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Monday, September 30, 2013

Future Med Conference at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego

The future med conference this year is at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. The Core Track of the conference is very eHealth relevant:

  • Introduction to Exponentials on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 3D Printing, and IT Data Driven Health 
  • Future of Oncology 
  • Personalized Medicine 
  • Mobile Health & Body Computing 
  • Design Thinking and Tech Integration (i.e. Google Glass in Healthcare) 
  • Future of Intervention 
  • NeuroMedTech 
  • Regenerative Medicine 
  • Future of Pharma & Clinical Trials
  •  Global Health Impact of Technology on the Practice of Medicine 

I had heard that San Diego is a great place for conferences, but what I think is the real star of this conference is the Hotel! The Del Coronado is made of wood - over a hundred years old - and it's on the beach!

Now, this conference is going to set you back $4500 as an ordinary registrant for the four days. The last time I went to a 4 day conference happened to be in Boston. Paid by my institution, it was over $1000. It had stellar presentations and I will never forget the keynote presentation by Dr. Judah Folkman who talked about how the Institutional Review Board at his university (Harvard), instead of doing it's usual rubber stamp bureaucratic handling of a research protocol, made recommendations to the scientist that actually lead to the permanent end of a terminal illness that affected kids. I digress. What I mean is, unless you are paying the VIP price of over $8000 dollars, you might get a valuable experience without feeling like you've been robbed at this conference.

And that VIP experience made me think of a TV program I was watching the other day - more and more digression but this has an eHealth element - CPAC channel actually, which is a dedicated Canadian politics channel, that featured a live broadcast from the United Nations on Maternal Health. On the same panel with our Prime Minister Stephen Harper was Melinda Gates. Melinda spoke about how she personally observed how simple cell phone and text messaging used by women in Kenya/Tanzania was leading to all kinds of health improvements. Exactly! It is Communications Technology that is needed, as well as the vaccines and the mosquito nets. There is your eHealth element.

But what this made me also think about - and there is no eHealth dimension to this really (except maybe the Science fiction movie Elysium again - is the book I am reading "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Eveyrone Else" by Chrystia Freeland. Maybe I thought, the Future Med conference is one of those Davos / TED / Gilded Age kind of meeting places on the Global circuit. Perhaps not, but digression will now cease.