Transform 2012

Mayo Monday: Dr. Alex Jadad

Alex Jadad, M.D., a physician, innovator, educator and public advocate, is the Canada Research Chair in eHealth Innovation at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network, where he is the chief innovator and founder of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation. He spoke at the Mayo Transform 2012 on the topic of “Do we really know what we mean by ‘health’?” Enjoy!

Mayo Monday: John Hockenberry

Welcome to our new feature on the Steelcase Health blog, Mayo Mondays! So much interesting and insightful content was presented during the Transform 2012 symposium, and we will be highlighting it bit by bit over the next several months.

John Hockenberry, the host of public radio’s live morning news program “The Takeaway”, was the moderator for the conference and did a terrific job with introducing the speakers and then engaging in a dialogue with them afterwards to dig even deeper into their topic. In this video, he welcomes attendees to the Transform 2012 Symposium hosted by Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation.

Day 2 at Mayo Clinic’s Transform 2012

Steelcase Health features prominently in collection of Transform 2012 supporters.


Dr. Alex Jadad, Chief Innovator and Founder, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, speaks on Monday at Transform 2012.


Dr. Adam Darkins, Chief Consultant, Care Coordination Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, speaks about the VA’s efforts with telehealth to reach rural veterans.

Monday was another great day at Transform 2012 at the Mayo Clinic. Great speakers, great breakout sessions, great moderation and guidance by John Hockenberry, even great snacks during the networking breaks. (Seriously, they treat us right here in Minnesota.)

We’ll be highlighting the insights of these speakers throughout the fall here on the Steelcase Health blog, with a feature we’re calling Mayo Mondays. Be sure to check back in next Monday for our first installment, featuring a great speaker from Transform 2012!

Transform 2012 Keynote Address: Congressman Dick Gephardt

Congressman Richard A. Gephardt

Dick Gephardt, the longtime Congressman from Missouri, was the keynote speaker on Sunday, during the opening session of Transform 2012. During his time in the House of Representatives, Gephardt was a chief architect of landmark reforms of education, energy independence, and healthcare, among others, and he gave an impassioned speech on healthcare in this country, including things he thinks are good and things he thinks are bad, and also trends he sees shaping the future of healthcare in this country.

Throughout his talk, he kept coming back to the patient as the most important part of any healthcare situation. The founders of the Mayo Clinic, the brothers Dr. William and Dr. Charles Mayo, “first, last, and always cared about the patient first,” Gephardt said.

Health is the most important thing on the planet – it’s the most desired product, the most unique product, the most emotional product…the list goes on. Gephardt noted that although the US is not alone in not having their healthcare system figured out, this country does find itself in several unique positions when it comes to spending its healthcare dollars. For instance, 30% of Medicare expenditures are spent in the last 30 days of a patient’s life. Additionally, 80% of all healthcare dollars are spent on just 20% of the population. These statistics are surprising and don’t seem sustainable for much longer, given our tenuous budget situation.

Things Gephardt thinks are good:

  • Life expectancy is up, approaching nearly 80 years old. People are living longer, so obviously we are doing a good job keeping our citizens alive longer.
  • We are doing that despite not many breakthroughs in cures in recent years. That means we are doing a good job managing chronic conditions.
Things Gephardt thinks are bad:
  • Medical inflation is off the charts. Insurance premiums continue to increase at near double digit rates, and sooner rather later this will put the US in an intractable fiscal disaster.
  • Efforts towards prevention and wellness don’t quite reach their desired result. It’s simply too easy to cheat on that latest fad diet.
  • The system is very disorganized. It’s the only cottage industry accounting for 17% of our GDP. It’s very localized, there are few national players and thus there isn’t much continuity in the system.
Positive trends for the future:
  • The information revolution along with positive effects from the Affordable Care Act will help top national organizations push best practices and innovative successes to the national level.
  • National Institute of Health research will continue, although Gephardt supports increasing funding for the NIH.
  • He sees the possibility of increasing quality and holding down costs through managed care, and gains in efficiency.
  • A side benefit of the boom in healthcare spending is the increase in healthcare jobs, which has helped to hold many communities together in the wake of lost manufacturing jobs.

Many thanks to Congressman Gephardt for his remarks. Stay tuned for even more to come from Transform 2012!



Day 1 at Mayo Clinic’s Transform 2012

How will YOU transform healthcare?

John Hockenberry, the award-winning journalist and commentator, opened the Transform 2012 symposium, hosted by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, in the following eloquent fashion: “The engine for Transform is to be ready for the unexpected, the unpredictable. We must allow for throwing out the rules, to seek the cutting edge. We must think differently, think about what priorities need to be addressed not only today but 5 years from today.”

Transform 2012. Designing Solutions. Inspiring Health.

I attended a Science Sunday talk, moderated by Hockenberry and featuring 4 researchers from Mayo with cutting edge results to report. The most interesting and, quite frankly, understandable to a lay person such as myself, was Virend Somers’ presentation on sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, and their connection to obesity. It makes sense actually – technology and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter continue to develop, and are used obsessively by a lot of people, especially young people, even getting to the point where people would rather tweet and poke than catch some zzzzzzzz’s. This widespread sleep deprivation has correlated pretty much in lockstep with the obesity epidemic in this country. It’s not a perfect cause-and-effect relationship, but Somers’ research clearly showed that less sleep leads to an increased hunger the following day, which in turn leads to the obesity.

What he said about sleep apnea was even scarier. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked and results in pauses in breathing, which can last for mere seconds up to even minutes. That’s where the risk occurs. Sleep apnea causes the risk of sudden death overnight to skyrocket, compared to those who breathe normally while sleeping. Obese individuals, with lower muscle tone in their airways, are at a high risk of sleep apnea. (Click here for cures and treatment options.) Gotta hit the hotel gym tomorrow morning!

The walk from the hotel to the Mayo Clinic Civic Center in beautiful downtown Rochester.

All in all, it was a fascinating day. As Hockenberry said, “Innovation is not simply inspiration but a group of people working together to achieve a common goal.” Stayed tuned for more great news tomorrow.


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