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Body Computing Conference on September 23 and 24, 2010
by Anne DeGheest
18 September 2010





On September 23, I will be a panel judge at the Body Computing Slam at USC. The Body Computing Slam is an opportunity for up-and-coming networked medicine research teams, project groups, companies, and thought teams to present their work in front of investors.

The Body Computing Conference will start on September 24 at USC.

"Body Computing" refers to an implanted wireless device, which can transmit up-to-the-second physiologic data to physicians, patients, and patients' loved ones.

Rich in innovating technological resources, American healthcare possesses an unprecedented amount of resources and talent, and yet it has a fractured communication system that plagues outcomes, impedes progress and prevents patient satisfaction. A physician talking with a barely-clothed patient in an exam room is an antiquated model that does not always produce the best medical care. There is a medical and economic need to update the modes of communication between patients and physicians, as well as how patients' health is managed.
Body computing can forever change the interaction between physicians and patients. Where electronic medical records have made it possible to transfer clinical data rapidly, networked devices can take this further: completing the loop by virtually eliminating the need for paper charts, desktop computers, pagers and cell phones to convey crucial information. In cases of emergency, response time is expedited tenfold as the implanted device provides emergency care physicians with the patient's health status before the patient even arrives at the Emergency Room. On a personal level, imagine waking up every morning and receiving real-time data about a loved one on your cell phone or PDA, and the worry this new technology can assuage.

Although body computing is a relatively nascent field that raises many new issues, the caliber of speakers at USC's Body Computing Conference is a testament to the interest among business leaders, entrepreneurs, the investment community, physicians and scholars.

The USC Body Computing Conference will bring together distinguished representatives from the fields of wireless and biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, investment banking, and governmental organizations to educate and discuss all prospects, concerns, and long-term effects that would accompany networked physiologic monitoring as it takes its place in the advancement of the medical community.

With this advancement, certain issues will be raised:

Improved Quality of Life for Patients

  • How can networked physiologic monitoring to networked communication systems eliminate the gap in patient to physician communication and physician to physician communication?
  • How does this new technology empower patients to understand their health complications and become more active in the treatment of those complications?
  • How can we strengthen not only the patient-physician relationship, but the relationship between patients and their loved ones? By incorporating body computing features into cellular phones and other portable electronic devices, can we strengthen the communication between patients and their loved ones?
  • How can we design a device that is more than just a physiologic monitoring system, but a life management tool and appliance the patient relates to, is comforted by, and enjoys using? How can entertainment be incorporated into cardiac monitoring devices to entice patients to use them?

Effects on Medical Practice

  • Family members and physicians would be alerted to any changes in the patient's health that would require emergency assistance. Images, data, and appropriate treatment would already be prepared when the patient arrives at the hospital, saving valuable time that could mean the difference between life and death.
  • How can body computing affect areas outside the realm of cardiology, such as athletics? Can the trainer to athlete relationship be enhanced through data gathered via body computing technology?
  • What changes in medical practice are necessary to make body computing a more pronounced part of people's lives? Are physicians ready to allow patients to have greater autonomy in managing their own care? In the long run, how will body computing reduce medical costs?
  • How do we educate and involve the medical community about new possibilities available because of body computing?
  • How do we assess improvement in patient care with real-time physiological management versus traditional care methods?
  • How do we negotiate the legal, ethical, societal, and privacy issues that will be raised as body computing advances?
  • What are the models for investing in body computing technology when diagnostics and therapeutic aspects in the technology challenge conventional models?

In addition to surgically implanted monitoring devices, body computing can take the form of a smart pill , which, when swallowed, monitors which medications the patient has taken as well as other health status updates, and sends the data wirelessly to the physician for analysis or intervention alerts.

The USC Body Computing Conference will address these issues and provide a forum for the world's foremost scientific thinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, authors and others working in the field of body computing to discuss the steps necessary to give body computing a staunch and compelling foundation in the future of medical science

tagsTopics: Conferences

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