TED Conversations

Christina Nesheva

GlaxoSmithKline plc


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What is the future of healthcare? How can it become health care vs sickness treatment? What role do technology and innovation play?

Healthcare costs are rising, the population is aging and medical needs are greater than ever. How can patients receive better quality care at an affordable price? How can we leverage technology to provide better and more affordable healthcare around the world?


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    Oct 15 2011: I can't really comment on the state of healthcare in England but we are definitely struggling to find a solution here in the US. It is obviously a multifaceted problem involving policy makers, private medical device/drug industries, clinicians and the patients!

    Policy Makers: Thanks to innovation in medicine/technology, most people now die of chronic diseases as they age. This is very different from acute care and requires an long-term doctor to patient relationship. This is just not possible with myriad of private insurance companies. Moreover, our insurance provider is ultimately determined by our employers. So, without sounding too socialistic, there is a need for a centralized healthcare system so that patient information can be easily accessed by the primary care physicians REGARDLESS of where the patient is.

    Drug Companies: Instead of focusing on developmental research ( to extend patent period), drug companies should worry less about profit and invest more in diversifying their target diseases. For instance, developing a drug to treat a small population of patients might not be profitable but it is certainly necessary (government should also subsidize these research).

    Clinicians: Patients from an area with more specialists per capita are more likely to be subjected to invasive and expensive procedures. There has been an overwhelming push to churn out primary care physicians but without success simply because it is not profitable. Bach and Kocher have proposed an interesting solution that would effectively make medical school free for primary care physicians and specialists would still have to pay for training.

    Patients: An an age when information is readily available, patients have an responsibly to monitor their own well being and conditions. From a cultural perspective, there is a need to promote a healthier lifestyle.

    technology: promote more transparency between patient and their information/physicians. (i'm out of characters)
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      Oct 15 2011: A lot of changes are being proposed and debated here in the UK. As in most countries, the healthcare system is inefficient.

      It will be interesting to hear more from you about what role you see technology playing in healthcare particularly mobile. as a whole, the industry is very conservative (for the right reasons).
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        Oct 15 2011: Well, wireless technology is slowly being incorporated into the healthcare environment. From what I've seen, wireless patient monitoring is on the rise (e.g. philips intellivue system). Of course, there are tons of physiological monitoring apps available for our smart phones but it hasn't gain too much momentum due to privacy and standardization concerns.

        Regardless, I think mobile healthcare communication is inevitable and eventually, patients will be able to communicate about their chest pain or suspicious lesion with their physicians over their phones.

        One topic that I'm particularly interested in is wireless monitoring of not only patients but various other parameters within any healthcare environment from patient traffic to equipment locations, infection risk level all with respect to time, location and responsible personnel. This will be an interesting way to measure general hospital quality.

        If you don't mind, can I ask why you're interested? I see that you're working for GSK which is predominantly a drug company? Are there plans to incorporate wireless technologies into our pills?
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          Oct 16 2011: This is very interesting. My thoughts are along the same lines. It is also quite fascinating to see the whole explosion of research and activities in the area of incorporating technologies into healthcare.

          I work for GSK but this conversation and question is because of personal interest and represents my own views.

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