FutureMed, Day 4

Here is the last day:

Lucien Engelen was the first speaker today.  He emphasized the importance of listening to what patients have to say rather than making assumptions.  The only constant in healthcare is the patients.  In addition, remember the 7 + 7 rule:  Start now, +7 years graduate, +15 years before you have any authority as a provider.  Dr. Jack Kreindler came after him and his main point was to never underestimate the power of exponential advances and yourself.  Next was Bill Davenhell who said, “In health and sickness, everything happens somewhere”.  His point was that it is not only genes that determine what illness a patient may be more likely to contract, but also the environment that they are located in.  Certain locations carry specific health risks and healthcare providers need to enhance their data with a geological health record in order to properly allocate resources and specialists to proper locations.  Glen Tullman came afterwards and stated that the tools we need to improve the system already exist and it is only a matter of using them.  Then, another 4 doctors took the stage and said that we shouldn’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to improving healthcare.  Then, Jamie Heywood came to speak and had a rather alarming revelation which hits home in the field of study I happen to pursue, along with countless other students, professors, and providers:  50 to 80% of research results are insignificant.  This is due to a lack of quality control in trials.  We need double-blind, placebo-controlled experiments.  Plus, animal data does not always translate to humans.  As of 1998, there were ~98,000 medical errors made.  Now, there are around 210,000 potentially fatal errors made annually.  His main point was that if a person cannot measure something, they should not tout it as evidence.  We need to look at how engineers work and attempt to model our system after their methods.  Look at and narrow down our targets.  Also, make sure the results are measurable.

This conference was one of the best times of my life and I look forward to attending again at some point in the future.  There were many revelations triggered by these brilliant speakers and I saw many things in the current system that need changing.  The future is now and our generation of undergraduate students, with the help of the past generations of graduate students, medical students, professors, and doctors, will ensure that it will improve vastly from history and open our species up to a bright new age of science and progress that changes the human condition for the better.

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