TEDMED Partner spaces: Saddle up to the Inspiration Bar, experience schizophrenia and try Touchless Technology

The Social Hub was abuzz today with good conversation, good food and great opportunities to interact with innovative experiences, technologies and thought leaders in the partner and contributor social spaces.

Healthcare today is unsustainable — but we can change that, according to Siemens Healthcare, a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics and health IT. Escalating costs, the growing burden of chronic disease and an aging population explosion all conspire to create an untenable healthcare landscape. What’s the solution? It lies at the intersection of higher quality and lower cost.

In the Siemens space, Delegates guessed at where the United States and other countries land along the cost-quality curve — at a surprising disadvantage, as it turns out. Innovation and new technologies, like advanced imagery that allows for more personalized, less wasteful medicine could move the system in the right direction, said Donald Rucker, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Siemens Medical Solutions. Siemens also showcased “touchless interaction,” a tool surgeons can use to navigate their way through less-invasive but complicated surgery on a video screen that can be manipulated with the swipe of a hand from across the room, using the Kinect sensor currently used on X-boxes.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has a 125-year history of improving health through innovation — from band-aids to creating sterile environments for surgery. They’re here at TEDMED for the innovation, collaboration and “diversity of thinking, which has been a part of Johnson & Johnson’s culture for a long time,” said Michael Sneed, Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs. “People come here with their minds open. They’re not shy about coming up and talking to us.”

The J&J space at TEDMED is about more than just talk, though. We tried out some immersive experiences designed to help truly understand what patients are going through. It may not be pervasive in medical school curricula (yet), but empathy is a critical skill in health and health care. Among the exhibits:

  • A 3-D, immersive program that lets you experience what it’s like to live with schizophrenia. The experience is rattling, and really comes to life with smells of rotten coffee, a simulation of wind on your face and disturbing hallucinations. The program is deployed in mobile units to providers and emergency first responders who support patients in crisis, to help them understand and better counsel these patients.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis gloves, which simulate hand movement constrained by the stresses and limitations of severe rheumatoid arthritis. With the gloves on, try opening a jar or opening a ziploc bag — both everyday, but near impossible tasks with the gloves. These are intended help providers and those who design products better understand how rheumatic arthritis patients can handle necessities like pill bottles.

The Inspiration Bar offered fascinating discussion with Cleveland Clinic innovators, physicians and researchers. Topics this week include the healing impact of art and music, myths and facts about chocolate and red wine (sign us up!), an interactive session on “Wellness Coaching” from Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Michael Roizen, and the truth about diets.

At today’s talk on lessons learned from treating some of the greatest athletes in the world, led by Dr. Thomas Graham, Vice Chair of Orthopedic Surgery, we learned that perhaps the ultimate American innovator developed a novel process in 1968. In the first year, he achieved 75% adoption of his method, and that climbed to 100% at the four-year mark.

Was he a top researcher? Nope. Dr. Graham was referring to Dick Fosbury, the Olympic track and field athlete who was the first to try the high jump “back-first,” now known as the Fosbury Flop. “He thought completely differently, and it resulted in a sea change,” said Dr. Graham. That’s what we need to do in health care, he said. “Medicine cannot be stagnant. We need to be always looking for big ideas.”

The Cleveland Clinic also offered a “Walk With a Doc” program throughout TEDMED, an idea gaining national traction among medical centers. The program allows patients to get their health questions answered while getting some physical activity under their belts in a roving, group doctor’s visit.

TEDMED – #Scribed

At the beginning of TEDMED 2012, Curator Jay Walker noted that the “E” for entertainment in “TED” may be transforming to “A” for the “arts” — and there may be no better example of that than Alphachimp Studio’s involvement in this year’s TEDMED experience. The graphic designers are visually capturing each presentation on iPads in a manner they call ‘scribing’. Their scribing will be livecast on monitors nearby their position in the middle of the Social Hub – and they’re  sharing images and videos on the #TEDMEDscribe and #TEDMED hashtags. Below, see YouTube videos of their scribes from the first couple TEDMED sessions. And stay tuned – there’s more to come.

Session 1:

Session 2:

Keep your eyes open for lots more Alphachimp videos in the coming days.

TEDMED Partner spaces: The cocoa bean genome, insta-aging, and KittenScanners

One of the biggest draws at TEDMED is checking out sponsor and contributor social spaces, fantastical interactive displays that showcase their corporate contributions to health and medicine.

Best known for its chocolate and pet food, the global food company Mars has thrown itself behind understanding genomics and the role that it can play as a solution to fighting food scarcity, chronic hunger and malnutrition (Global Staff Officer of Plant Science and External Research Howard Shapiro will speak at TEDMED Session 2 on Wednesday morning.).  Another goal is to map the cocoa bean genome – all the better, we say; bring on the chocolate!

