Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Magic of Science and Empathy

The design of health-care environments tends to serve technological needs instead of patient needs, suggests Bob Schwartz of GE Healthcare, speaking at the Personalized Health Care Conference at Ohio State University. But change is on its way.

Click on the link to see the Twitter conversation about his talk.

The Crazy Ones

I am fascinated by people who are deep and very different thinkers who act on their beliefs – Steve Jobs, Lee Hood, Atul Gawande, Dave Snowden, Ann Pendleton, Bob Schwartz, Naseem Taleb, Clay Christenson, Dan Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, Jane McGonigal, Chris Anderson, Randy Avent and many others. The quality they share is they create the context and the tools to understand the world. Many think them visionary. I think they are fearless, driven by a very fundamental vision of what is and what could be. Lee Hood told me once that the most fun project is the one that people think is impossible and that if we can see it, anything is possible – I agree with him. Steve Jobs celebrated these people in an Apple commercial, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones.”

Our Personalized Health Care Conference is focused on inviting such thinkers to gather and apply their magic to create medicine that can change the world – heavy on connecting and customizing to the individual but also powered by highly precise technologies that will allow us to transition from treating a disease to predicting and preventing it. As always, this year’s conference will bring together diverse disciplines and perspectives – here are just a few topics that we’ll be talking about:

Chris Anderson, Author and Former Editor-in-chief, Wired
“The Long Tail and Consumer Interactions”

Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Walter H. Kidd Professor, Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University
David Snowden, Founder and CSO, Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd.
“Weak Signal Detection in Health Care Ecologies”

Bob Schwartz, MA; General Manager of Global Design & User Experience, GE Healthcare
“The Magic of Science and Empathy”

José Colucci Jr. Associate Partner and Director, Health & Wellness, IDEO
“Design Thinking Approach to Health Care”

We are excited to have a dynamic group convened at our conference to discuss these issues that can change the future of medicine. We invite you to join us and partner to deliver medicine that matters.

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MarshClay1 for web_wm

Clay Marsh, MD; Chief Innovation Officer, Executive Director of the IDEA Studio for Health Care at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Ecosystems for Supported Behavior Change

Imagine an integrated system that can track your personal health, all in a single organized interface. You step on the scale in your bathroom every morning and your weight is wirelessly transmitted to the interface, allowing you to seamlessly and accurately track your weight loss goal. Step out of your imagination—this is reality.

Marc Pierson, MD, is Director of the Center for Innovation for PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and spoke today on “Ecosystems for Supported Behavior Change”—a big title with a simple, yet effective, message.

Dr. Pierson underscored the importance of participation in personalized medicine—participation of the patient seeking care from the health system. He is self-proclaimed community informaticist for over two decades who is looking towards the community to get upstream of illness and improve health care.

Patient participation requires understanding how resilient people are and aiding them with resilience training—training that seeks to strengthen people so that they can deal with adversity. Resilience training is a common practice in the military and strives to improve the ability of patients to deal with illness and improve their lives.

Dr. Pierson’s work emphasizes the utility of patient-driven social networks for disease and wellness by applying information technology. The novelty in his approach is to avoid the common practice to make patients subjects in their health care, and instead make patients participants.

To aid patient participation, Dr. Pierson showed screenshots of a digital platform, the Shared Care Plan from Congral, LLC, that collects health-care data, connects, and coordinates people—putting patients in charge of their health information. This platform is able to collect data from systems like Microsoft HealthVault—the aforementioned integrated system that can track personal health information—in addition to doctor visits and more.

Systems like this have the opportunity to empower patients and health-care professionals by streamlining patient information in a single platform. A diabetic would easily be able to track glucose readings and doctor visits, allowing the patient to better manage disease and simultaneously allowing doctors to provide better care to each individual patient—the ultimate goal of personalized medicine.

This approach is looking at health care in a whole new perspective—from the patients’ eyes. Dr. Pierson is taking health care out of the doctor’s office, out of the hospital, and into the community.

- April Gocha
Ohio State Ph.D. candidate in biomedical science

Promoting P4 Health through Team-based Inter-Professional Education, Practice & Wellness Initiatives

An irony in health care is that clinicians tell patients to change their behavior, but many health-care practitioners aren’t so great at changing their own behavior – especially when it comes to taking an inter-professional approach to education and practice.

