IDC's European ICT Forum 2007 to Feature Industry-Specific Tracks, Including Health 2.0: Converged IT for the New Healthcare Paradigm

IDC and Industry Insights present an impressive array of industry-focused research tracks at the European ICT Forum 2007 to be held September 10 and 11, 2007, at the Maritim Hotel in Berlin. One of the featured tracks at the forum will be the health 2.0 topic, which will focus on converged IT for the new healthcare paradigm.

A long-term shift is underway in the healthcare sector to transform service delivery from a model centered on acute symptoms, where doctors are in control, little attention is dedicated to prevention, and patients' clinical data is scattered throughout hospital paper archives, to a patient-centric model where prevention and wellness are part of patients' everyday lives at home and patients act as gatekeepers to national consolidated electronic health records.

Information and communication technologies, such as electronic medical records, digital medical imaging/PACS (picture archiving and communication systems), and telemedicine systems will contribute to the transformation.

"The development of a healthcare service based on patient centrality in a network of providers is increasing the information dependency of the healthcare sector, and such a model requires access to, and availability of, patients' health information from any place, at any time for the development of an information-based medicine model based on complete data and sound analytics", said Massimiliano Claps, research director for Health Industry Insights, an IDC company. Claps will cover the health 2.0 topic, focusing on converged IT for the new healthcare paradigm.

But while everyone is busy talking about that new healthcare delivery paradigm, a potentially more disruptive scenario is appearing on the horizon. What will happen when "Generation-Y" comes of age to consume healthcare services autonomously from their families?

Generation-Y is generally understood to include people born after 1980. This is the generation that masters Web 2.0 and turns it into social computing, by redefining collective values, such as trust, authority, reputation, self-regulation, and control. "Gen-Yers" trust the information they can gather from and share with like-minded individuals in virtual communities and easily handle the tools to do so.

Generation-Y will also be very demanding in terms of healthcare services. They will either have raised self-consciousness about wellness, or unhealthy conditions such as early-age obesity and related consequences such as diabetes, thus they will need information to enable them to remain healthy. If we combine these two factors - the Web 2.0 generation and the need to lead healthier lifestyles - and add the fact that average levels of education are increasing, we can see it coming: Generation-Y could bring about the first big wave of consumerization and democratization of healthcare. Gen-Yers will share health-related information through blogs, wikis, and podcasts, while maintaining individual identity secrecy when sharing sensitive data.

"Healthcare administrators and clinicians will have their hands full in the next five to 10 years to smoothly manage the transition from hospital-based acute care towards disease management, community care, and home care. But they will have to start to look for a new wave of change beyond that, otherwise Gen-Yers will hit them hard", said Claps. "Once more, chronic diseases will be a fundamental starting point, as doctors take a proactive role and use Web 2.0 tools to interact with associations that group together people with diabetes, respiratory diseases, or long-term disabilities."

Claps chairs a session on health 2.0 on Monday, September 10, at IDC's European ICT Forum 2007. Other special interest tracks include "Banking 2.0: Changing Customer Experience in an Integrated Multichannel Environment" and "Energy 2.0 and the Next Green Revolution."

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