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October 1, 2015

EmpathyX – My MedXHangover Elixer

Posted on October 02, 2015 by Amos Adler

Keywords: #MedXHangover #EmpathyX #MedXorcism, #ActionX

So I’m currently suffering from what’s known as #MedXHangover. Its real, I assure you. Fortunately I don’t have #SyndromeX, a condition associated with attending uncomfortable doctor-patient simulations to simulate uncomfortable doctor-patient interactions.

I was struck by MedX. It was my first time and I’m still trying to gather myself from the experience. I might need a #MedXorcism. Yeah, I went there. This was definitely the most intense conference I’ve attended and I’ve been to my fair share. I’ve had some great conference experiences but not one that had the laser focused intensity that Stanford MedicineX provided.

Why is MedX different/ intense/ awesome? The people. The energy of the people, the positivity of the people, the willingness to share and explore and the kindred spirit of the people. I felt genuinely curious the whole time, and that curiosity signaled passion and creativity for me. This all led me to the ultimate take-away from MedX, which was, lets call it: #EmpathyX.  There aren’t a lot of conferences where they provide tissues because of the emotional intensity of the event; I can assure you they were necessary. Intense is not necessarily the right word for it; there is joy, sadness, anxiety, curiosity and a shared emotion/experience from meeting people and hearing about their battles, challenges and ideas. For me there were many kindred-spirits, but there was also growth from the learning, having my ideas challenged and challenging those of others. It was both draining and deeply satisfying.

#ActionX: The quality of the event, the calibre of the discussions and the overall sense that this was an action oriented crowd. This wasn’t a ‘take notes and business-as-usual’ crowd. I’ve always struggled with the loss of mojo that happens when people fly back from a conference and get back to the grind. To say ‘disruptive’ would be to diminish the level of change this group brings. The highlights were not just the people, but the measurable change/results that I was seeing and experiencing. This is not a conference where you can hide. You will learn. You will do. You can’t not. You know too much now.

One thing that stood out for me in a very actionable way was #empathyhacking with Roni Zeiger from Smartpatients.com. The #1day empathy kit process showed the tangibility of empathy and how to experience someone’s personal battle with disease. The results that came out of the workshop have already changed how I listen, lead, and design. I will report back on my progress with this in another blog post.

#EmpathyX: Other specific highlights included the expertly guided SyndromeX simulation/guided workshop, to understand and ultimately work-through the complex doctor patient interaction. It truly captured how complex and potentially incendiary that relationship is; the complexity of where protocol meets emotion. I’ve attached some highlights from the whiteboard.

Whiteboard 1Whiteboard 2

The speakers, panels, and workshops were extraordinary. The talks were hard hitting, intense and more often than not, raw. This event pushed my boundaries and helped me get comfortable with the sometimes uncomfortable. This is healthcare, its uncomfortable and unnerving and hopeful and dismal, all at the same time. Its like a broken vase. Maybe it needs to be pasted back together? Maybe it needs to be pulverized and reformed into something else? I’m not sure but healthcare needs to heal and Stanford MedX is doing its part.

Mostly, the intensity came from the attendees; the level of discourse, the challenging ideas and the interplay of healthcare providers, patients, technologists and academics. My personal journey was unforgettable. I got to finally use the line cat pics + health data = behavior change. It was hard to not feel nervous, my ideas and data were both accepted and challenged but came out stronger because of it. People speak of the intersection of healthcare, technology and behavior change. I work on behavior change for the un-engaged. My job is to empathize with where the disengaged, disenfranchised might be. How do I help them fight a battle they may not be up to? This is tricky. I am learning to listen more and be ok with uncomfortable truths and pain. That’s how I think I can help.

#MedX was 3 days of  discourse, ideation, challenge, and emotion. This is not a head-nodding yes-fest. Your ideas will be challenged and you will be encouraged, no required, to challenge ideas and data. You can’t hide behind jargon or pedigree or even pain. All the stakeholders seemed to have a voice at MedX.  It is a destruction and reconstruction of ideas and a place where relationships are forged.  Its an addictive experience with all the ingredients for an intense emotional, intellectual and sensory journey. The #MedXHangover is real and the only cure is to keep the spirit of MedX coursing through your veins until the next one.

 

AMOS ADLER M.Sc.
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

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Amos brings speech, mobile and social technologies together to create mobile (mHealth) and telehealth patient adherence programs. Since 2008, Amos has led the design and deployment of dozens of digital patient adherence and behavior change programs globally while advocating for evidence-based approaches to technology-based behavior change. With a background in user oriented design methodologies, user-requirements elicitation, finance and enterprise scale technology deployment, Amos focuses on solutions solving real-world business requirements with patient centered designs while understanding the challenges of change management in clinical settings.

Prior to founding MEMOTEXT, Amos held multiple technology and finance related positions within the Bell Canada Holdings family of companies as well as a background in social and private real estate development. Amos holds a M.Sc. in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems from The London School of Economics in London England, graduating with distinction was highlighted by his work within the launch of the world’s first independent exchange for international wholesale telecom capacity.

Amos speaks regularly at events such as: mHealth, Stanford Medicine X, Health Datapalooza, Genentech FutureMed2.0 and guest lectures at the Univ. of Toronto.