Live Online G+ Hangout: In search of the “activated” patient


In 2004, researchers from the University of Oregon developed a scale called the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) to determine how likely patients were to know about and to confidently take a role in their own care. Since then, research has suggested that “activated” patients are less likely to have an ER visit, be obese or to smoke, among other health measures, and more likely to save providers money. A number of healthcare systems are already using PAM and seeing positive results. Interesting, but with some 50percent of patients even failing to take prescribed medications properly, current engagement methods would seem to face an uphill battle.

Patient-activation-PAMA Live Online Event: Tuesday, April 22 @ 12:00 pm EST
Making the Grade: Examining the Case for Patient Activation Measures

Are there other ways to measure and guide adherence planning? What are the benefits and the drawbacks of measuring patient skills? How can patients improve scores? Kick off the conversation today by tweeting your questions and comments to #GreatChallenges and we’ll discuss them on air.

Join our group of special guests for a Google+ Hangout on the pros and cons of patient engagement measures - RSVP today.

Next Up: Monday, May 6 at 12:00 pm EST – Childhood Obesity: How do we empower the child?

TEDMED will offer live streaming of 2014 event; apply today to join global community in health and medicine

TEDMED Live Streaming brings the TEDMED experience to the world.

Through web stream, powerful messages from our stage program travel to the far reaches of the health and medical innovation eco system. Last year, there were 1,500 delegates at the conference, but more than 200,000 people watched worldwide via TEDMED Live.

A variety of groups influence healthcare. Students, patients, nurses, government officials, researchers, advocacy groups, and entrepreneurs are making big changes. TEDMED Live Streaming members receive access to the entire TEDMED stage program with an opportunity to share ideas and build new connections via a virtual discussion board. The simulcast program allows centers of healthcare innovation such as medical schools, research institutions, and teaching hospitals to pause and take a step back to look at the larger healthcare picture and hear novel perspectives that can inspire new approaches and a forward-thinking mindset.

TEDMED Live 2013 at the Medical University of Warsaw

TEDMED Live 2013 at the Medical University of Warsaw

In 2013, more than 2,700 organizations leveraged TEDMED Live Streaming in ways that best fit their goals. Some universities brought their community together in lecture halls, adding to the TEDMED program with local subject matter experts that speak directly to TEDMED’s curated topics. Others chose to stream the select talks that aligned best with group schedules, and more still convened to watch the entire conference live.

TEDMED Live Streaming hosts saw transformations taking place in their organizations. Participants made new connections, floated creative ideas and held thoughtful discussions. One participant commented that the experience was “Inspiring! Not just for the great content, but for the way we leveraged TEDMED to move our organization to collaborate and begin to think differently about the challenges we face.”

For our 2014 event, TEDMED will again offer the entire program, streaming in high-definition, live and on-demand to everyone with an interest in the future of humanity’s health. Thanks to our generous partners, we are able to offer it free to teaching hospitals, medical schools, government agencies and approved non-profits.

As TEDMED begins to add global host cities to its worldwide stage —TEDMED Live Streaming also plans to expand by streaming to 100+ countries.  By creating this vast health and medicine network, we can define problems more easily and expedite knowledge transfer. The world, from a healthcare perspective, is flattened. This is what TEDMED represents, and this is what TEDMED Live provides.

To take part in this vast network, individuals, groups and organizations need only to apply today. We will walk you through the simple and streamlined access, so that all you need to do is invite your community to experience TEDMED Live Streaming 2014, September 10-14, 2014, and be a part of a growing global community dedicated to sharing knowledge in health and medicine.

Join a Great Challenges Online Discussion: Where Health Begins


How much of a role do social determinants — genetics, life circumstances,environmental conditions, and behavior — play in overall health?

While these factors aren’t part of disease outcome data, healthcare providers and organizations have realized they may be, in fact, the ultimate contributors to health status. The World Health Organization has made attention to social determinants part of the fundamentals of its work and a priority area in its general program from 2014-2019.  And according to the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), medical care alone accounts for less than 25% of a population’s health status, with the balance being determinants like environment or behavior.

The great healthcare population, however, may still be grappling with how to view and measure social determinants of health. To that end, the AAHC has put together an online toolkit, partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (which also funds TEDMED’s Great Challenges Program), to help organizations address the social determinants of health. Created with contributions from the AAHC, RWJF, the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it includes best practices and case studies from academic health centers across the U.S., and a self-assessment questionnaire.

“There’s a growing understanding in the clinical community of the importance of the social determinants of health,” says Mindy McGrath, Director of Government Relations at the AAHC.

One reason may be implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), she says. While the ACA is focused on insurance coverage, “There are many pilot programs, demonstration projects and side goals of the legislation that look at how to organize and pay for care in ways that are more focused on health outcomes. The next step will be:  How do we reform our delivery systems to be more geared toward keeping people healthy?”

