopular views are presented. In the opinion of many, American higher education is even more “liberal” (I’m not even sure what this means anymore) than American news media. Moreover, the history of the university is one in which students come together to discuss ideas and meet new ones. Some of the world’s most controversial philosophical positions have been discussed at universities: the randomness of the universe, the relativity of ethics, the theory of evolution, even whether Pluto should still be a planet.

Thus, it is almost a given that Ahmedinijad should be allowed to speak. Especially if students can ask him questions. He needs to have his views out in the open, where our people and our news media can talk to him, learn what he really thinks first hand, and how he justifies some of the positions we have attributed to him.

I know he is a Holocaust denier. I know his own people don’t even like him. In no way am I an apologist for him. Indeed, he’s probably an embarrassment to the Iranian people in much the same way President Bush is often an embarrassment to Americans.

But if we deny him a safe place to speak, we are no better than any other extremist group. He knows how we feel about him. The world knows how we feel about him. Let’s just see how he handles it.


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@hardaway @bizgirl @rocmanusa

Anyone who says the Internet is alienating or discourages socialization just does not understand how it works. Here I am with three friends (@scobleizer took this) I never would have met without social media.

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Looking into the Future

At the end of an entire day of Health 2.0, a panel of experts looked ahead based on what they had heard. They spoke from several perspectives.

Providers know that the incentives are wrong. Health insurance pays only for discrete units of care right now, not for longitudinal outcomes. And in fact, it pays better for crises than for prevention. The physicians on the panel know very well that a change is needed, but they aren’t going to change until the reimbursement changes. Most providers have reimbursement as their business model.

Doctors would love to contribute to clinical decision support for patients: help them figure out where am I, where am I going, and what will it cost me?

Lee Shapiro, Allscripts: Allscripts was health BC (before connectivity). Their models isn’t superseded yet. Electronic health records are now used only as a subsititute for paper charts. But the transformation only comes through connectivity. What we are now seeing is the ability in which individuals, patients, practitioners are becoming connected to share information. Must have connectivity at the beginning of the process where the patients are being seen so the data can be generated.

Health search is generating $1b in revenue already, and that’s without connected electronic health records. So there’s a great incentive for Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google to solve this problem. What happens when interconnected health information and records are the new context? Innovation flourishes when context is in place. We are at the brink of the change in context.

Jay Silverstein: Revolution Health. Lots of imagination and creativity going into building community. The power of community replaces the randomness of health. Community can lead to accuracy of diagnosis and uniformity of practice patterns. Right now, outcomes differ greatly depending on who the doctor is and what the location is. What about Eastern medicine, what about diabetics in waiting, what about the half-sick?

Esther Dyson: There’s still a solid rock of calcified matter surrounding health care. What we have heard today is sniffing around the edges, but not really connected. We need to get to something like the mobile phone, which didn’t replace the landline, but supplanted it. But in health care, some of the problems need to be fixed by collective action: paying for wellness, rather than for service, and measuring what is saved, rather than what is spent. We also have to let the data flow, and that’s a matter of standards, micro-formats, and other tech terms.

And then we struggle with the BIGGEST hairball: how do we get people to change behavior? Web 2.0 lets us measure behavior, which could lead to change. Someone suggested a FICO score for your health, in which you get paid for a higher score. And if your doctor doesn’t help you get your score up, you change doctors.
The early version of that is RealAge.

Consumers: stand up and demand your data. Demand the ability to communicate around that data with your trusted advisors — physicians, pharmacists, and friends.

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Social Media for Patients

The panel on Social Media for Patients at Health 2.0 is awesome. There are already many good Web2.0 resources out there for patients.

Diabetes Mine is an advocacy blog for people with diabetes.

Sophia’s Garden is a healing community for parents with chronically ill children, and is a virtual community for parents of children with serious illnesses. When their daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness, the founders developed the tools to collaborate and communicate with their friends, helpers, and medical team. Because there no tools, they developed HECO, a virtual world that functions just like the real world, in which families can collaborate across time and space. HECO gives families a survival kit and every family helps build it.

Each member of the community has an avatar, and can navigate his needs in a secure environment. The community collaborates through voice chat, VOIP.

Daily Strength is a comprehensive patient site with 600 interactive patient communities talking about specific conditions. Most were created from personal need, such as support with betreavement, bed rest, etc. Although it was created as an anonymouse community,
many people just come on and share their truth. Community site for caregivers and patients. Has alliances with large partners in heart and lung disease.partnerships with large providers. Its founders have discovered it is possible to join multiple groups within a larger umbrella providing support for people who may have more than one condition.

PatientsLikeMe provides simple tools to track relevant disease information, outcomes, and treatments in the ALS, Parkinson’s and MS communities. It was started by two guys whose brother has ALS, and gives very detailed information about his condition
Patients can Gantt chart all the treatments and interventions they are trying to manage their disease, including prayer! This is teaching patients some real cause and effect about the long term progression of a disease.
Patients make treatment decisions based on this information. Patients can click on a drug and find out what other patients are experiencing and bring that information to their own physicians.

