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Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference Features Health Care Innovators

Posted Nov 06 2009 10:00pm

I’ve been a bit less active on the reform front this week because I’m preparing for next week’s Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference,, which will of course have a large part of the program — a keynote and a panel — devoted to health care and the entrepreneurial responses to the broken system. I produce that conference every year as a fundraiser for the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, a nonprofit that helps domestic violence victims, released felons, and runaway teens explore entrepreneurial alternatives to dead end jobs.

In case you are interested in the Health 2.0 part of the conference:

Michelle Robson, one of the keynote general session speakers and co-founder of, began her business because when she was ill, she couldn’t get adequate health information regarding her own condition. After she figured things out, she decided to turn her life toward becoming an advocate for women’s health. She did (and still does) it personally, spending hours and hours in hospitals advocating for sick friends and friends-of-friends, who now say “call Michelle” when something happens to them that requires interface with the medical bureaucracy.

To broaden her reach, she decided to develop on online community for women’s health issues, and only a short time later she’s got over half a million women sharing stories, helping each other, and accessing the high quality content her staff travels the country to gather. Only the finest medical authorities are on her site.

Taking it further, she has launched a nationwide database of free community health events so women can get educated and take not only their own care, but that of their families, into their own more capable hands. EmpowHer is developing a sophisticated consumer of the system, no matter what happens in the reform debate.

In the Health Information Technology arena, Arizona is way ahead because of former Governor Napolitano’s initiative to digitize the state’s health records. Now called Arizona Health E-Connection, this organization brings together all the stakeholders in a unified electronic system to foster continuity of care. I asked Brad Tritle, AZHEC’s Executive Director, to put together a panel of entrepreneurs engaged in Arizona’s Health IT efforts, and he’s got a group of stars:

Oscar Diaz, Serial Entrepreneur and Currently:
Founder, EVP and Chief Software Architect

Kent Dicks, Serial Entrepreneur and Currently:
Chairman and CEO
Dr. Shahram (Shez) Partovi, Serial Entrepreneur and Currently:
Dr. William Yasnoff, Serial Entrepreneur/Consultant, and Currently:

Come on down on Thursday and listen to the innovate ways Arizona is dealing with the health system crisis on its own! Registration is here.

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