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Promoting Innovation and Convergence in Military Medicine: Technology-Inspired Problem Solving

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4 Author(s)
Warren S. Grundfest ; U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Telemedicine & Advanced Tech Research Center, Fort Detrick, Maryland USA ; Eva Lai ; Charles M. Peterson ; Karl E. Friedl

Large organizations develop layers and rules for members to operate within accepted processes and conventions whereas innovation tends to occur in a less constrained, less conventional, and less risk averse environment. This basic cultural difference creates a need for protected semi-autonomous centers that cultivate great ideas, providing freedom to explore new concepts and harbor the zealots to champion them past institutional barriers to change. The management objective at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) is to advocate and accelerate technology development and ensure benefi cial implementation in the shortest possible time. TATRC accomplishes this objective through integrating multidisciplinary teams that combine engineering technology and physical sciences with both basic and applied clinical biosciences to solve medical problems. This convergence in medical research complements Department of Defense (DoD) investments in long term basic research and large investments in high risk problem solving. TATRC successes in this technology push to satisfy clinical need began with radiograph digitization standards and has continued to spin out medical systems and program initiatives to new DoD core programs in rehabilitative medicine (e.g., regenerative medicine, advanced prosthetics, vision research, and integrative pain management), medical modeling and simulation, and current combat zone telemedicine applications. TATRC technology scouts look for transformational approaches across traditional boundaries and provide active assistance to build new capabilities and to successfully complete projects through commercialization and DoD implementation. Many near term problems can be addressed by mature technologies in medical robotics, synthetic biology, tissue engineering, nano- and biomaterials science, medical imaging, and neuroengineering. Everyday technologies such as smartphones can be immediately harnessed for better access to medical c- re, improved safety and efficiency in medicine, technology management and ultimately reduced medical costs. The end result of this culture of convergence can be transformational, calling for disruptive change in technology and capability as exemplifi ed by telemedicine and m-Health, fostered through the unique TATRC research management model.

Published in:

IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 3 )