Organized Wisdom promises to go back to the days when people surfed the web and used human curators. It has 50 guys curating the web to produce spam free search for users. Actually, it’s like a vertical Mahalo. They look at Daily Strength’s message boards and YouTube to get their information and believe that people are the best algorithm for finding the best content on the web. Every link is reviewed by a physician, who provides you with the best user groups and chatrooms.
Users can create links

MedHelp actually gets specialists to participate in its communities. But all its communities are also patient communities, which gives them a leg up on trading information.


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Vertical Search in Health Care

There are at least six companies here at Health 2.0 that are trying to improve the way consumers search for medical information. They want to create more relevant search than Google or Yahoo, and thus take market share from them. The companies on the panel compared their offerings for one search on the term diabetes, and showed how their technologies differed from the ones used by the bigger players.

In the room, the participants are taking a survey on whether any of the following companies can dislodge the majors. The survey came out that there was a less than 50/50 chance Yahoo and Google would be dislodged any time soon, but here are some useful sites if you are looking for better, more specific information.

Healthline-focussed on blending the art and science of medicine with technology. So asks for symptoms.
Praxeon –evidence-based answers
Healia- a personalized search engine
Kosmix-insures the quality of the search results and shows you what might be spam or scam. Identifies trusted results in several different verticals
Medstory-extracts useful information that is then used to drill down further into the web to find other and better resources.

Social networks are evolving, so they will also play a role in how consumers find health information from each other. I’m working with a company, still in stealth mode, that will help women make better health care decisions using the tools of social networks. Right now, its blog is launched, but just wait!


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Social Media and the Customer

Blogs, Tubes, Twitters, and More

From: darmano, 5 months ago

Emerging Media’s Impact on the Customer Experience

Link: SlideShare Link

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Iraq Forever

I am spending a quiet afternoon watching Alive Day Memories, a documentary about the wounded in Iraq that I didn’t get a chance to see when HBO originally aired it a week or two ago. It has been a truly shocking hour for me.

It’s the story of ten people who came home from Iraq physically and emotionally destroyed, though still technically alive. One is blind, several have post-traumatic stress disorder to the point where they can”t remember the names of their own children and wake up from dreams where they bit someone’s throat out. Many have no legs., and one woman has no right arm and shoulder. With the exception of one guy who is 41, the rest are in their early twenties. They will live most of their lives with their infirmities and their memories. There haven’t been this many wounded soldiers returning from a war since the Civil War. We have saved their lives, but what will their lives be like???

James Gandolfini interviews these people and shares their stories. As impactful as any of their individual tales are the shots of him, sitting patiently waiting while they cry or struggle with words, embracing them at the end of the interview, introducing himself as “Jim.” I get the feeling this was incredibly difficult for him, a middle-aged man with all his limbs and faculties intact looking at all these young lives upended by violence.

The kids, and most of them are little more than kids, seem to have developed an enormous sense of responsibility to and for each other, and a tremendous love for the country that sent them to war. They all feel that they were, in a way, reborn on the day they got hit: it is called their “Alive Day” — the day they realized they didn’t get killed.

Gandolfini leads the blind veteran offstage. We watch the injured pledging allegiance to the flag. The war goes into its fifth year. Bush goes on doing whatever he wants. Congress goes on doing nothing. And I wonder how the voters feel about staying in Iraq forever.


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Pownce and Twitter for Business

After last night’s Social Media Club meeting, a reporter asked me how Pownce and Twitter could be used for business. One of the attendees, Bill Swartz, thought they would eventually become enterprise services.

Here’s what I came up with. Please help me expand my perspective.

Pownce is a great way to publicize events, and also to send large files to customers and business associates. Tools like these grew from larger trends like outsourcing, free agency, and collaboration.

Let’s assume you are a German engineer designing a bridge in China. You are working with, perhaps, a German team, an American team of financiers, and the Chinese government. Use Pownce to send the drawings or link to where they are posted on the web in a private space. Also use Pownce to post events and get people to attend. You can limit your “friends” to members of your team, and make your posts completely private.

Pownce is an excellent business tool. Twitter is less so, because you can’t send files through it, and it doesn’t have a way to announce events.But if you are at a conference, and you want to meet someone there, you can tweet: “meet me in the hallway outside the meeting and lets talk about the deal.”

Both Pownce and Twitter are good for inter-office and cross-team communication. In business now, many people who work on project are not seated in the same room, same country, or even same time zone. They need every communication tool they can get, and Pownce is excellent for distributed teams like that. So is Twitter. As communication tools, they communicate to revenue indirectly by facilitating communication.

There’s a great post about Pownce on Mashable.

Comments? Elaborations? Help.


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People Who Say it Better Than I Do

Every once in a while I wrestle with the concepts involved in social media and Web 2.0. But I’m a lightweight in this field — meaning I’m a user of these tools, and not a creator of them — so I like to rely on the people who know more than I do.

As a result, I am addicted to Robert Scoble’s link blog,which always leads me in the right direction.

Today, Read/Write Web’s Alex Iskold on the Social Graph, a current term for the common concept of Six Degrees of Separation and how this is represented by social media applications.

And Brian Solis on Facebook as a place to build a personal brand.

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