A Student’s Perspective: Frank Moss of the MIT Media Lab Makes Health Innovation A Collaborative Effort

Stephanie Vatz is a student at Columbia’s School of Journalism. She is one of ten students providing on the ground coverage of SMWNYC- all from the student’s perspective. She is providing her report from Frank Moss on The 2012 MIT Health and Wellness Innovation Hackathon. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter at @stephvatz.

As head of the New Media Medicine group at the MIT, Frank Moss heads entrepreneurial biotechnology projects that attempt to improve health care and medicine.

He displayed inventions like an artificial intelligence nurse that helped record patients’ auditory and visual problems for a real-life while responding to patient concerns to demonstrate comprehension. Using the example of a young woman with diabetes, Moss illustrated how the woman could use the artificial intelligence system to connect with a real doctor and solve her problem more efficiently. The whole system was a bit similar to the way Apple uses artificial intelligence to answer customer support questions.

“We have to combine academia with industry,” he said when discussing the huge risks the MIT Media lab and his own company, BlueFin Technology, try to take when thinking of medical models for the future. “Big companies don’t take risk, but they must have the willingness to take risks and fail.”

Not all of Moss’ projects were as complicated; some even seemed easy to implement into today’s healthcare world. Applications for mobile phones, for example, could be used to improve the likelihood of a patient taking care of himself.

Among the apps that Moss suggested were medical clocks to inform the patient when to take his medication, medical charts so the patient could see the problems for himself and social networking to provide comfort and camaraderie among patients.