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Last week, I was out in San Francisco and attended a reception for the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco put together by Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya, MD. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay for the entire conference on Thursday, but I did talk to many of the folks who were presenting the next day.

I heard about a lot of fascinating projects and technologies that are making quite a buzz -- some involving social networking tools and some involving powerful new search engine capabilities.

But one thing kept nagging at me as I mingled with the crowd -- how is this going to impact people?

The power of social networking tools is that they give power back to people. Technology is all well and good, but for this to really take off, it will have to provide patients, caregivers or any individual with the ability to take charge of their own health care needs.

It sounds like this was a point that was raised at the event, as Fard Johnmar captured nicely in a post on the subject on Thursday:

Health is an emotional, highly charged and confusing issue for many. Technology can provide great comfort and increase efficiency, but we must remember that it’s about people first, technology second.

It's an important point, and one also raised some time ago by John Grohol in a discussion of the Health 2.0 movement.

Wish I could have been there for the entire event. Luckily my colleague Rob Halper was in attendence and I think he may blog his thoughts about this when he has a chance.

In the meantime, Matthew provided an analysis of how the day went and has links to other coverage of the event on his blog, The Health Care Blog.

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