The beginning of Health 2.0

The term Web 2.0 has been around since 2003. The O’Reilly organization both coined the term and started the Web 2.0 Conference. Meanwhile over at The Health Care Blog and in his by now relatively long consulting career, Matthew Holt had been following technology in health care since the early 1990s. Some of his eHealth era reminisces were relatively poignant…

Indu Subaiya, a healthcare consultant and entrepreneur was similarly starting to follow Web 2.0 trends and their impact on health as she embarked on designing a prototype for a medical record-sharing website.

Towards the middle of 2006 several start-ups began targeting healthcare using Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, mash-ups, video, blogs, communities, and user-generated data. And to be fair Wondir which was sucked into the Revolution Health vortex started a now defunct blog called Health 2.0 in late 2005. In early November 2006 Matthew did a podcast with 3 Health 2.0 companies on THCB, and the community was beginning to emerge.

Two events crystallized this. First an article in Business 2.0 (part of CNNMoney these days) which was the first “mainstream” mention of Health 2.0 outside the blogs, and the December 2006 Healthcamp “unconference” in which several of us got talking about the topic. 

Indu and Matthew started kicking around the idea of a next steps on Health2.0 in January 2006 and after a few changes in team, partnerships and timing they created an advisory board, and talked about holding a conference. After discussions with a couple of original charter sponsors (thanks to Mike Haymaker at Cisco, and Daniel Palestrant at Sermo for taking the plunge) they committed to holding a conference on September 20, 2007 in San Francisco. That conference massively exceeded expectations, with nearly 500 attendees, and a hundred more on a wait list.

Today Health 2.0 has grown into a global movement of over 100,000+ entrepreneurs, developers, and healthcare stakeholders. At its core, it is a digital health media company, and in addition to its signature event in Santa Clara, has run conferences in Europe, Latin America, India, Japan and more. It has been at these events, that we’ve debuted hundreds of companies to the world, including Basis, Castlight Health and Practice Fusion. Our expansive grassroots network of chapters in 90+ cities worldwide continues to fuel our company mission and brings together all sectors of healthcare from around the world. Proud to be a diverse group, we are united by our belief that digital tools will empower and enable people to live healthier lives.