Recognized as one of the leading academically-based digital health think tanks nationwide, the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Body Computing (CBC), part of Keck Medicine of USC, tomorrow hosts its 9th Annual USC CBC Conference. The one-day summit convenes a diverse group influencing the future of health and medicine with speakers in industrial design, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, app development, social media engagement, wearable technology, athletic sports performance, patient advocacy, robotic surgery and venture capitalists. They are joined by Academy Award-winning producers and Big Data experts to discuss and showcase the latest innovations in digital health solutions that are transforming health and medicine by better engaging consumers in the mission to advance medicine.

“Digital health solutions are fueling patient health education, engagement and empowerment and USC Center for Body Computing is at the forefront of this technology revolution in medicine and research,” said Michael Quick, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs for USC. “Every year this conference draws national and international experts who share solutions that drive medical science innovation and define health care transformation.”

The USC CBC, founded in 2006, is a digital health innovation incubation center that collaborates with various partners to research concepts in consumer-empowered health as well as commercialize wireless health products. Funding for digital health solutions is expected to nearly double in the next few years — from $3.5 billion in start-ups in 2014 to $6.5 billion in 2017. The demand is met with equal force on the patient side, with 75 percent of patients expecting digital solutions in the near future, according to a recent report from McKinsey & Company.

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“Technology has introduced a new era in medicine and especially in the role patients can and should play in their own health stories,” said Leslie A. Saxon, MD, a cardiologist and founder/executive director of USC CBC. “Being able to scale medical research to include potentially hundreds of thousands of participants via mobile smartphone and app technology or see 100 patients daily instead of just 20 via a virtual care clinic concept, not only gives physicians more insights and therefore more efficiency in treating and diagnosing but also gives patients more personalized information about their specific health needs.”

Key themes and speakers at this year’s conference include:

  • Virtual care clinic – a collaboration of several technology partners and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), the USC CBC announces the formation of a first-of-its-kind virtual hospital with health data being fed via wearable and injectable technology. Concept includes a demonstration of a hologram of Dr. Saxon using AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality) to greatly increase the number of patients seen daily and increase personalized health care solutions.
  • Biogram app – Developed in collaboration with Medable Inc., this photo-sharing app available on the App Store, engages users to capture biometrics by embedding user heart rates into photos and sharing them via social media. Created using ResearchKit, the USC CBC will conduct research with iPhone users who use Biogram and HealthKit on their smartphones. The demo and discussion will focus on how sharing biometrics publicly shapes personal relationships and experiences in a social community.
  • Wearable technology and mobile health – Last month USC CBC announced a major collaboration with The Shop, the innovation lab of VSP Globalâ. The collaboration will include Project Genesis, the first wearable prototype to seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology into the temple of an optical frame, and the Virtual Care Clinic project. VSP Global CEO, Jim McGrann joins a panel discussion on building virtual health care systems.
  • First-ever USC VR Hackathon – After more than 30 hours of the “Hacking Virtual Medicine” competition October 3-8 co-sponsored by USC ICT – the winner will present his/her concept for the $10,000 grant prize.
  • Digital performance technology and elite athletics – ESPN NBA analyst Tom Haberstoh interviews NFL, NBA and MLB sports experts to discuss aligning digital health and performance technology solutions among leagues, teams and players.
  • Warfighter training and resiliency-military veterans and experts discuss the role of digital training and health tools to optimize training and support warfighter health throughout the cycle of training, deployment and post deployment health. Co-moderated by the Honorable Patrick Murphy, President Obama’s nominee for Undersecretary of the Army.

Other highlights include presentations and panel discussions with speakers from AliveCor, Proteus Digital Health, Tastemade, USC Cinematic Arts, Academy Award-winning producer Ed Saxon (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), Karten Design, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Life Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Beyers, Keck Medicine of USC robotic surgeons, Harvard Medical School, and other digital health leaders.

by Sherri Snelling