Alan Rheault, Nurture’s Director of Industrial Design, has many sources for inspiration. But an annual source of renewal comes from the TEDMED conference where he can immerse himself to learn from the best and brightest in the medical community who come together to discuss problems and potential solutions.
“TEDMED offers a renewed sense of optimism. Everyone talks about how broken the healthcare system is, but TEDMED also talks about the breakthroughs,” said Rheault. Learning from those within the healthcare industry is also affirming: “Nurture is a healthcare company. It’s critical to our foundation that we learn and know about the healthcare world from those who are in it.”
Dr. Zubin Damania, “ZDogg MD,” was Rheault’s favorite speaker, a medical satirist and educator from Las Vegas. The focus of his presentation was about burning out in general practice and rethinking this particular healthcare model.
Nurture is dedicated to the future of healthcare, which is a perfect pairing with TEDMED. As a TEDMED sponsor for the past three years, Nurture has lent support to the conference and provided simulcast sites for webcasts. The purpose: not to increase sales, but to provide an opportunity for those in the medical field and those who support it to come together to learn, exchange ideas, collaborate, and have a mind meld for potential solutions. “For us, TEDMED participation is more than just a gathering of our customers, designers, and dealers. It provides a view into the future of healthcare and offers an opportunity for new insights,” explained Rheault.
Rheault highlighted two themes from TEDMED 2013 he believes will be critical to the future of healthcare:
- Small Data
- The belief that healthcare is broken, but is fixable
Small Data is defined as personal data that can be captured by individuals independently. The opportunity arises with how will we use all of the self-monitoring and continuous monitoring devices (Fitbit, Nike Fuel Bands, etc.) to inform our health, and how will the data find its way into our personal health records and EHRs. The other question is how will the Small Data impact Big Data over time? Larry Smarr added thoughts about Big Data from understanding and diagnosis to customized care. Ultimately by combing Small Data and Big Data, the opportunity exists to create the “super knowledgeable patient.”
Will capturing the Small Data, the day-to-day information from people, provide much needed insights to influence the way we treat certain conditions or diseases? More than likely, if Small Data and Big Data such as genomes — understanding an individual’s personal DNA sequencing – are put together, patients will benefit significantly from the insights derived.
Rheault was glued to all the presentations throughout the conference, taking it all in and feeding off the inspiration. Another theme that resonated from several speakers is that the healthcare system may be broken, but it is fixable. There is great hope for the future. While all presentations provided great insights, Rheault found the following notable:
America Bracho - working with Latino communities. Key points: To treat patient communities you have to understand the patient community. To understand the patient community you have to use people from the community. She talked about this higher level of empathy and how to hire a community leader. ”You have to hire the heart, the brain can be trained,” said Bracho.
Peter Attia – what if we have it wrong? What if we are thinking of our problems of obesity and diabetes the opposite of what’s true? What if resistance to insulin is making us fat instead of fat making us resistant? He talked about realizing his lack of empathy with a patient because of his closed mindedness… until he had his own issues.
Andrew Solomon – powerful story about the accepting those that are different, and how changing them (like an autistic child) would mean wishing them away. He talked a lot about unconditional love between a parent and a child – when do you try to “normalize” and when do you try to find those that are alike in a special group, ie. the deaf community, gay, downs, dwarfs, etc.
John Kheir – after losing a premature baby patient because in a code situation, because they had no way to easily put more oxygen in her blood, he is working on a way to inject oxygen into an IV through micro particles – this clear problem is driving his quest for innovation.
Laura Deming – 18 years old, working on extending life. “It was just unreal to think that this is an 18 year old. She will probably be somebody well know in the future, so I wanted to note her name!” said Rheault.
Inspired? We hope so.
Share this story, connect with some of these innovative thinkers, including Alan, or simply take what was shared and apply it. After all, none of us believes healthcare is unfixable, we believe in the vision of how much better it can be.