One more interesting person I met at #healthfoo:
Peter Tu works in GE's research facility on how computerized monitoring systems can take visual images of people's actions and motions and draw information from them. There was a good story about this by Steve Lohr in the New York Times in January, 2011, entitled, "Computers that see you and keep watch over you." Excerpts:
Hundreds of correctional officers from prisons across America descended last spring on a shuttered penitentiary in West Virginia for annual training exercises. Some officers played the role of prisoners, acting like gang members and stirring up trouble, including a mock riot.
Perched above the prison yard, five cameras tracked the play-acting prisoners, and artificial-intelligence software analyzed the images to recognize faces, gestures and patterns of group behavior. When two groups of inmates moved toward each other, the experimental computer system sent an alert — a text message — to a corrections officer that warned of a potential incident and gave the location.
The computers cannot do anything more than officers who constantly watch surveillance monitors under ideal conditions. But in practice, officers are often distracted. But machines . . . are tireless assistants.
And here's the health care connection: "A computer-vision system can watch a hospital room and remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands, or warn of restless patients who are in danger of falling out of bed."
The trick is how to take this innovative technology and integrate it into the work flow and process improvement in a hospital, while avoiding the claims of violation of privacy and "gotcha"-type discipline and enforcement. This will be one worth watching.