Toward that end, a number of organizations report using theToolkit to good effect, including Health Leads, which helps connect patients to basic resources. (Read more about healthcare’s growing awareness of social determinants from Rebecca Onie, Health Lead’s Co-Founder and CEO.)

McGrath will join TEDMED in an online discussion, “Where Health Begins,” this Thursday at 2 pm ET to discuss social determinants, the AAHC’s efforts, and related Great Challenges such as the role of poverty in health. Our moderator is Amy Lynn Smith, a healthcare communications writer and strategist.

Join us for the discussion and post questions on Twitter #GreatChallenges; we’ll answer as many as possible on air and Twitter.

Follow AAHC on Twitter @aahcdc; follow Amy on Twitter @alswrite.

Zubin Damania moves forward with innovative Las Vegas clinic

Zubin Damania, a doctor who brought the TEDMED 2013 audience to its feet at the Kennedy Center in April with his vow to radically improve health care delivery, has taken new steps towards doing so.

Damania is Director of Healthcare Development for Downtown Project Las Vegas, an urban revitalization movement led by CEO Tony Hsieh, and is founding a primary care clinic with the goal of emphasizing preventive care and providing more — and more attentive — patient interaction, access and care management than traditional fee-for-service systems.

The clinic will run on a membership model whereby patients will pay a monthly fee, which Damania says will be less than $100, for unlimited primary care that includes all preventive care and non-emergency sick visits, as well as e-mail and video chats with doctors, nurses, health coaches and social workers. A yoga studio, demonstration gym and teaching kitchen on the flagship site will offer free classes. Staff will also coordinate care with specialists, should the need arise, hopefully helping patients navigate the system and reducing unnecessary treatment.

“The episode nature of care currently in primary care does a disservice to patients. You’re seeing patients for 10 minutes and then the rest of their life continues. If we can…weave ourselves into the fabrics of patient’s lives a little bit better, we think that we can accomplish wellness,” Damania said in an interview with Nevada Public Radio.

The Downtown clinic has also recently brought in Iora Health of Cambridge, MA to be its health care provider. The seven-year-old company has developed a number of innovative care models, including insurance geared towards freelancers and a clinic that serves hotel and restaurant workers with severe or chronic illnesses.

The Las Vegas clinic is slated to open by early 2014.

Watch Damania’s TEDMED talk: “Are zombie doctors taking over America?”

Zubin Damania at TEDMED 2013

The many upsides of dialing down

shutterstock_131339729The folks at TEDMED are on vacation.  The whole crew. The offices are closed, and the staff is engaging in two weeks of employer-sponsored, compulsory, mind-freeing, feet-upping, email avoiding, old-fashioned rest.

There are many good reasons for a break. Thinking each and every day about innovation, creativity, and the promise and challenges of health, medicine and science can get pretty intense. Not to mention working regularly with some of the most brilliant minds on the planet – TEDMED’s speakers.

More good reasons:  Taking time off may be good for your health; one study suggested it reduced the risk of coronary heart diseaseThat goes for women as well as men, by the way.  A vacation may help you sleep better, at least in the short term. Giving employees downtown can boost productivity and creativity.  As Charles Duhigg explained in his book, The Power of Habit, breaking away from routine is an ideal time to break away from an unfavorable habit, or form a new one.

Proponents of stepping back from the daily grind are legion. The proverb “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” dates back to 1659, according to Wikipedia. Stephen Covey’s seventh habit of highly efficient people was “sharpen the saw,” meaning to take time off, go away, change your pace and your mental activity. And M. Scott Peck, MD, said in his book The Road Less Traveled that an essential part of maturity is balance, which he defined as knowing “how to discipline discipline.”

Part of breaking away ideally includes unplugging, although according to a recent Harris poll, 54% of respondents said their boss expected them to stay connected while away, though many of us probably find being wired also gives us peace of mind.  Yet our love affair with interactive technology is more like a bad romance; it can actually change our brains, making it hard to listen to and relate to real people, a key element in our mental health.  As psychologist and director of Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Sherry Turkle, said at TED in 2012, “We expect more from technology and less from each other.” We can reconnect and repair the brain, at least; miffed family members might take longer to come around.

(I know what you’re thinking here – who posted this?  Well, the elves who handle the always-on worlds of blogging and social media are taking turns resting this summer.)

Not everyone even gets the benefit of time off.  And American workers generally have less than other industrialized nations; in fact, we are the only developed economy that does not federally mandate time off.  Compare that to Denmark, whose workers get a mandated five-weeks leave.  (No wonder the U.N. lists them as the world’s happiest nation.) But even if they do have the opportunity to take the standard two weeks, many Americans simply don’t take the time off, fearing they’ll fall behind or be replaced.

