There are many reasons to cheer for Formula 1 racing. Better health isn’t the most intuitive one.
Yet last month, as Formula 1 and its estimated worldwide audience of 400 million turned their attention to Austin, a diverse group of technology and health experts convened here to discuss how innovation in seemingly unrelated fields can be leveraged to help people get and stay healthy.
More than 150 people gathered at the Dell Medical School to consider global trends in health care, and the role of data and design in improving health outcomes. Presenters included leaders from McLaren Applied Technologies, NASA, CognitiveScale and Dell Computers. Representatives of the Association of British Healthcare Industries and the UK Department of International Trade also attended, as did a number of health industry experts.
McLaren and NASA have both made tremendous strides in leveraging data, design and technology to become leaders in their fields, continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Similarly, Dell Med seeks to advance health innovation in creating new models of care, and the forum sparked rich discussions to that end.
Panelists included Stacey Chang, Executive Director of the Design Institute for Health at Dell Med; Michael Hess, Associate Director of Engineering at NASA’s Johnson Space Center; Adam Hill, Chief Medical Officer of McLaren Applied Technologies; Phil Kennedy, Chair of the Association of British Healthcare Industries; Nick van Terheyden, Chief Medical Officer at Dell Computers; and Bill Tierney, Chair of Population Health at Dell Med. Charles Barnett, President for Healthcare at CognitiveScale and renowned expert in healthcare systems, moderated both panels.
The group analyzed health care challenges that could be solved, in whole or part, through tech discovery. Here are two examples:
Challenge: Incentives in the existing health care system are designed to support the diagnosis and overtreatment of disease, often with no demonstrable improvement in health.
Solution: New payment models that incentivize activities to keep people healthy, in part by using economic, social and environmental data that’s critical to the future-facing value-based care system we want to create.
Tech Innovation: Innovators in Austin and around the world are creating infrastructure, processes and technologies to collect and analyze a massive volume of data. Intelligent systems can uncover valuable insights from that data and present them to people and their caregivers in a responsible way that can inform actions around health. Companies like McLaren, NASA, Cognitive Scale and others have blazed the trail for these systems, and opportunities abound to leverage them for health.
Challenge: The complicated nature of individual health data makes it hard to offer large-scale chronic disease management for populations from a distance.
Solution: Remote monitoring and care systems can provide sophisticated, real-time data analysis for complex decision-making.
Innovation: NASA continues to develop telemedicine between Earth and space to protect the health and safety of astronauts on missions to Mars. Robotic systems with artificial intelligence will be able to support real-time care and treatment decisions for astronauts, which can be adapted for telemedicine on Earth. Support systems for Formula 1 drivers can also be adapted to give caregivers the same type of helpful information on patients that engineers have on car and racer performance.
No matter the industry, there are roadblocks and risks to innovation, but those must not hinder discoveries that improve the human experience and our understanding of the world. To that point, Dell Computers’ Nick van Terheyden praised Austin and Travis County voters for electing in 2012 to support a medical school with local tax dollars.
Dell Med is following Austin’s bold example, seeking out solutions to America’s broken health care system wherever they may be — even in the seat of a racecar or a Mars rover.