By, Duane Schulz, vice president, Marketing Operations, Xerox

This is my 11th TED event and my passion is finding ways to use imagination to change the world.

This week, I am in Washington, DC and spending every waking moment at the Kennedy Center, where Xerox is a major sponsor of TEDMED.  For those who aren’t familiar with TEDMED, it is a gathering of 1,500 remarkable people from across the globe who gather to discuss and imagine the future of healthcare and medicine.  

Everyone keeps asking me why Xerox is here.   The answer is honestly very simple and it is all about making healthcare simple.   We started our journey changing the way that work gets done in offices with the invention of the plain paper copier.  We are in the process of doing the same thing today with the processes that create the backbone of healthcare.  We are involved in innovating patient care technology, electronic medical records management, claims processing and government health care services just to name a few.

We are here to bring together key partners, healthcare CIOs, healthcare providers, and our own innovators in healthcare technology to join the conversation at TEDMED with a focus on how we can simplify the healthcare system and drive us all forward.

TEDMED has been a moving event filled with great stories and great hope for the future.  Probably the thing that brings me the most hope is what I am hearing about the power of using all the big data and information in healthcare and putting it to work in ways that make it easier to improve care and change the complex system that exists today.   

One of the best talks so far was Todd Park’s (United States CTO) pair of brief, energetic presentations.   Todd spoke about his Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthcare Data Initiative project,  taking government healthcare data and sharing it with entrepreneurs across the globe.  The goal of the project was to unlock this data and let the world’s best technology minds have access to it so they could use it to develop tools that would transform the industry. 

I also spoke to a former HHS staff member now working in healthcare IT in Berkeley.  My take away from that discussion was that we need to make it easy for everyone involved in patient care to benefit from the “big data” that is available.  It must be good data; it needs to be useful, and ultimately helpful in driving decisions to positively impact the patient experience.  

 What I have learned from the health information delegates at TEDMED is that their challenge is to find ways to make the tools they develop useful.  Part of this means change for the healthcare workforce (nurses, doctors, physician assistants, insurance companies, pharmacists).  New skills and training are going to be required so that they can take full advantage of what technology has to offer.  

 I am inspired by my time at TEDMED.  There are so many people talking about the causes of the ‘cause’ of the problem.  I like the idea of dealing with root causes of healthcare issues.   Medical professionals are talking about things that matter such as access to healthy, affordable, food and the need to exercise regularly – getting at the “causes of the cause” of disease.  I find that the next generation of medical professionals are more ‘socially’ oriented and holistic in their approach to care.  The TEDMED community is the right place for Xerox to be so that we can help drive the future of healthcare and improve people’s lives through better health and wellness.