This year the Healthcare Business Association was able to stream the 2012 TEDMED conference live at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. It was a great alternative to attending the conference in person and there were several exciting topics related to empowering patients with technology. While I was only able to catch a few sessions in-between classes and group meetings, the blogosphere was alive with commentary and interesting tidbits.
TEDMED is the healthcare branch of the TED organization (Technology, Entertainment, Design) which is “passionate about imagining the future of health and medicine.” The best description of TEDMED content comes from their website:
TEDMED is the only place where a Nobel Prize winning neurobiologist has a conversation with a four-star general… where an opera singer (with a double lung transplant) chats with a NASA space physician… and where a ballet dancer talks to an exoskeleton designer.
The piece that is relevant here is that the TEDMED audience (more than 1,700 people) voted via smartphone apps to prioritize the 50 “Great Challenges” in health and medicine. The winner was “inventing wellness programs that work.” While there were solutions to this challenge that were not ICT related, others have a direct connection to empowering patients with information and technology’s role in managing that information.
E. Schwartz, an innovation blogger, highlighted the talk by Leslie Saxon of the USC Center for Body Computing, who unveiled everyheartbeat.org, an ambitious plan to get 8 billion heartbeats online via a simple diagnostic device that links to smart phones and continually takes your pulse and scans your heart for irregularities. These exciting innovations in the world of ICT and healthcare will do much to put knowledge into the hands of patients so, for example, they can continuously monitor their vital signs and be empowered with data about their cardiovascular health.
Here is a video of a TEDMED talk from 2011 about powered, wearable robots (this year’s talks aren’t posted yet). Not necessarily related to communication technology—but definitely cool and very empowering!