We (Laney Landsman and Alex Peterson) are headed to Austin, Texas today, to join the hundreds of thousands of professionals experiencing firsthand how digital and social innovation impacts every corner of business and industry at SXSW Interactive. It isn’t every day that healthcare folks get to dive deep into groundbreaking science, get up close and personal with cutting-edge technology innovation and be part of the ‘new and the next’ in social media.

So what to we hope to see, touch, taste, hear, feel and (most importantly) learn in sunny Austin? We know the international Startup Village, Mophie St. Bernards, the Millennial-focused SXgood and Meerkat are going to be hot topics. That said, we want to understand how the application of new technologies and platforms will impact tomorrow’s patient and shape the healthcare landscape.

  1. Partnership for the Digital Age: Thinking beyond the celebrity spokesperson and looking toward brand and content partnerships. It is all about finding synergies…does it make sense to partner with a company like Spotify to deliver messages to our audience because it is customizable? What about partnerships with wearable tech? And, what are the regulatory implications of some of these “non-traditional” partnerships? You can find us learning about this topic at How Is Big Pharma Interacting with Tech Startups and Bioart: Melding Biotech and Art.
  2. Convergence: Convergence has become sort of a buzzword for the year, but it seems like everyone has a different definition. Is it about cross-platform engagement? Is it about channel agnostic communications? Is it about, in the most basic way, how technology has become not an extension of our lives but the crossroads for likeminds to gather? We think it’s a bit of everything, but want to understand what the implications are for health companies and the patient/physician dynamic. How we can maximize investment by building thoughtful campaigns that stand out against a backdrop of “always on” communication? And how do we ensure that patient data privacy remains intact? We’ll be checking out Machines That Tell Stories and Digital Shift: Tomorrow’s Relationship and Ideals to help answer these questions and more.
  3. Patient Engagement: We see this bucket as having two distinct tracks: patient engagement with content and patient engagement with brand. Everyone knows that listening to our audience is essential to creating relationships and lastingAs a result, how do we help clients develop content that encourages interaction, and also drive authentic and ongoing dialogue stemming from active educational efforts? From best practices of design to engagement-driving language, from the newest listening techniques to the evolution of social engagement protocols, this is a rapidly changing space. There are many sessions that cover aspects of this topic: Love Letters: Building Brand and Community and Behind the GIF: The Future of Online Visual Culture are two that especially pique our interest.

Learning is our primary focus. We’ll also find time to experience the purely fun side of SXSW. Laney has always wanted a pet, but living in high-rise apartments makes potty training difficult and leaves her husband skeptical. So she will be dragging Alex to Robot Petting Zoo to find a new pet that won’t destroy her couch or at least a robot who might be able to clean it. Alex is a huge foodie and is VERY excited about the good eats to be found in The Lone Star State. She’ll be dragging a very willing Laney to gorge on Big Data and Brisket at the GE R&D lab, because who doesn’t want to see technology “through the lens of Texas food culture?”

Finally, since we are two health nuts, we will be sweating out all that BBQ by participating in Visa & Under Armour’s Connected Fitness Day. We will be using MapMyRun for our morning fitness routine, learning about the GPS Jacket and more.

You can follow our adventures on Twitter and Instagram @lanes0220 and @alexinbrooklyn, and join our conversation using #MakSXSW.

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