This is a photo of one of the examples of the "smart watches" used by people around the world to monitor their health and fitness.

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine wants to be a leader in training doctors to practice in the rapidly changing world of health care technology, especially when it comes to caring for people in rural and urban underserved areas.

Founding Dean John Tomkowiak touched on “the areas we want to play in” during the keynote address at the Life Science Leadership Summit today on the WSU Spokane campus. The summit is sponsored by Life Science Washington.

Among the items on the dean’s list is telehealth. Within the next few years, he said, as many as a third of primary care visits will be conducted via portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Those technologies offer new opportunities for improving care to people who live long distances from hospitals and doctors’ offices. The dean also referenced the use of wearable technologies, such as smart watches, tools that are with us now that he says doctors need to understand.

Tomkowiak said his college wants to train researchers to develop solutions for the real world. He wants to develop a culture of entrepreneurship where commercialization of ideas and technologies is encouraged.

Much of today’s summit is devoted to the life sciences work now going on in eastern Washington with a look ahead opportunities in the future.