A Twinkling Metaphor for the Path Towards Health 2.0

In my ongoing stream of consciousness about art and medicine a new connection has worked its way to the surface. Medicine it seems, is in a state of flux, a state of change and evolution. The hubbub about this is alive in Twitter feeds and on many physicians’ blog sites. The dialog has been centered on the role of media in healthcare, of the use of the internet in patient care, the grooming of new medical students to be our future leaders. The path forward towards the grand new world of health 2.0 is a shifting one with moments of clarity and moments requiring innovation and faith all discussed hotly in the world of social media.

This flux is nicely brought to life in a work of art I recently enjoyed. The artist Charles Sandison produces digital installations of grand physical and philosophical scale. Moving, flowing, changing and in the case of his “Origin of Species”, evolving. This piece is made of points of light swirling around the walls and corners of a darkened room. The lights coalesce at times, into words and form – two words at a time –  the entire text of Darwin’s manuscript on evolution. As words meet each other they form the next words in an unscripted display that will take two years to be completed.

when the word man meets the word woman, the word child is produced; and when man or woman bumps into the word threat, the word dead replaces them ~ Ken Johnson

This seems a fine metaphor for our collective musings on the path forward for medicine. The lights in our heads form words that meet in the blogosphere to merge and change into the next iteration of ideas. This forward progress may take some time but – won’t it be great to watch? I would love to see what Sandison would come up with to display our collective efforts as we evolve.

Perhaps on the wall of lights that describe healthcare 2.0 in words two by two we would see that:

“social” and “media” will merge into “expected”

“empowered” and “patient” will merge into “reality”

“work” and “balance” will merge into “obvious”


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