TED talks are all about ideas worth spreading. From self-help techniques to innovation in science and technology, TED talks are now considered a congregation for some of the greatest minds in the world. With one of the biggest healthcare conferences (HIMSS) just around the corner, here’s our selection of four of the best TED talks every Health IT leader should watch.

Visualizing the Medical Data Explosion

This talk covers how analyzing medical data has changed over the years due to medical data explosion. A single CT scan generates 25,000 images of the human body, which is equivalent to 20 GB data. All this data helps the healthcare teams to extract relevant information, given the right equipment. Anders Ynnerman also discusses sophisticated new tools like virtual autopsies, which enable physical autopsies and forensic evaluations. They also help to locate metal fragments embedded in a body. The speaker demonstrates touch devices which help with diagnoses, and an MRI which maps brain activity and how the neurons are working, when the person is engaged in certain activities.

Key Takeaway: Health IT has really helped in delivering scores of data related to patients and diseases but learning to analyze that data correctly is the next step in the evolution of new age healthcare models

Let’s Pool our Medical Data

From Avicenna in 980 AD to Carlos Finlay in the 1800s, man has tried to understand disease to treat it. Finlay pioneered the concept of “informed consent”, paving the way for performing clinical studies on human beings, to further our understanding of disease. Today, doctors aim to snuff out the disease itself, by studying genomes which carry the weight of a legacy, trailing over generations and even millennia. But data confidentiality is hampering the possibility of finding innovative new treatments, by hiding the connections between diseases. Privacy is important, but data needs to be shared, if we want to find a real cure to a disease. Can people voluntarily share their medical records and data through standardized legal tools and standardized technology? When Vanderbilt ran a study, which asked for bio-samples for a bio-bank, only 5% of people refused.

Key Takeaway: John Wilbanks founded the world’s first fully digital, fully self-contributed, global and ethically approved clinical research study where people can directly contribute data. This is done through express consent, and people can upload their personal medical history and join an effort to move forward in health as a society, creating a Wikipedia for medical research which contributes to the greater good.

It’s Time to Redesign Medical Data

This talk is about behavioral barriers which make most patients disobey a doctor’s advice. Can we provide information to people and educate them to make better choices and better decisions in life? It’s intriguing because dentists got people to brush and floss their teeth, but other disciplines haven’t seen similar success.. The TED talk focuses on how efficient people are more compliant and personalized information works better than fear-mongering. It’s important to specify individualized points of action, by building an emotional connect with options, choices, benefits and trade-offs. It’s also necessary to create a feedback loop, which connects the information with the action. For this to succeed, we need personalized data. We need to clearly tell people what the drug is for and who it is good for and then offer the statistics on its effectiveness and also its side effects. Same goes for lab test results too.

Key Takeaway: Redesigned medical data is a powerful catalyst for change and tackling behavioural barriers is a pre-requisite to bring about that change.

Soon, We’ll Cure Diseases with a Cell not Pill

This talk by Siddartha Mukherjee shows how antibiotics have made us believe that stopping a disease is all about popping a pill. But only 0.025 percent of all chemical reactions in our body can be targeted by this method.  We are now turning to immunotherapy from chemotherapy, bringing spectacular new medicines to treat cancer. Pills are no more the answer to depression,  and this TED talk examines why we need to re-look at kidney failure, diabetes, hypertension, and osteoarthritis too.

Key Takeaway: The time has come to treat diseases with a cell and not a pill. Encouraging the growth of some cells, or stopping some from growing  makes the treatment of disease individualized, immersive and genome-based.