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e-health conference organizers go for the gold


e-health conference organizers go for the goldYou know you're in the middle of a trend when every batch of mail (e- and otherwise) bears at least one bid to attend a conference on that very topic. That said, this year would appear to be

e-health conference organizers go for the gold

You know you're in the middle of a trend when every batch of mail (e- and otherwise) bears at least one bid to attend a conference on that very topic. That said, this year would appear to be the year of Internet strategizing. It is also the year of e-health, and HIPAA, and B2B, and ASPs, and patient and provider empowerment.

Here is a sampling of the dozens of conferences and seminars and summits we (and likely you) have been invited to attend in recent months:

  • eHealthcare World

  • eHealthcare Strategies

  • Investing in eHealthcare 2000

  • e-health and Electronic Health Records

  • Strategy for Health IT and ehealth Vendors

  • eHealth: B2B Commerce & Connectivity

  • International Health PKI Conference

  • First Annual Tahoe Summit on Healthcare Internet Connectivity

  • The First National HIPAA Summit

  • The eHealth Colloquium

Some of these, of course, are annual events that are merely evolving to meet the changing needs of their constituencies and the marketplace. Look at HIMSS getting involved in telehealth, the AMA promoting online physician certification, and the RSNA's ongoing commitment to IHE. But most of these conferences appear to be designed primarily to ride what the organizers see as a wave of financial opportunity (and in increasingly exotic locations, no less).

I understand that's how business works. You see a hot market or product, and why not jump on the bandwagon, get a piece of the proverbial pie? That's what all the dot-coms did once the stock market had been primed by the likes of Healtheon/WebMD.

But how much stock should you put in an organization or company that claims to be the authority on new business strategies and economic models but doesn't appear to recognize when their intended market has already become all but saturated (albeit in Internet time)?

The healthcare industry is in the midst of an amazing educational and informational frenzy. Everyone wants to know how to use the Internet and make money off of it, and they want to make sure they figure this out before their competitors do. In terms of economics, it is the modern-day equivalent of the Industrial Revolution, and I think we will all look back in a few years and shake our heads at the things we do not know now, at all that we thought it might be.

But for the time being, we are merely trying to understand how it works, what it means, where we are going, and how it will all play out. And so we go to these meetings and conferences, do our own bit of strategizing to figure out which ones will yield the best information, and hope our competitors have chosen this time not to attend.

Thank goodness for press passes.

Comments/questions: kkincade@cmp.com

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