In 2012 I ran my first blog post on Health IT Bingo. It was a hit.
In 2014, in honor of a proximate HIMSS meeting, I updated the Bingo story, but I didn’t update the Bingo board. Little had changed between 2012 and 2014, including the buzzwords. Digital health was really not even being called that much yet. We were talking about (or making fun of) overused words like “big data,” “connected health,” and “Blue Button.” These are buzzwords that we hardly hear anymore. Maybe they became obscured by massive mountains of venture money. But more likely, they are just passé, replaced by new, improved, lemon-scented buzzwords. Here’s the old Bingo board:
What caused me to think about the Health IT Bingo of yore was the fact that I heard , for the second time in a week, a new buzzword that made me revisit my lunch from the opposite direction: Phygital. Phygital. Dear Lord, I can barely stand it. Phygital is, apparently, the integration of the physical and digital worlds. One might consider companies like One Medical or Cityblock Health to be, ahem, phygital. But that’s only if you don’t like those companies, because what kind of word is that? As I railed on Twitter, it is like the Bennifer of buzzwordy business models. I do like those companies, so I wouldn’t want to suggest they are doomed in the manner of Jen and Ben (if you are behind on popular culture, or so hip you don’t recall Jen and Ben, get thee to People Magazine of years’ past to find out for yourself).
In any event, the Twitter chorus that grew up around the Phygital tirade was pretty hilarious. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the silliness that was unleashed by my rant on this – my favorite thread off the original tweet was this one:
Iyah Romm, Geoff Clapp and I – and a handful of others – drove deep into the heart of buzzword land, rendering my productivity zero but definitely improving my day. It was suggested by Christine Lemke that someone should come up with bingo shot drinking cards and I, of course, decided to rise to the occasion (or perhaps it is sink to the silly depths of the occasion). I took a look at my old Bingo board and realized it was WOEFULLY out of date and that the vast majority of wince-worth y terms of yesteryear had not stood the test of time.
As a result, I have updated the card for your drinking game pleasure (and Christine – I challenge you to a game!). Not a single square has stayed the same. 10 years has brought a lot of change in the realm of digital health and now is the moment to really shine a light on the most important things that we may not care about in the future. So here goes:
Notably, some of the old terms are just not used at all anymore and some of the new terms are probably here for the entire lifetime ride. As to the latter, I’d put AI in that category. I was going to put other things on that Buzzword Hall of Fame list, but I realized that most were likely as transient as mHealth or Medical Home. Those were two words you could count on hearing on any given day in health IT venture land in 2014, but they are rarely spoken today, even in hushed tones.
Today you can’t swing a cat without hitting a “telemedicine” or “virtual primary care” company, or at least somebody talking about “hospital to home.” “Quantified Self” has been eclipsed by “wearables.” “ACO” has been largely replaced by, god help me, “payvider,” which is almost as nauseating as phygital. “Consumer engagement” has given way to “patient experience.” And damn near everything is a “Digital Therapeutic” (DTx), even if it’s not. And the one word that is used more often than all of the others combined? Platform. Everything is a platform. Webster’s Dictionary’s first definition of platform is “Plan, Design.” Uh, yeah, that’s a great definition, but most of the so-called platforms that I am seeing out there are the result of some combination of opportunism, fear of disintermediation/competition, and over-capitalization leading to acquisition. It may be a plan now, but I’m betting it didn’t start out that way!
Be that as it may, I can hardly wait to roll out this Bingo card at the first live conference I attend, although that may be in 2025. I haven’t worked on a pandemic Bingo card yet, but I am pretty sure the middle square is Zoombie.
Bottoms up, my Phygital friends – I know you’re real, but I currently see you only on screen. As Matthew Holt offered up, “Let’s get Phygital, Phygital…” It may be all we have right now, but at least it’s better than Digisical.