Fenton Studios films conversations at TEDMED: sneak preview

As leaders and innovators took the TEDMED stage to present their ideas about health and medicine today and in the future, Delegates were having their own conversations between presentations, inspired by the talks, each other, and by the Great Challenges program.

Fenton Studios filmed discussions by speakers, Delegates and Great Challenge Advocates on some of the most pressing and complex issues — topics like the role of stress and loneliness in disease, and the coming dementia tsunami — led by chief change officer Lisa Witter and executive producer Victor Neufeld. Fenton and TEDMED will release clips throughout the next few weeks; follow @fentonprogress for updates.

In this preview, Witter interviews Michael Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer of The Cleveland Clinic, and Vice President for Global Health at Johnson & Johnson, Scott Ratzan, M.D.

Patient voices at TEDMED 2012

From access to research and health data (Ben Goldacre, Leslie Saxon), and to basic

"The Missing Ingredients." Art and photo by Regina Holliday

resources (Rebecca Onie), to better understanding of autism (Virginia Breen) and balancing patient risk with potential rewards (Nick Boulis and Jonathan Glass), patient issues were a highlight of TEDMED presentations this April.

In the Hub next to the Kennedy Center, corporate partners also focused on patient needs: Philips displayed devices to help improve the patient experience; Nurture, smarter healthcare center and equipment designs geared toward unique patient needs; Johnson & Johnson, interactive experiences to help understand what it feels like to live with schizophrenia.

Delegates seemed to be on the same wavelength. “The Role of the Patient” was elected one of TEDMED’s Great Challenges for focus and discussion in the coming year; it drew the third most votes among the top 20 Challenges.

"Sacred Cow." Art and photo by Regina Holliday

And Regina Holliday, patient artist activist, captured it all poignantly, colorfully and permanently with paintings and blogs throughout the event, culminating in descriptions and presentations of her work on the Opera House stage to TEDMED partners.

Visit Holliday’s blog for her recount of the TEDMED experience and to see her interpretation of the patient perspective throughout.  As she says on her blog,  “I often say verbally, ‘We are all patients in the end,’ and sometimes I say that visually.”



Great Challenges: Which health issues are overhyped, overlooked?

The party’s over—but for the TEDMED Great Challenges program, which is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the conversation is just beginning. Throughout the year, we’ll host a lively national dialog on the 20 Challenges chosen by the TEDMED community. The program will include TV-style interviews with leaders from across fields, a series of webinars on each of the 20 Great Challenges, and the opportunity for TEDMED community members to add their voice.

We rounded up some of the most exciting things we heard from Great Challenges

advocates over the course of the conference, from the technologies that get the biggest news (but may be overhyped) to the little-known, overlooked epidemics that may have the biggest impact on our health.

Eating right. Yes, it’s important, but why is it so hard? We asked Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, and advocate for Challenge #31, Choosing Better Foods. “It’s not about lecturing people about eating right, but about how do we make that easier? Every community should have access to high-quality, affordable food—just as we ensure everyone has access to high-quality water,” said McMillan. “We act like healthy food is a luxury, to our detriment.” McMillan also said eating well is really about more than just food, too. It’s about fair wages, work-life balance and other factors. Sure, French women don’t get fat (arguably)—but they also have five weeks of paid vacation, covered child care and reasonable work days. Couldn’t we all eat healthfully if we had that kind of time, suggested McMillan?

McMillan shared a table with Challenge #24, Food and Technology: Balancing the Trade-offs, where advocate Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch spoke on another food concern—addressing scarcity in developing countries. “We have decades of research and we have the tools we need today in the developed world—the real challenge is getting that to the developing world,” said Hauter.

