Innovation at SXSW V2V

This week I have the opportunity to attend the first extension of SXSW interactive outside of Austin. The event is called SXSW V2V and is happening in Las Vegas (yes, I have an obvious Vegas bias). Last night was the opening event and I was amazed at the depth of the interaction that occurred at the opening event. As I compare it to similar opening events at HIMSS it’s hard to even compare. At the HIMSS event it’s a struggle to engage people at the event. I usually do, because that’s who I am, but I was amazed how many people were willing and interested in engaging at SXSW V2V.

In one evening I had a chance to interact with a broad spectrum of people across the tech startup ecosystem. It was fascinating to see what various entrepreneurs are doing in 3D rendering, travel, bitcoin, and many other areas. I even enjoyed some time with Kyle Samani from Pristine. Kyle had his Google Glasses on and basically was able to start a conversation with anyone in the hall. I guess Google Glasses are a good investment if for nothing other than meeting new people at conferences.

I’m sure that many wonder what value I’ll get out of attending a tech event like SXSW V2V (Although, I do have a blog about Vegas Startup companies). No doubt there are very few people at the event working in healthcare specifically. Besides Kyle I also ran into my congressman who was an MD in a past life. So I did have a conversation with him about meaningful use (that post later). However, the lack of healthcare knowledge is exactly why I enjoy attending an event like this. There’s real value in getting outside of our healthcare box and seeing how we can apply technology or experiences from other industries to healthcare.

Take for example bitcoin. I expect that many in healthcare will wonder how a virtual currency will matter to healthcare. The obvious use is when people want to start paying your clinic in bitcoin. The less obvious application is using the processing power that “mines bitcoin” to solve some of medicine’s hardest problems. There are a lot of major healthcare problems that need a whole lot of computing power. The human genome was just the start. Bitcoin could be one way to access computing power well beyond the most powerful super computers in the world.

This is just a simple example of the power of learning things beyond the healthcare industry. I’m excited to see what other things I’ll learn over the next few days of the conference. Not that I don’t enjoy deep discussions about meaningful use and EHR certification. I love those too, but those deep discussions are often informed by learning about industries and technologies that aren’t in healthcare.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I’m wondering if Bitcoin is HIPAA compliant. I often have clients ask if they can pay their bill for psychotherapy online, and I have been considering several ways to do that – Bitcoin is getting active where I live, and I’m intrigued. Thanks!

    Martha Cravens, PhD
    Licensed Psychologist PSY24041

  • Dr. Cravens,
    I don’t think you’re asking the right question, but I think I understand what you’re trying to accomplish. I think I might reach out to some of my HIPAA expert friends on this one to get more data. I’ve been meaning to do a post on Bitcoin and psycotherapy could be a great use for it.

    The key question that has to be asked is whether any PHI will be stored on bitcoin if someone pays you through bitcoin. My gut tells me that there is probably no PHI stored on bitcoin and so you’re probably fine. My only concern is that I know there’s a log of every bitcoin transaction. So, I’m not sure how your name displays in that if you receive payment. Theoretically, someone could see that another person paid you and infer that they paid you for psychotherapy. Feels like a real long shot and there’s probably some other security mechanisms in place that protect you.

    Anyway, as you can see I’m thinking out loud here, but I’ll reach out to my HIPAA expert friends and my bitcoin expert friends and do a future post on the subject. Like you, I’m intrigued.

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