Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Event Spotlight: USC Body Computing Conference 6.0

USC's Dr. Leslie Saxon and Ken Persen of Cameron Health showcase implantable defibrillation technology at the USC Body Computing Conference. Photo by USC Center for Body Computing.

To prosper as a competitive society, we have to become experts in managing data. For physicians, that data has to be clinically relevant.

Healthcare executives shared these insights and more Oct. 5 at the annual USC Body Computing Conference. CHI is a proud supporter of the annual conference, which gathers leaders from medicine, entertainment, telecommunications, kinesiology, and the regulatory world to shape the future of wireless medical solutions.

For the sixth year, Dr. Leslie Saxon, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and founder of the USC Center for Body Computing, led a discussion about wireless health and how it is changing healthcare monitoring and delivery.

Thomas E. Jackiewicz, senior vice president and chief executive officer for USC Health, said he expects that personalization will be the standard of care for cancer care in the next five years. Genomic medicine will outpace the federal meaningful use electronic health records incentives program, he said.

Dr. David Agus, professor of medicine and engineering with USC and co-founder of personal genetics company Navigenics, shared how far the industry has come in advancing medical treatments by reminding the audience how early pregnancy tests were administered – using rabbits.

Today, he said, we can sequence tumors and gather data that informs healthcare decision-making.

“We now have the technology to look at all the proteins in the body,” he said.

Some of the technologies showcased by conference presenters included brain monitoring devices to get inside the minds of elite athletes, technology platforms that allow for better integration of the hospital patient in team discussions and treatments, and devices for wirelessly monitoring the body’s vital signs in real-time.

One of the more interesting concepts on display at the conference was Nigel, a Mini Cooper equipped with 230 sensors and an iPhone app to monitor driver habits and even create specific driving games or suggest activities for each of the car’s drivers. The idea could also apply to a driver’s health, said Saxon, by tracking the driver’s heart rate and increasing awareness about how the body responds to a song, for example. There is a “huge unmet need” for patients to be better connected with their own health, she said.

Sam Agutu says Changamka has changed the healthcare paradigm for uninsured Kenyans. Photo by USC Center for Body Computing.

Sam Agutu, managing director and CEO of Changamka Microhealth Ltd., captivated the audience with his healthcare “by the slice” approach to combining mobile money systems with prepaid health cards that allow uninsured Kenyans to pay only for the healthcare services they need, at pre-negotiated rates.

During a question-and-answer session with a senior level U.S. Food and Drug Administration representative, attendees asked about the various pathways for approval of these new technologies. Megan Moynahan, associate director for technology and innovation at the FDA, encouraged the audience to continue to push the boundaries of innovation so that the agency is forced to reckon with the latest cutting-edge ideas.

The USC Center for Body Computing, which runs the conference, studies, incubates, and creates wireless health products with other USC schools and corporate partners. It specializes in creating innovative solutions for chronic disease management, sports monitoring, mHealth and gaming and entertainment. Click here for more information.

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