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Esther Dyson at Princeton on the Quicken Model for Health Care

Esther Dyson, writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and first lady of the digerati, visited our area last week to speak to the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

You may recall Dyson from her Release 1.0 newsletter (and subsequent updates as a book, column, and weblog), her work as the founding chairman of ICANN democratizing the naming structure for the Internet, or her venture investments through her company, EDventure Holdings.

More recently, Dyson has focused on aviation and space, and health care. She recently completed six months of training in Russia as a backup cosmonaut for the Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (she's an investor in Space Adventures).

At her Princeton talk, Dyson had just returned from a whirlwind trip to Russia, so she gave an informal travelogue of her trip, including the session at the Civil Society Summit with President Obama during his visit to Moscow with Russian President Medvedev.

In the big picture of health care, Dyson looks to the Internet to help open people's access to information, especially their own personal medical records. Imagine that -- transparency in both treatment and billing could allow people to understand what's going on and perhaps make better choices.

But do you really want a massive centralized medical database, with instant electronic access to all your records from any doctor, or hospital, or insurer -- or hacker?

So Dyson takes a different approach, the Quicken model for home finances -- standard electronic interfaces to your data, stored by different organizations, and only aggregated by you on your personal computer. Each organization can still be electronic and efficient, but the full history of your medical life is still distributed among multiple organizations, so there's still hope to retain some personal privacy.

For more Esther Dyson at Princeton (articles and video):

- Trenton Times article

- Princeton Comment blog by Barbara Fox

- My Health Experience blog by Dan Kogan

Dan Kogan of Health World Web has also has posted videos of Dyson's presentation. (Dyson is an advisor to this social networking site, which helps people find doctors and other medical information based on the experiences of others who have been in similar situations.)

Esther Dyson at Princeton on YouTube:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Q&A 1 - Q&A 2

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