I recently spoke at TEDMED13, the healthcare and medical focused conference of the broader TED organization.  Now, I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people, but I have to admit that I was a little star struck.  The thrill of shaking hands with Aneesh Chopra, the chief technology officer for the United States, and Dr. Francis Collins, director at the National Institute of Health, was like a dream come true for this doctor.  And just as exciting was my brief interaction with legendary health and fitness guru Richard Simmons.

I was honored to be among this inspiring and passionate group of innovators, educators, and entrepreneurs gathered in an intimate setting to collaborate and share ideas.  Traditionally, the TedMed conference brings together entrepreneurs and innovative startups; this year they added a panel consisting of global companies that are impacting healthcare either by bringing healthcare technology to market in a scalable manner or by influencing their corporate cultures by motivating lifestyle changes of their employees.

These issues have never been more timely,  as the first of the baby boomer generation reaches retirement and national healthcare costs are expected to continue to ramp up.  The time is ripe to re-engage and take an honest look at tangible mobile technology solutions that help you, the patient, work in collaboration with your doctor to use technology as a reliable resource for healthcare delivery.

After an exciting hour-long discussion, the key takeaways from the conversation include:

1. Stop and gain perspective.

Successful innovation in healthcare comes from a personal investment and a genuine understanding of who it is we are innovating for.  Gathering data is just a part of that process, but what is more critical is how we use the information and match it with resources to put that innovative new idea in motion.  At the end of the day, the collection of data means nothing if we can’t connect it across the healthcare continuum and make it mean something to the people who need the information most.

2. Look for ways to make the process better.

It isn’t enough to strive for adoption. To be a leader in healthcare innovation, we have to ask questions and challenge whether or not our solutions are making better doctors, stronger patients, and connected payers. With each solution developed, we are constantly asking the healthcare industry to invest and adopt new methods., Companies must carefully evaluate how each party – patient, physician and payer – has a stake in what is being brought to the table in order to become a change agent.

3. Listen to others.

To create sustainable and meaningful solutions, we must find a platform to build on. Rather than re-inventing from the ground up, start from the middle relying on larger resources such as our wireless networks to bring solutions to life. One way we can be effective is to search for partners that are going after the same innovative ideas and work with them to energize a larger constituency and make an impact.

AT&T ForHealth is a practice area of our business that is constantly paving new roads. We continue to ask questions along the way to bring effective, affordable and seamless ways to administer care to our loved ones.

Collaboration drives success and we encourage you to weigh in on the conversation. What are ways you think we can move healthcare innovation to the next level?