Dr. Karen DeSalvo Keynotes at Health 2.0

New Orleans’ health tech scene continues to grow and we saw that today at Health 2.0’s inaugural meeting at the BioInnovation Center. Health 2.0 New Orleans is affiliated with the national Health 2.0 organization headquartered in San Francisco. Despite its nascent scene, there were plenty of new talents, local physicians, and members of local health businesses present.

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Dr. Karen DeSalvo speaking at the inaugural Health 2.0 meeting in New Orleans.

The anticipated keynote speaker was Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Commissioner of Health in New Orleans and Professor of Medicine at Tulane School of Medicine. DeSalvo has been a leader in the health sector recovery and reform efforts since Hurricane Katrina, developing nationally award-winning models of neighborhood-based care for the low-income population in a city that previously had none.

“Data is so important. Innovation is critical,” said DeSalvo in front of a packed audience. DeSalvo spoke of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on producing opportunities to change the health sector. She spoke of the new Louisiana Healthcare Redesign Collaboration, which places an emphasis on primary care, preventive medicine, and neighborhood-based medical homes. These medical homes use electronic health records that are on an information exchange, providing a means for us to follow a patient as they move through the healthcare system in New Orleans. These efforts allow us to acquire and aggregate data from low-income individuals normally invisible to the system.

She further spoke about how Hurricane Katrina made us aware of the impact of losing track of all your patients data when paper information is lost (submerged and turn into bricks). When electronic health records are unavailable especially in times of emergency, we can’t locate those at immediate risk. We moreover realized the power of aggregated data during Hurricane Isaac when patient data obtained through Medicare could locate patients on ventilators when the electricity went down. This provided a means to distribute resources (i.e. electricity) to sites with immediate need.

Both examples showcased New Orleans as a laboratory for innovation and a city where Health 2.0 can have a large impact through data and public health initiatives.

We further checked out the companies that were demoing at the event. Here’s who they were:

  • True-See Systems – Improves the accuracy and reliability of pictures used for diagnostics, assessments, and treatment purposes.  It was started from the collaboration between an award winning cinematographer and certified wound care physician
  • GetHealthy – Online incentive platform to help people make long-term lifestyle decisions that improve health by leveraging social support, physician engagement, and medical education.
  • restech – Offers solutions to issues in information security, connectivity, storage and enterprise system areas to small and medium sized businesses