3 TED speeches that will shake up your understanding of healthcare

3 TED speeches
Imagine healthcare without hospitals and antibiotics. Healthcare in which doctors only play the role of the most important sidekick?

Sounds impossible, right?

The purpose of the TED conference stage is to allow expression of ideas that sound impossible in the beginning, but nonetheless, these ideas and opinions soon become our reality.

Each of the following TED talks questions the way we treat patients today, and uses real-world data and examples to prove us why it won’t be possible tomorrow.


Back in the days before antibiotics, the method of treatment was diametrically opposite to the methods we use today. Outcomes were uncertain, and people died due to infections caused by trivial accidents, such as scratches or falls.

Since 1945, when Alexander Fleming was awarded the Nobel prize for PENICILLIN, the world was a better, safer place. Antibiotics became the pillar of modern medicine, and integral part of most medical procedures, from a simple tooth inflammation to installing any implants into human body.

Maryn Mckenna, journalist and expert in public healthcare, in her TED speech from 2015 says that irresponsible usage of antibiotics will quickly return us to the same place we were when we used antibiotic for the first time – the edge of the precipice.

Today, ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE kills 700 000 people every year. According to research, by 2050, that number will grow to 10 million deaths every year, unless we make some significant changes.

What can we possibly do, if we tako into consideration that, without antibiotics healthcare, as we know it today, couldn’t be possible?


It’s clear to us all that the least used resource in the entirety of the healthcare is actually the most important resource of them all – PATIENT. Now, if it is indeed clear to us all, why wouldn’t we do something to change it?

Luckily, each day there are more and more people trying to make it possible for patients to take the place in healthcare that is rightfully theirs. Usually they are patients who experienced the cruel boundaries and rigid walls of the healthcare system.

One of these patients is Dave DeBronkart. He is the creator of the e-Patient Dave website, which is the most visited patient empowerment website. Besides that, he is also a speaker and consultant on the most important healthcare projects, such as the U.K. personalized healthcare plan for 2020.

In his humorous and foremost inspirational speech on the TED conference in 2011, „e-patient Dave“ speaks about his journey from „ you only have few weeks until you die“ to the point when we was completely cured.

He is an advocate for a model of healthcare where patients are owners of their health data, and they have free access to medical resources they need in order to actively participate in their own treatment.


If you think that it is impossible to explain problems in healthcare in 15 minutes, then you are in the same situation I was, when I watched Eric Dishman’s TED speech for the first time.

This ingenious man, in just 15 minutes, explains the fundamental issues of healthcare, and proposes clear concepts which will ensure resolving them in the future.

His suggests „PERSONALIZED HEALTHCARE SYSTEM“, which consists of 3 pillars:

  1. Healthcare Anywhere – the primary place to care about our health is in our homes, not hospitals.
  2. Care Networking – One on one relationship between a doctor and a patient is a thing of past. The future of healthcare are intelligent multidisciplinary teams.
  3. Care Customization – there is no such thing as a „common man“. Individual patient isn’t the same thing as the population that is studied.

Each of these pillars are the exact opposite of currently established principles in healthcare. Eric’s “PERSONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM” proposes a change of the location where care is provided, and how it’s provided.


Indeed, healthcare will change one day. It’s just a matter of time and sacrifices we’ll have to make in order to achieve it.

Doctoral paternalism (philosophy of preserving control over medical knowledge) is an expression that we can hear every day more and more, among ordinary people and patients. We are glad to see that for the well-being of the community, each day more modern doctors, like Eric Topol, are willing to acknowledge this issue and face it.

The times when patients and ordinary people played an inferior role in healthcare is now a matter of past. Making health information more accessible to a wider range of people, through connecting biggest informational centers (Google) with leading hospitals (Mayo Clinic), is already showing effects. Examples are:

Examples of positive and negative usage of internet are everywhere around us. If we spend our time on discussing if patients should use internet for medical education, we will get overwhelmed by our mutual problem.

Regardless if that problem is someone’s disease or a global problem such as antibiotics resistance , the only way we can effectively change things is by working together and respect each other. DOCTORS and PATIENTS, MEDICINE and TECHNOLOGY.