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk is doing her part to change this phenomenon. As Associate Vice President for Health Promotion, University Chief Wellness Officer and Dean of Ohio State’s College of Nursing, she is the driving force behind many initiatives designed to make inter-professional education and practice more common.

“This is what we need to keep ramping up at the university,” Melnyk said, noting that “silo-based” education exists across the United States.

Evidence shows inter-professional education and practice leads to higher-quality care, better patient outcomes and decreased costs. The overarching goal: All health-care professionals should be educated to deliver patient-centric care as members of an interdisciplinary team, emphasizing evidence-based practice, quality improvement approaches and informatics.

Early efforts to promote this collaborative approach involve lecturing to groups rather than applying principles in real-world environments, however.

Last year, Ohio State established the Inter-Professional Education and Practice (IPEP) Collaborative. It involves 14 colleges, including seven health sciences colleges, and aims to be a leader in IPE and practice to improve student-learning outcomes and promote the highest level of health and wellness among diverse populations of individuals, groups and communities through transdisciplinary team-based models of care.

Ohio State is also setting up an inter-professional team-based clinic at OSU East Hospital. It will integrate mental health with physical health care – which Melnyk says could be an important answer to addressing obesity. In addition, the university is engaging in training of professionals as part of a broad initiative with other Ohio institutions and state agencies.

The College of Nursing also offers an interdisciplinary introductory course in P4 Medicine that will include lectures delivered by faculty from throughout the various colleges in the university and from the medical center.

Perhaps the most significant inter-professional and cross-university effort at Ohio State is the One University Health & Wellness Council, Melnyk said. The ambitious vision is to be the healthiest university and community on the globe; the mission is to facilitate the highest levels of wellness for faculty, staff and students across the university and community.

This initiative includes a strategic plan with innovative and evidence-based implementation strategies, fueled by a transdisciplinary team; targeting individuals with health risks and chronic conditions; and on-boarding faculty, staff and students in wellness.

As new faculty and staff join the university, “They hear about this university caring about, and being invested in, their health and wellness,” Melnyk said.

Study Pinpoints a Genetic Cause of Most Lethal Brain Tumor— May Lead to New Treatment

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Newswise — New York, NY (July 26, 2012) — Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have discovered that some cases of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of primary brain cancer, are caused by the fusion of two adjacent genes. The study also found that drugs that target the protein produced by this genetic aberration can dramatically slow the growth of glioblastomas in mice. The findings were published today in the online edition of the journal Science.

“Our findings are doubly important,” said study leader Antonio Iavarone, MD, professor of pathology and neurology at CUMC, and a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “From a clinical perspective, we have identified a druggable target for a brain cancer with a particularly dismal outcome. From a basic research perspective, we have found the first example of a tumor-initiating mutation that directly affects how cells divide, causing chromosomal instability. This discovery has implications for the understanding of glioblastoma as well as others types of solid tumors.”

The fusion of these two genes was observed in just three percent of tumors studied, so any therapy based on this particular genetic aberration would apply to only a small subset of glioblastoma patients. “It’s unlikely that we will find a gene fusion responsible for most glioblastomas. But we may be able to discover a number of other gene fusions, each accounting for a small percentage of tumors, and each with its own specific therapy,” said co-senior author Anna Lasorella, MD, associate professor of pathology and pediatrics at CUMC and a member of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative and the HICCC.

“This is a very exciting advance in our understanding of cancer, and perhaps a first step toward a personalized, precision approach to the treatment of glioblastoma,” said Stephen G. Emerson, MD, PhD, director of the HICCC and the Clyde ’56 and Helen Wu Professorship in Immunology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Click here to read more.


Captured by Sherri Kirk

The Ohio State University Department of Biomedical Informatics is the recipient of a prestigious five-year training fellowship award issued by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The highly-competitive funding will be utilized by The Ohio State University College of Medicine to recruit and teach the next generation of biomedical informatics professionals, and will enhance innovative, cutting-edge research being conducted in today’s “living laboratories.”

Ohio State’s Clinical and Translational Research Informatics Training Program (CTRIP) is among only 14 elite academic training programs across the country applying innovative biomedical informatics (BMI) theories and methods to improve overall health outcomes of patients. CTRIP will help recruit expertise in the field of informatics to expand upon an existing research workforce spanning a spectrum from the basic to applied to clinical sciences. According to Dr. Peter Embi, co-director of CTRIP, the training program was strategically designed to combat barriers to efficient and timely conduct of clinical and translational research.

