Two weeks ago I attended WPP Stream Health in Orlando, the "unconference" hosted by Grey Healthcare and ended in San Francisco at TEDMED 2014. The theme of both gatherings was unleashing imagination and collaboration to redesign our approach to building a healthier world.
So what's really the point of TEDMED? To liberate from routine and help our most innovative thinkers take chances and do things they wouldn't normally do, see things through a different lens. Innovate our way to a better future.
If there's one thing I learned from seeing all the great mobile technology being developed at TEDMED, it's that these mobile health applications can not only empower doctors, but patients too. It can help people like me have a better understanding of my own health.
As the TEDMED-branded buses trundle into town, as the TEDMED-branded delegates converge on the Kennedy Center, and as the TEDMED-branded GroupInspire washes over the crowd, I will grip my drawing pen and wonder: Can GroupInspire strike twice? Come on, TEDMED. Hit me.
Acute disease can be left to the hospitals, but creating health and healing of chronic disease seems to happen best in the community -- with people helping people where each one of us lives, where we eat, cook, learn, work, play and pray.
Think health reform is solely in the hands of politicians, bureaucrats, and giant corporations? It's not. Every time you go to the doctor, you have the chance to help reform our health care system into a more streamlined, effective, and inexpensive machine.
Why is it that America is still spending $2 trillion on health care, mostly treating people after they become sick? How can we shift money toward prevention, where each dollar can save us multiple dollars on treatment?
Making delegates believe their attendance at a conference will change the world -- and dashing off to do it as a result -- is surely the Holy Grail of conference organizers. Perhaps they should be looking to TED/TEDMED for clues to the formula.
The problem is actually that we're living longer, but the longevity is fueled by very expensive chronic diseases that were preventable. The dream of living a long, healthy life has been replaced by living a long, sick life.
There is blunt idealism in Jay Walker's language about re-positioning the social-intellectual-scientific-policy-business venture called TEDMED to the nation's capital. It's shaping up as a contradictory mix of money and mission.
If you haven't yet sipped the TED Kool-Aid, get yourself a straw. I've been a public speaker for 35 years now but hit the Mt. Everest of conferences when I spoke for the TEDMED group this past October.
When many of us think of mushrooms, we may think of culinary delights such as Portobello and Shiitake, or we may think of those "magic mushrooms." But the implication of mushrooms is absolutely profound. They have the potential to dramatically improve our health and the health of the planet.