April 23rd, 2013
TEDMED 2013: Connecting with a Purpose
Last week in Washington D.C., I had the privilege of attending my third annual TEDMED conference on behalf of Johnson & Johnson. TEDMED can best be described as a multi-disciplinary community of innovators who share a common determination to create a better future in health and medicine. The meeting brings together approximately 2,000 delegates in person, plus tens of thousands of additional participants who join globally via remote satellite locations, including events at more than a dozen different Johnson & Johnson facilities across the world.
This year the theme of TEDMED was “Unexpected Connections”, and that is exactly what happened. We spent three days connecting with people to think together, challenge our ideas, build new relationships, and create new beginnings. I was proud that Johnson & Johnson had a very significant presence at this meeting demonstrating our commitment to the TEDMED movement. Many of our most senior leaders actively engaged in collaborative and future-focused discussions with entrepreneurs and start-up companies and our scientists were on hand to showcase our latest technologies and contribute to the dialogue. In the very active networking hub, called the Hive, Johnson & Johnson collaborated with the delegates to explore and experience our company’s latest health innovations and next generation medical solutions – from digital wellness and prevention tools, to early disease diagnostics and innovative therapeutic solutions.
One of the most interesting and unexpected connections I made at TEDMED this year was with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, who I met at the delegate dinner at the National Air and Space Museum (earlier in the day the entire TEDMED community enjoyed seeing Dr. Benjamin have fun with fitness onstage with Richard Simmons). Dr. Benjamin is passionate about the same things that we are at Johnson & Johnson. She has dedicated her whole life to medicine and cares deeply about disease prevention and finding ways to help people live productive, happy and healthy lives. We discussed the criticality of prevention and the importance of quality treatments and she was very interested in our Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager, the mobile platform designed to improve adherence to medication and treatment regimens. She saw the potential for a technology such as this to be a motivator for behavior change, and as a leader with a bias for action, she even downloaded the app onto her mobile phone right on the spot!
In addition to meeting fascinating people, I also enjoyed exploring dozens of innovative technologies on display from the start-up community – there were 50 start-up companies and 97 entrepreneurs giving demonstrations of their business or technology. The thriving startup community is exploring the role of technology and finding new and exciting ways to use it to improve outcomes and people’s lives. One of the most interesting technologies I saw was Sensulin, a drug delivery platform that senses blood glucose and automatically releases on demand insulin triggered by the presence of glucose. It was a very elegant solution for the treatment of diabetes, and I was struck by its simplicity.
Applying new, simple technology to old problems can help pave the way for better outcomes at lower costs.
The passion we experienced all around us at TEDMED is a great motivator as we tackle the challenges associated with the transformation of healthcare. But for that to happen, the enthusiasm, passion and commitment can’t be limited to just the three days of the conference. It needs to be carried over into what the individuals, the companies and the broader community does year round, every day to advance science and healthcare. If you share the passion, join us and get active with TEDMED — a good place to start is by engaging in the online dialogue about what they are defining as the 20 Great Challenges which are defined as the most complex, persistent problems that have medical and non-medical causes, impact millions of lives, and affect the well-being of all of America – beginning with patients, and extending to families and citizens everywhere. The Great Challenges Program encourages everyone’s input — doctors, scientists and researchers, technology innovators, business and government leaders, patients, legal experts, representatives of the armed forces, etc.
As TEDMED drew to a close, my colleagues at Johnson & Johnson and I were humbled and excited at the opportunity before us to truly transform healthcare. I am certain that healthcare of the 21st century will be less about competition and more about collaboration, and less about creating a product and more about delivering a health outcome. I am more optimistic than ever that we can move healthcare forward by succeeding as one global health ecosystem with a common vision for a healthier tomorrow. And at Johnson & Johnson, we will continue to move healthcare forward by caring for the world, one person at a time.
Read more about TEDMED on the event blog: http://blog.tedmed.com
Watch an interview with Johnson & Johnson’s Bill Hait, Global Head, R&D Janssen: