Will there be a greatest generation of healthcare?

I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s 2011 AHA Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Diego, CA and have a few thoughts I think are worth sharing. The keynote speaker lineup was unrivaled and from each came a call to action to the audience for one common thread – “find more opportunities to work together, than let excuses keep you divided.” Tom Brokaw, Coach Mike Krzyzewski (“Coach K”), Dr. Atul Gawande, Fareed Zakaria, and Amy Woodruff all graced the stage and had messages that seemingly united the crowd, if for just a short few days.
Tom Brokaw opened the conference with a simple thought: “When I wake up these days, I find myself asking, ‘Is this still the same America that was able to achieve so much coming out of World War II?’ From civil and women’s rights to mobilizing an entire country for not one but two world wars – I’m discouraged by the divide that seems to have permeated our society.” Mr. Brokaw wrote The Greatest Generation so his view may be slightly bias, but nonetheless, I couldn’t help but agree with him. It seems there are fewer opportunities for finding common ground. Too many people are so caught up in “sticking to their principles” that the benefits of compromise are often overlooked. It is no longer what is best for the country, rather what’s best for me or my party or my agenda or my industry…
Mr. Brokaw highlighted the opportunities for improving the healthcare industry starting with two fundamental principles: greater transparency and information sharing. He told a story of how he asked a room full of American company CEO’s one question that none of them knew the answer to, “how much did you spend on healthcare last year?” The industry must improve its ability to empower patients (consumers) with better access to cost information. In addition, the sharing of data across physician practices, acute care settings, and disparate business entities like health plans, physician groups, and hospital must enable a better coordination of care. Patients, especially the ones with chronic conditions, will never be able to properly manage their disease without these critical links. Unfortunately for those of us in the healthcare industry, we have an uphill climb.

One thought on “Will there be a greatest generation of healthcare?

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on 2011 AHA Health Forum Leadership Summit: Coach K’s Five Challenges « Edgewater Technology Weblog

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