TEDMED — further thoughts

There was no way I could keep up with the stream of incoming thoughts and people that I experienced at TEDMED.   Plus TEDMED had their own blog — which provides better coverage than I can do — so here is the official blog…which is worth a scan.

I learned a lot from TEDMED — I was particularly interested to learn about my microbiome.   The speaker — Jonathan Eisen — suggested it should be considered an organ, just like our skin.    His blog on the topic is here.

There were many thought-provoking questions:

  • the real impact of bias in the way data is published and shared from clinical trials.
  • the evolutionary future challenge of drug resistant bacteria — and whether it should impact treatment today and how
  • using gaming/crowdsourcing to figure out the right structure for a protein (go U of Washington)

One observation — which is further exemplified by the 20 grand challenges selected out of over 40 choices — is that there are SO MANY worth causes (diseases, fixing science in so many ways, engaging consumers etc) that real progress is on core issues (my definition — like getting a value driven, consumer centered health delivery system) is diminished as folks push their worthy agenda.    As Mike Leavitt said while Sec. of HHS — it is not that we lack political will – it is that there is too much political will that stops progress.

I was also struck by the many ‘chance’ encounters I ended up having with thoughtful, motivated and energized folks.  That is one of the great benefits of working in the health sector — the breadth and depth of the talent tackling the problems.     I hope the community really makes some progress in the coming year.

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