At SXSW, Microsoft threw the biggest party and the entry ticket let you try out an array of cyber-experiments, including a Kinect-powered robot-boxing clash. For added kicks, there was even old-school Austin ladies' roller derby.
At the more sedate campus, where healthcare tech was being scrutinized, Golinkoff talked of Aetna's mission to "use information to try to help what the physician and patient are trying to accomplish be more likely to happen."
He echoed familiar payer themes such as making patients more active participants in their healthcare, and demanding both better quality and lower costs. The consumer tech industry is responding with a flurry of health-related apps.
Other apps are embracing healthcare uses. As many health plan deductibles top $1,000, consumers are turning to non-traditional resources such as Yelp, which sent a vice president to SXSW to defend its use to rate doctors.
No one here seemed to be able to predict exactly what tipping point will totally disrupt the current healthcare system, but strikingly, some were betting on some viral smartphone app like iTriage—a symptom tracker that rates healthcare facilities on their treatment records—having a bigger impact than any federal mandates or industry standards.