When treating their patients, physicians confront a living system that is astoundingly complex, with checks and balances that are incompletely understood, and sensitive to pain. Technologists, on the other hand, work with man-made objects within the less emotional domains of materials and mathematics, creating anew or building upon prior work as creativity inspires and economics allow. The former juggles individual make-up with personal histories and emotional ramifications; the latter can take a good outcome and multiply it with industrial production methods. To a programmer and a surgeon, for example, “crisis” and “success” necessarily imply very different scenarios.
In spite of those inherent differences, for two decades MMVR has helped bridge gaps between doctors and engineers—biology versus physics, clinic versus lab bench, and patient versus device. At MMVR, two professional cultures, with their respective methods and idioms, unite with a singular goal: to improve healthcare by creating new solutions to old healthcare problems. Informatics stirs up medicine's traditionalism, as modeling, simulation, visualization, sensors, robotics, data networks, and other informatics-enabled applications let doctors approach the human body with fresh understanding.
It has been a pleasure to work with so many creative and industrious researchers during the organization of this year's conference. During a time when political and economic experts seem unable to find solutions to pressing global problems, it is encouraging to be part of a culture that, even when experts disagree, is notable for its civility, enthusiasm, and ability to keep in mind shared goals.
Thanks to all of you who have made possible another edition of the MMVR/NextMed proceedings.
James D. Westwood
Aligned Management Associates, Inc.