Another booth angle is pet-human interaction and how it boosts emotional well-being – at least as far as humans go – a hot research top lately. Sergeant Jon Gordon, a war veteran and his service dog will be meeting delegates in the space to show first-hand the rehabilitative impact of human-animal interaction.

Nurture by Steelcase designed their space to create conversation on smart design for

Nurture's new patient recliner, Empath

special needs. Delegates will gather around “campfire” space to chat with IDEO design consultant reps.

They’ll also get an eye-opening chance to see for themselves the unique design needs posed by physical handicaps and aging.  Participants can don a “Third Age” suit – on loan from the Ford Motor Company – that “ages” them several decades in terms of strength, mobility, vision and other tactile functions. The space-age suit, which looks like a stripped-down astronaut uniform, is made of materials that add bulk and restrict movement at key areas of the body such as knees, elbows, back and neck. The suit also uses gloves that reduce the sense of touch, and goggles that simulate cataracts.

Philips is exploring the issue of lack of sleep as a national health crisis in its onsite design lab. An illustrator will visualize Delegate discussion on the topic as the days go by into a wall-length mural.

Towards its goal of “designing healthcare around people who need it,” the company is exhibiting a colorful KittenScanner for kids to show them what to expect when getting a CT scan  – an unnerving experience even for adults – to lessen the stress of the experience. Their illuminated LightGuide therapeutic tool helps visually- and hearing-impaired children improve motor activities and develop the ability to read and write.

Backstage at TEDMED

Some 1,500 Delegates are streaming into the Opera House at the Kennedy Center, munching on mango and drinking sangria as they await the start of the first speaker session at TEDMED 2012.  Of course, healthy pursuits are never far away; Delegates could also have their carotid artery scanned for signs of arterial plaque at Panasonic’s CardioHealth station in the lounge, or have a blood test for inflammatory markers of heart disease with the Cleveland HeartLab’s new “it” screen.

Hair and makeup for Jill Sobule backstage at the Kennedy Center.

We had a sneak peek at the humongous backstage area, where the singer and songwriter Jill Sobule

Jil Sobule, Ivan Oransky, and Jill's mom, who sometimes joins her on stage
graciously allowed us to snap a few photos. Reuters Health executive editor Ivan Oransky, speaking at Session 3 on Wednesday, also prepped for his talk, “Is the ‘disease model’ sick — or just exhausted?”

Let’s start the show!

D.C. schoolkids to attend TEDMED

Part of TEDMED’s mission is to share ideas among as many people as possible – particularly when it comes to nurturing young people’s imaginations. To that end, TEDMED has invited 25 local high school students, along with their principal, to be special guests at TEDMED’s final session on Friday morning.

The Academies at Anacostia – also known as Anacostia Senior High School – is a D.C. public high school looking to turn around decades of extremely low test scores.  Towards that goal, school officials partnered with Friendship Public Charter Schools and closed it for a summer-long revamp, after which Anacostia re-opened in 2009 with  a renewed mission, more than 30 first-year teachers, and many new programs.

The special student guests on Friday were chosen for their accomplishments.  The group includes:

*Seven students training to be EMT’s in Anacostia’s Allied Health career program

*One student who is a member of the local Red Cross Club

*Anacostia’s FIRST Robotics team, AnaDroidz, which recently competed against 64 other teams from 10 states and Puerto Rico in the D.C. regional competition

*Other students nominated by their teachers because of their excellent grades, behavior, maturity, and interest in learning.

Congratulations to the Anacostia students.  We’ll see you Friday at TEDMED!

Jay Walker’s Library of Human Imagination

The Library of Human Imagination

Fun Friday brain fodder:  TEDMED’s curator, Jay Walker, talks to Discovery.com in the  “Curiosity” video series about the origins of his fantastical collection of some of mankind’s greatest innovations, the Library of Human Imagination.  The Library celebrates humanity’s grand adventure of discovery, learning, and creativity, with objects from an original 1957 Sputnik to a 1699 atlas containing the first maps to show the sun, not the earth, as the center of the known universe.  “This map, by far the most important map in history, divides the Age of Faith from the Age of Reason,” Jay says.

Michael Graves: When will hospitals design for patients?

Architect Michael Graves spent months in a rehab center following a serious illness, only to discover that the design of his room and furniture — and that of most hospitals — fails to meet even basic needs of patients and staff, especially those who are disabled. See what he has designed instead for the hospital of the future.