We all know cancer’s burden on the public’s health—many of us first-hand, from a friend or family member who’s struggled with the disease. But Challenge #27 brings attention to The Overlooked Cancer Cohort: adolescents and young adults aged 15 through 39. Challenge advocate Leonard Sender said this is because of the perception that this group is young and healthy, while not as vulnerable as children, and therefore not a priority for funding or research. But the truth, Sender says, is that cancer is the disease that kills the most patients under 40 in this country. Around eight to 10 percent of breast cancer patients are young women. Sender said screening is less common in this age group, and “stage for stage,” the cancers are more aggressive and have worse outcomes. “This is the one segment of the population where we could actually see a tangible result if we put resources into it,” Sender said.

From an overlooked population to an overlooked problem, “Many people wouldn’t know there was an epidemic of loneliness,” said Jacqueline Olds, advocate for Challenge #35, The Epidemic of Isolation and Loneliness, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Harvard Medical School. It’s been gradual but marked, said Olds, who shared the statistics that 20 years ago people used to have an average of three confidantes they could talk to—now, as a nation, we’re down to an average of one. Loneliness and isolation are linked to a wide range of diseases and undesirable health behaviors, from depression to self-neglect and more. Some solutions could include getting doctors to ask about loneliness as a vital sign, and putting out a national media campaign to educate about the ill effects of isolation.

Special Needs Patients and Children face their own unique set of health and psychosocial issues, said Challenge #38 advocate Alan Fleischman, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine—but it also represents a broader issue. “The problem of taking care of kids with special needs is really a metaphor for the burdens of any kind of chronic care. We need to empower families,” said Fleischman. In his experience, “patients need a little bit of help from the doctor, but a lot of social support. We’ve got to look to the community for resources to give the families what they really need.” “Amen to that,” responded an onlooker and TEDMED delegate, who said he had a son with autism.

TEDMED Partner Spaces: Stats of the Union, brainstorming in the Cloud

Exploring the TEDMED partner spaces in the ” Social Hub” tent uncovered some more fascinating experiences, including a way to check the nation’s vital signs and an opportunity to brainstorm in the cloud.

Which state has the most major depression? The highest unemployment rate? Delegates could find out with the interactive Stats of the Union application from GE. They’ve created a mash-up of data from the Census, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor and other sources, in a free app that presents the results in a visual infographic. Kathleen Voboril, Digital Marketing Manager for GE Capital, walked us through some data visualizations, where we saw striking differences in major depression across the country (low in the Northwest region; very high in Tennessee).

Mary Gillum demonstrates GE’s daily health session tool used with employees

GE is also piloting a new, free diabetes management program for their employees in Cincinnati, where the company builds jet engines. The program provides employees with an FDA-cleared medical device that looks a whole lot like an iPad, and facilitates a “daily health session” — checking in on vital signs, filling out a survey of symptoms, and getting a dose of good old health education. It also pushes out reminders, and sends feedback to a clinician who can follow up on dangerous symptoms. Six months in, GE is finding that participating employees engage more fully and feel more accountable for the management of their condition, said Mary Gillum, a clinical applications specialist with Care Innovations, an Intel-GE company.

Part of the reasoning behind GE’s efforts is to “make healthy communities a competitive advantage like good schools,” said Voboril. The hope is for the whole community to get involved. “If we take personal responsibility and collective responsibility at the same time, can we effect change?”

Booz-Allen Hamilton is working on another critical question, and the hope is that you will respond. “As an industry, what should we be doing right now to improve healthcare that will have the greatest impact on patients?” The company is calling on TEDMED Delegates, TEDMEDLive viewers and fans everywhere to join in the conversation through a global BrainStorm that will take place — get ready — on the Cloud. They’re hoping to foster diverse ideas, a perfect goal for the TEDMED crowd, and will ask users to vote on the best ideas to help unearth trends, said Carrie Bittman, Senior Consultant for Booz-Allen. The top ideas will be presented in a paper to TEDMED. Ideas so far range from the health impact of meditation to tools that support the transfer of knowledge between physicians during shift changes at hospitals. In the meantime, artists are capturing the ideas as they come in with posters at the Booz-Allen space.

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!