WHERE DO YOU SEE HEALTHCARE GOING IN THE YEARS AHEAD?
We’ve got to be able to use the information that we’re getting. Our EHRs, our technology, our data sets are just providing a rich source of opportunity for us to be able to learn. The question is: Are we leveraging that data into knowledge? Are we using that to limit variation? Are we using that to make improvements? There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in healthcare that’s now being driven by the data and the question is: Are we using our technology to do that?
DR. DONALD BERWICK
On the population health front, we are way, way away from where we need to be. That is because we’ve underinvested in prevention and also because we remain inequitable in our society. I no longer think we can separate the pursuit of health from the pursuit of justice and equity. Healthcare systems are going to have to become activists in solving the problems of poverty and racism that are still with us and building community infrastructures that matter.
Healthcare has grown as a function of lack of investment in social infrastructure like safe housing, education and access to healthy food. Those social determinants are probably more important to invest in than investing more in the healthcare system. We, as a healthcare system, need to be part of helping to fuel a broader societal transformation. The challenge we have, though, is we have to keep a viable business model going while we’re investing in the transformation. Right now, it doesn’t pay us in any way, shape or form to make the kinds of investments in so-called population health that I think can really make a difference.