The future of healthcare includes innovation, CBU lecturer tells students
Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2017) – Technology will be critical to longevity and the vitality of life, Sarah Thomas told a California Baptist University audience.
Thomas, who is the senior director of global innovation for Genesis Rehabilitation/Genesis Healthcare, the largest post-acute care provider in the country, spoke on Feb. 21 as part of the College of Health Science’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
“We need to be visionaries as we enter the field of health care,” Thomas said. “In this time of change, we have the opportunity to harness the energy, imagination and creativity around us, to shape the new emerging world of healthcare.”
Thomas also works with Aging2.0, an organization that aims to accelerate innovation in order to improve the lives of the elderly. Thomas offered examples on how technology is contributing to patient care. For instance, Thomas said there is a sensor pill that a patient swallows, which allows the doctor more insights into how that patient is responding to prescribed medication.
Thomas encouraged the students that whatever environment they plan to work in, “to experience it from the other side” in order to come up with ideas that lead to solutions.
“Interview people who are impacted in that setting, patients [and] everyone you have to interact with,” Thomas said. “Look from their perspective. That empathetic perspective is so important as you’re innovating.”
As part of her job, Thomas works with startup tech companies. Two new products she mentioned included a spoon, with stabilizing and leveling handles, designed to help people who have hand tremors and “powered clothing,” equipped with “electric muscles” to support the torso, hips and legs.
“We’re seeing really creative things come out to make lives easier, better, safer,” Thomas said.
She challenged the students to keep learning and to realize the impact they can make on the world around them.
“Health care as a whole does need changing,” Thomas said. “I want to empower you to make that change and to encourage that change in the practices that you develop and that you enter into.”