By BETH RUDLOFF,
Innovation Executive, MedSpeaks
Orlando might best be known for theme parks and citrus, but the Lake Nona Institute wants to make it a destination for health innovation as well. That is why Amit Sood MD, Michael Rhodin of IBM, Sanjay Gupta, MD, Margaret Truman, and many other well-known health experts will be coming to Lake Nona in mid-February to speak at the invitation only Lake Nona Impact Forum. The forum, now entering its fifth year, is known for bringing together leaders with wide-ranging perspectives to spark new ideas and work on how to apply these ideas in the real world.
Bill Fair, director of Life Sciences Business Development, Lake Nona Medical City, for the Tavistock Development Company says this is much different than the conferences healthcare professionals may be used to attending. Most of the time conference goers pay to attend, the speakers parachute in and out to speak, and you have to pick a certain "track" according to your occupation or special interest group. In contrast, the Lake Nona Impact Forum is a free event for the participants (who are mostly from the C-suite of healthcare companies), and the speakers stay before and after their presentations to participate in discussion. "It's not like a conference, but a conversation," according to Fair, "There is cross-pollination that is thought provoking and that can accelerate new and different collaboration and connection."
The topics this year are major issues that can use some innovation:
- The aging population and how we can keep them healthy
- Problem populations that contribute to high healthcare costs, such as diabetics
- Mental health solutions that can really make a difference
- Models to promote drug development
With this cross-pollination of speakers, attendees and topics, new breakthroughs can happen.
The innovation skyline of Lake Nona has been growing and developing at a rapid pace in the last seven years. Bill talks about "not just a constellation of buildings, but a weaving of the fabric of an innovation community." The forum will be held at the Veterans Health Administration simHEALTH Center, the Guidewell Innovation Center, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, United States Tennis Association National Campus, and University of Florida Research and Academic Center, all located within the Lake Nona Medical City.
And this idea generation produces results. An example of the innovations that have come from the forum include the WHIT (Wellness Home Innovation Technology) home, where new technology is put into practice so participants can see how it works and coordinates with other newly developed technologies in a realistic setting, not just a trade show booth or video. The WHIT home opened in the fall and has two "living" areas, one where prototypes are being developed, and one to demonstrate those new technologies that have been moved from testing to real world use.
What other health companies are making the investment in new technologies with a Lake Nona address? Nemours Children's Hospital, Florida Hospital's Health Park, UCF's Burnett School of Biomedical Science are some of the larger entities calling Lake Nona home, which is helping Lake Nona's reputation as a national model where serious medical innovation takes place. After this year's Impact Forum, we may see even more.