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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Social Media TEDMED and Health Train Express




“ Intellectuals solve problems… geniuses prevent them “ (Albert Einstein)

One of my favorite pastimes is reviewing TEDMED’s videos. Frankly it is not cost-effect to attend these meetings at a cost of 4-5,000 per TEDMED.

However in the scheme of things a delay of several months or even year (in the scheme of things) is not terribly significant.  In fact the delay serves to allow the ideas and projections to mature with the curing effects of time.

One of my favorite TEDMED presentations is from Dean Kamen who invented the original infusion pump, the Segway, and now works on cyborg-like prosthetics, as well as cost-effective water purification equipment usable in third world countries.

Dean Kamen and TEDMED

This presentation is from TEDMED 2010.  It comes at an opportune time since TEDMED 2011 has just begun.

In addition to the ‘science” and/or innovative ideas one comes away from a “TEDMED” with the excitement and ‘prescient; feeling that humanity will survive and overcome obstacles to better itself.

Physicians usually emphasize prevention and Dean Kamen is high on prevention. He points out that the current mindset about healthcare costs bankrupting our system are faulty because measures such as improved diet, healthier life styles, prevention of diabetes and chronic heart disease and perhaps prevention of Alzheimer’s disease will result in reduced health spending.  Hopefully fewer people will require expensive chronic disease care. The gradual increase in preventive measures will ‘bend the cost curve” in a way much more effectively than all the information technology in which we are now investing.

He correctly points out that some of the most destructive industries can offer ways of delivering beneficial products. He tells the story of how inventing his purification system was the simple side of developing and distributing it to the world.

Coca-Cola a company that thrives on the demand for a processed sugar drink that increases the risks of poor health, obesity, diabetes also has the largest distribution system in the world for it’s products, and a means of delivering the drinks. Dean coupled his invention with the Coca-Cola soda dispensing appliance (that you see in almost every fast food restaurant) with his water purification system, and the means to deliver his water purification system to third world countries such as Bangladesh, India, where a simple thing such as clean water actually is a medical device to prevent infectious disease and/or toxic contaminants  in the water system.

The use of social media in health care may have the same outcome if it’s utility as a communication system is linked to the messages of preventive health. Social media serves the youngest portion of our demographic in many ways previously not possible.

Here is a “springboard” of Social Media’s rapidly growing potential for good in healthcare.

Health Care and Social Media

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