Today I am in Rochester, MN, at the world-famous Mayo Clinic, taking in part in a "collaborative symposium" on health care called Transform.

David Rosenman, a physician who runs the Mayo's new Center for Innovation, had the idea to gather a bunch of smart, engaged people to exchange ideas on "new models of health care."  This is not just about the relative merits of Obama's proposal for universal coverage.  Rather, it's about the role of innovation, new technologies, what types of experts might provide what types of services in the future (even patients?), and how to change "Design Thinking" in the medical world. In other words, just my cup of tea!  (check out the lineup of speakers and topics here)

gone-fishing-signThe keynote will be delivered by Clayton Christensen, a Harvard business professor, Rhodes scholar, innovation expert and author of five best-selling books including The Innovator's Prescription — which is by many accounts the best treatise ever on how to reform this country's mess of a health care system in a way that makes financial AND medical sense.

I am thrilled to be following Dr. Christensen on the bill, in a session titled "Redefining Roles." The very fact that a patient blogger follows an esteemed business and policy expert like Prof. Christensen at an event like this bears witness that roles are indeed being redefined.

Our segment will address "the evolution of health care delivery systems — particularly hospitals — from geographically-centered and costly entities to decentralized and more focused operations." This could include health clinics in shopping malls around the country, for example.

Also, we'll be talking about Christensen's notion of "facilitated networks" — online communities of people who help teach one another about how to live with their diseases.  I'm there to illustrate how these networks function, and why they are so powerful.  You'll all be with me in spirit, of course!

Our segment will also "explore the notion that health care can be designed to minimize the degree to which it disturbs peoples' lives."  Ya think?!  We PWDs couldn't agree more.

As Christensen (himself a type 1 diabetic) points out: there's no sense in building fancy tools for things that people don't really want to do. For example, do we PWDs really want to manage complex spreadsheets of glucose data and spend hours pouring over those with qualified doctors? Not really.  Rather, we want two things: 1) to live better with diabetes (quality of life), and 2) to accomplish improved BG control to avoid complications (stay healthy).  Right!  Design to those goals and you've hit paydirt!

Any way you slice it, I expect many interesting thoughts to come out of the Transform event, so look for an update later this week.



UPDATE 9/17/09:

The videos of all the conference talks are posting now, for your viewing pleasure, here.


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.