Saturday, December 7, 2013

#DOTMED13 Wrap Up

The truth is, I feel almost embarrassed about talking at medical conferences.  I feel bad for those who invite me to come and lecture, and pay my travel and expenses.  In reality, I think I get more out of these trips than anyone else.  Maybe I should be paying them? #DOTMED13 was no different. On the eve of my departure from Dublin, I find myself leaving with loads more than I came.  Let me first recap by talking about my fellow speakers.

@berci opened with his talk on medical futurism.  He, of course, wowed the crowds with examples of mind boggling technology.  What struck me, however, was between the the cracks of his technospeak was a fervent wish to enhance the experience of students and patients alike.  In his own measured and careful way, his passion clearly shone through. For various reasons, he describes himself as "in the process" of becoming a medical futurist.  Maybe the thing that keeps him in the present, is that age old wish to use one's talents to ease the suffering and solve the problems of others.  Sounds anything but futuristic to me.

@amcunningham followed with a discussion of the benefits of twitter.  Obviously, when talking of the other speakers, she was preaching to the crowd.  But what her lecture really showed me is how social media allows some of us to not only amplify our content but also our personalities into the ether.  In real life, Ann Marie is every bit as bubbly, sparkly, confrontational, and intelligent as her twitter feed would suggest.  This ability to digitize her essence means that people around the world benefit from her kindness and knowledge.  And they also consider her a friend.  I certainly do.

@alancorbett8 and Mahmood Mirza teamed up to talk about social media and the doctor in training.  Again, they didn't have to do much convincing from my view point.  In many ways, they represent the changing of the guard.  Us "old guys" who grew up in a world without twitter and blogging had to adapt.  This new generation has come of age already having acquired these skills natively.  Yet the changes they will face in the future will probably mirror ours.  No one really knows what disruption is lurking around the corner.  Interacting with these two at the conference, I had no doubt that their generation is smarter and more prepared than I was.

My one sadness of the conference was that @lucienengelen was prohibited by weather from coming.  Of course, we were able to conference him in.  His talk went nicely with @Berci's.  He stunned the crowd by using google glass technology to take a picture of the conference room.  I hope to meet him in person one day.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with @Doctor_V.  Brian talked of the emergence of the public physician.  What I loved about his talk was not only is he a world class speaker (in terms of style and technique) but he is truly a "thought leader".  He takes disparate and underdeveloped ideas that have been swirling around my head disjointedly, and pulls them together in a coherent and clean package.  I get the feeling that he is often a few blocks ahead of me in his thought process, yet he is always kind enough to wait for me to catch up.

@ArtsPractica is unique.  A non clinician by trade, she devotes her time to helping physicians deal with misdiagnosis and burn out by studying art work.  Her lecture had the crowd riveted for the full hour (which is no small feet since she was the second to last speaker).  And believe it or not, I think most of us were just getting started.  We wanted more.  None of this surprises me. Alexa, in real life, is much like her lecture.  As you get to know her, each layer pulled back reveals something even more interesting.  I feel lucky to have met her.

There are no words to describe Ed Gavagan's talk.  I suggest you look it up on YouTube or TedMed.  My description wouldn't do it justice.  What I can say is that he has a warm personality and a beautiful family.  And one more thing.  We tend to attribute his abilities and talents to the horrific and tragic events that befell him.  On the contrary, I suspect Ed was always super talented.  These events just happened to bring him to us.

In conclusion, I got so much from #DOTMED13.  While sometimes we spoke of different subjects: technology, social media, art, and story telling.  We all were trying to use our unique passions to bridge the gap with our fellow humans, to take better care of each other.

I can't think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon.

I have tons to say about @RonanTKavanagh and @muirishouston who hosted the event but I fear it would take to long.  I will have to save it for another blog post.

1 comment:

nkelley said...

Nice work. Good blog. Speak Japanese,too?