TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Michael J. Barber, VP, GE Healthymagination

Well, TED community, now that our conversation has come to a close, I’d like to thank you all for sharing your thought-provoking questions and insightful ideas on patient behavior. I also want to thank Dr. Nancy Snyderman for participating and for bringing her valuable medical perspective to our discussion.

Over the course of the conversation, some key takeaways for me included:

+ It takes time to drive real change in community healthcare systems but it is worth the effort to increase access, decrease costs and improve the quality of healthcare.

+ Being smart and honest with our healthcare providers goes a long way no matter which country we live in.

+ We can save 100,000 lives a year by preventing hospital errors.

+ Learning about health early in life and developing good habits can have a big impact on our healthcare system in the future.

+ As patients become better armed with information through technology, we will see the patient/doctor relationship evolve into something more meaningful and efficient.

+ If good health is a priority in the workspace, these habits will translate into the home.

This has been a great first experience with TED Conversations for me and I hope to meet you all in the digital healthcare space again soon.

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      Jul 22 2011: Erika - You have hit on two challenging health industry issues: wellness and the doctor/patient relationship. Regarding the first one, I like what I see in some spaces online today in terms of helping people make healthy choices. Two companies that we’ve collaborated with over the past few years are MedHelp and HealthLine. Both do an excellent job creating tools that provide good health information as well as steps you should take to better manage your health. MedHelp has created apps that encourage good choices around sleep, nutrition and fitness and HealthLine has created BodyMaps -- an interactive tool that can guide people through what is going on inside the body during different conditions. The concept of gaming in the health space has a lot of potential. GE is actually hosting a summit on health gaming in NYC next week, which I look forward to joining.

      On the topic of the doctor/patient relationship, we recently sponsored a related study, which launched at the Vancouver Olympics. Some of the results were thought-provoking. For example, 77% of healthcare professionals said that one fourth or more of their patients have lied to them about their health. More people knew how many vacation days they had left (47%) than how many calories they’d consumed yesterday (43%). At the link here, you can click through a data visualization that outlines all of the findings: http://www.healthymagination.com/projects/better-health-study/. We collaborated with WebMD on this topic to develop an interactive tool that guides the patient though what questions/dialogue they should be having with their physician.
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        Jul 23 2011: Michael, how about incorporating in our education sysems healthy lifestyles and the clear consequences of abuse to our body systems.

        Some people are more aware of their vacation or sick leave days is probably a sign of work stress that sometimes encroaches on the daily pressures of family life. Are there studies too about shorter or more fleixble work days resulting in better productivity and health?

        My general suggestion also is to raise awareness at all levels and at any stage of our lives the power of our minds to understand the dynamics of our healthy and self-healing bodies, and the caring of our hearts to be more responsible and contributing also to the healthy welfare of the people close to us.
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          Jul 25 2011: I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of teaching healthy lifestyles in our education system. For five years now, GE Healthcare has supported Dr. Olajide Williams, MD, MS, a neurologist at Harlem Hospital. Better known as the "Hip Hop Doc," he is the founder of the Hip-Hop Public Health Education Center, which uses hip-hop to teach school children (and their families) about health. Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S (Healthy Eating and Living in Schools) is Dr. William's program that educates children about health at their schools. The Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S program works to prevent disease in school-aged children which are mainly caused by unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. With the help of all-stars like Doug E. Fresh and Chuck D., Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S was created to empower kids about these issues through professionally produced hip-hop music, hip-hop video games, cartoons, choreographed dance moves, and comic books that all focus on nutrition and exercise. The goal is to help lower rates of obesity in Harlem and help prevent the other diseases that are associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices such as diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension). The program has been successful in Harlem and now reaches 12,000 New York City school kids a year. Last month we joined Dr. Williams and his team in Harlem to celebrate the 3rd Annual Hip Hop Public Health Summit and the release of “Hip Hop Health Vol. 1,” a compilation of educational rap songs for kids which cover a wide-range of health issues, including “Stroke Ain’t No Joke,” “Exercise and Be Calorie Wise” and “Go Slow Whoa,” a song that groups foods into easy-to-follow stoplight commands. You can check out some highlights from the summit here: http://www.gereports.com/doug-e-fresh-chuck-d-and-the-hip-hop-doc-celebrate-health-in-harlem/. Learning about health early in life and developing good habits will have a big impact on our healthcare system in the long run.

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