Perhaps it’s all in the attitude we bring to rest — and work — which many wise minds suggest should be more in the form of play. The philosopher Eric Hoffer said, ““When the Greeks said, ‘Whom the gods love die young’ they probably meant, as Lord Sankey suggested, that those favored by the gods stay young till the day they die; young and playful.” Plato seemingly agreed:  ”God alone is worthy of supreme seriousness, but man is made God’s plaything, and that is the best part of him. Therefore every man and woman should live accordingly and play the noblest games … Life must be lived as play.”

One can also easily take the advice of comedian Milton Burle:  “Laughter is like an instant vacation.”

Marcus Webb contributed to this post.

TEDMED 2013 speaker Eli Beer receives peace prize in Jerusalem

By Marcus Webb

TEDMED 2013 speaker Eli Beer, founder and president of Israel’s volunteer rescue service United Hatzalah, received the Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East on June 24 at The American Center, a U.S. Embassy complex in Jerusalem.

Eli was honored along with his partner, Murad Alyan, who launched the Muslim unit of United Hatzalah in East Jerusalem.  Thanks to the organization’s focus on saving lives regardless of nationality, religion or ethnicity, United Hatzalah is bringing together Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, on a daily basis in teamwork that promotes harmony and understanding between peoples.

Seen here from left are Eli Beer, Murad Alayan with Victor Goldberg and Daniel Obst, both with the Institute of International Education. Vic, a former IBM executive, is the IIE board member who launched the prize.  Daniel is IIE’s deputy vice president for international partnerships.

Seen here from left are Eli Beer, Murad Alayan with Victor Goldberg and Daniel Obst, both with the Institute of International Education. Vic, a former IBM executive, is the IIE board member who launched the prize. Daniel is IIE’s deputy vice president for international partnerships.

The Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East is awarded jointly each year to one Israeli and one Arab who work together in a cause that brings people together and breaks down barriers between peoples of the region.

Upon receiving the prize, Eli commented: “Saving lives is our goal. We have no other agenda. Today we are just beginning. We want to get to 3,000 volunteers and a 90-second response time.”

Eli and partner Murad said they would donate the $10,000 cash award that accompanies the prize to United Hatzalah to help fund the purchase of more “ambu-cycles” and medical equipment.

Scott Parazynski’s polar adventures

We just received these fun photos from astronaut, explorer, Everest summiteer and TEDMED speaker Scott Parazynski, MD, back now from his shift as the medical officer of the Center for Polar Medical Operations at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

Holding up the world.

His description: ”One is my Atlas photo at the South Pole, and the other is a fun jump shot on the shoulder of Mt. Erebus at 11,200 feet above sea level – the southernmost active volcano in the world.”

Scott Parazynski at Mount Erebus

One has to wonder: What’s next on his bucket list?

Live online event today: Whole-patient care

The number of medical specialists (and specialties) continues to grow while the number of primary care physicians continues to shrink.

In the process, the goal of fitting all these specialties together for effective whole-patient care becomes ever more elusive. How can we treat the whole patient rather than the disease?

Join our Great Challenge team of health leaders for a live event today from 1-2 PM EST to discuss whole-patient care. Ask questions on Twitter @TEDMED #greatchallenges – the group will answer selected questions on air. John Nosta, EVP of Ogilvy CommonHealth, will moderate the chat.

Click here to access TEDMED’s Google Plus event page.

How can we better support caregivers?

An estimated 44 million people provide full-time or part-time care for the elderly,disabled veterans, new mothers, the injured, the sick — a problem that eventually impacts everyone in the nation.

Caregivers have few tools, few support systems and receive minimal, if any, training for these responsibilities. What innovations can we develop specifically to support the caregiver community?

Ask a collected team of leaders on the issue — from a caregiver to a psychologist — about how we can better manage the crisis, at

New map of health risk: Obesity rates top 30 percent in 12 states

More than one third of U.S. of adults are obese  — with a BMI of 30 or higher — but some states have a bigger problem than others. According to a new analysis of CDC stats from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), obesity rates vary among states and regions, with twelve states having an obesity rate exceeding 30 percent. Mississippi’s is highest at 34.9 percent; while Colorado’s is leanest, relatively speaking, at 20.7 percent.

The costs in terms of chronic disease and healthcare burdens are virtually incalculable.  What’s to be done to stem the epidemic?  Later this summer, RWJF and TFAH will release the 2012 edition of “F as in Fat,” an annual report that analyzes state obesity rates and policy efforts to address the epidemic, and provides policy recommendations to accelerate progress.

Read more about the report here, and details on the CDC statistics here.