“CTRIP will build on the unique strengths, expertise and resources present on The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center campus and focus on the training of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students in the BMI sub-domains of translational bioinformatics (TBI) and clinical research informatics (CRI).

The NLM selected Ohio State – home to one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive health sciences campuses – to host an informatics training program due largely to its interdisciplinary environment which is conducive to innovation and research, and includes expertise in biology, medicine, computer and information sciences, engineering, quantitative sciences and human behavior. Another quality that attracted NLM’s attention was the academic depth and breadth of faculty from Ohio State’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, many of whom are graduates of NLM-funded training fellowship programs.

“We’re privileged to have an exceptional group of renowned informatics faculty in our department, including several who trained at NLM-funded programs like this one, and we’re excited about contributing to the next generation of informatics training through this new program,” adds Embi.

In 2010, William Hersh defined biomedical informatics as the field that is concerned with the optimal use of information, often aided by the use of technology and people, to improve individual health, health care, public health and biomedical research. Ohio State’s CTRIP focuses specifically on two emergent sub-domains of BMI, TBI and CRI.

TBI refers to the sub-discipline of BMI and focuses on the development of analytic, storage and interpretive methods to optimize the transformation of increasingly voluminous genomic and biological data into diagnostics and therapeutics for the clinicians.

Similarly, CRI is the sub-discipline of BMI that develops, applies and evaluates theories, methods and systems to optimize the design and conduct and clinical research and the analysis, interpretation and dissemination of the information generated.

“By focusing exclusively on the training of a TBI and CRI academic and professional  workforce capable of addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with the rapidly evolving clinical and translational research fields, our graduates will be ideally positioned to lead advancements in biomedical knowledge and the delivery of clinical care informed by the best possible science, ultimately improving the outcomes, quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery,” says Philip Payne, co-director of CTRIP and chairman of Ohio State’s Department of Biomedical Informatics.

Ohio State faculty regularly serve as leaders, advisors and instructors for a variety of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate training programs.  Just as BMI faculty mentor pre- and post-doctoral trainees from a number of other Ohio State departments and centers, including computer science, electrical and computer engineering and statistics, as well as post-doctoral clinicians from all over Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, several faculty from across campus will also mentor students in the CTRIP program.

The National Library of Medicine is the world’s largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. The NLM is the institute within the NIH focused on biomedical informatics research and development, both internally at the NIH and externally, as a major funder of grants and contracts for core BMI research at the national level.

Ohio State’s Department of Biomedical Informatics is a leader in discovering, creating, and applying leading-edge biomedical informatics innovations to improve individuals’ lives through personalized healthcare. For additional information about CTRIP at Ohio State, or to apply to the training program, contact

EKG Can Help Predict Heart Attacks in Healthy Elderly People

Captured by Newswise

Source – University of California, San Francisco

Can a simple diagnostic test used to measure a heart’s electrical activity help predict heart attacks? And can that knowledge help doctors reroute their patients away from coronary heart disease?
These are the questions researchers at UCSF asked in a comprehensive eight-year study focused on senior citizens in the United States. Researchers found a higher risk of heart attack when abnormalities showed up on electrocardiogram (EKG) results of healthy elderly people.

“We did not include them if they reported a previous heart attack,” said lead author Reto Auer, MD, a research fellow at UCSF’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. “So we looked at people who lived independently – not in assisted living facilities – with no history of heart attacks or coronary heart disease.”

The findings, scheduled to be published tomorrow in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (, help answer the question of whether or not EKGs can be used to detect heart disease earlier in patients who don’t have chest pain or other symptoms.
“This research is taking the information from an EKG and adding it to other traditional risk factors to better predict who is going to have a heart attack,” said second author Douglas Bauer, MD, director of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine Research Program.

Researchers studied 2,192 healthy adults aged 70 and older for eight years in Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh. Those with EKG abnormalities had more heart attacks. The results were consistent even when researchers took into account known risk factors for heart attacks, such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

At baseline, 276 (13%) participants had minor and 506 (23%) major EKG abnormalities. During follow-up, 351 participants (16%) had coronary heart disease (CHD) events (96 heart-related deaths, 101 heart attacks, 154 hospitalizations for chest pain or a procedure to restore blood flow to the heart). Both baseline minor and major EKG abnormalities were associated with an increased risk of heart disease after adjusting for traditional risk factors.

Click here to read more.