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Health 2.0: Meet the 'Unacceptables' of healthcare

Eight years ago, Eliza CEO Alex Drane came up with the idea for “The Unmentionables,” an annual panel at Health 2.0 where participants would address difficult but important topics in healthcare.

“Her bullet point was that there are things that drive health outcomes that we don’t mention,” Health 2.0 CEO Indu Subaiya said. “She started with topics like alcoholism, issues around caregiving burden, other addictions, having a really stressful workplace situation, having financial burdens. She was saying how these were the ‘Unmentionables’ of healthcare because they have a big effect on healthcare but we don’t talk about it. That’s how the panel started a number of years ago.”

Last year the panel was renamed “The Unacceptables,” in recognition of the fact that the industry has gotten more open about talking about problems — but the problems persist.

For this year’s panel, Subaiya said, “the lineup kind of wrote itself.”

“We had to talk about the opioid crisis,” she said. “And what I was motivated by on this topic is we hear over and over again ‘Well we need more data on the opioid crisis.’ Is that really the issue? What’s really at the heart of it and how can we get there from a more authentic starting point?”

HHS Chief Data Officer Mona Siddiqui and Dr. Este Geraghty, chief medical officer and health solutions director at Esri, will be speaking on that topic.

“The second segment is on physician burnout and physician suicide,” Subaiya said. “Forty-five percent of physicians are reporting some level of burnout. And that’s a huge percent up from the last four years. It’s a problem. So we have a documentary filmmaker [Robyn Simon] who’s made a documentary called ‘Do No Harm’ on the burnout crisis, and then we have an actual program called Meru [represented by VP Emily Hine], a platform/software piece that can help screen for provider burnout to prevent suicide.”

Finally, the last two topics will be eating disorders and emergency response in natural disasters.

The panel not only shines a light on all these topics, but also brings entrepreneurs on stage who are taking a stab at solving the problems.

“When you give a mainstage spotlight to a topic, you inform industry prioritization,” Subaiya said. “So at Health 2.0 over the years, we’ve noticed — and it’s not just because we program something — but if we give leaders the chance to speak passionately about things no one else is talking about, you almost generate a shift in attention. And we couldn’t possibly take credit for stuff that then happens downstream, but we know this does happen.”

That “stuff” includes projects, partnerships, and studies that have come into being after the conference, Subaiya said.

“I think we do our job by showing more of the concrete side of the solution and shifting the lens, and then hopefully people form partnerships outside the walls of the conference,” she said. “That’s where the conference ends, and then it’s up to the community.”

The Unaccpetables panel will take the stage at 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 18.

Twitter: @JonahComstock
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