I came across an interesting list this morning: The 20 Great Challenges of Health and Medicine for 2012 from TEDMED. (Yes, it is part of Ted Conferences, LLC. An independent TedX event was just hosted last weekend here in Bend.)
TEDMED is a gathering of though-leaders, held once a year. The participants are a community of people who are “passionate about imagining the future of health and medicine”, and there’s no set “agenda”; instead, TEDMED “seeks to serve the nation—and the world—by creating a safe place where people with very different ideas can come together to talk, to learn and to celebrate the amazing world we live in.”
For me, the TED talks can get a bit fluffy, but their intentions are rock solid. For 2012, TEDMED introduced the Great Challenges Program, which identifies 20 great challenges in the field of health and medicine for the current year. How do they pick them? Well, at the 2011 TEDMED conference, 50 knowledgeable individuals served as Advocates for 50 different proposed “Great Challenges”. The Advocates spend a few days lobbying the onsite TEDMED Delegates, who then vote for the final 20 Great Challenges. A lively national dialogue is generated around the chosen 20, and a series of multidisciplinary webinars dedicated to the Great Challenges are held with a vast array of scientists, healthcare professionals, teachers, and politicians.
The list for 2012 does include a collection of obvious cultural and societal issues that we’re all aware of (Impact of Poverty on Health, The Obesity Crisis, Promoting Active Lifestyles), but it also touches on some less public healthcare issues that are still at the core of the “Great Challenges”.
Some of the more interesting Challenges picked include:
Whole-Patient Care (how can we treat the whole patient rather than the disease?)
The Future of Personalized Medicine (How can the wealth of medical information be factored into patient medical records and into everyday care — more quickly, more usefully and more completely?)
Faster Adoption of Best Practices (Even when best practices are identified and publicized, many providers seem slow to adopt them. What can we do to capture millions of improvements per year and make best practices available to benefit many more providers and patients?)
Here is the comprehensive list of the final 20 Great Challenges of Health and Medicine for 2012.
And the 30 not picked? A list of very well deserving topics.
To read in-depth about the subjects that made the list, visit challenges.tedmed.com.
What do you think deserves to be here? Anything that got left off?