Health IT

Act Like You Care

There are endless challenges in healthcare. As the country and industry collectively try to move mountains, we all need to face the individual responsibility and act like we care today. It’s time for all participants in healthcare to own up to the problem. “Owning the problem” means taking action to change what I, as the […]

There are endless challenges in healthcare. As the country and industry collectively try to move mountains, we all need to face the individual responsibility and act like we care today. It’s time for all participants in healthcare to own up to the problem.

“Owning the problem” means taking action to change what I, as the individual or organization, can control. Stop pointing fingers at those around us and waiting for change. Rather, let’s focus on what we can do in our roles to make an impact.

Patients – it starts with us

We need to take care of ourselves.

Last week I attended the Precision Medicine Conference at Harvard Medical School, led by the Inaugural Chair of the new Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of ACT.md, Dr. Isaac “Zak” Kohane. During one of the panel discussions, Dr. Brian Kelly, President of Quintiles, described how the cost of healthcare in the U.S. could fall a dramatic 20%-30% if we as individuals would do the following things:

  1. Keep a healthy diet
  2. Control our weight
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Receive regular check-ups and screens
  5. If you’re prescribed a therapy or medicine – follow the plan

The message was clear – patients need to do their part getting better and staying healthy and simple solutions can have more impact than complicated and costly medicine. It was Leonardo da Vinci who said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  Here is a simple challenge – if your girth to height ratio is >0.5, do something to act like you care.

Providers – be inclusive

Leverage today’s resources.

Your job is beyond difficult – increasing regulation, labor-intensive IT systems, changing reimbursement models, and general medical complexity. However, you have an opportunity: there are ready and available resources and modern technology that can help you care for patients holistically and positively impact their outcomes.

Over 45 million adults have some sort of mental illness and a majority of Americans have a social factor (housing, transportation, access to food, work schedule, etc.) that impacts their health outcomes. Act like you care by including family caregivers, behavioral health specialists, and community resources as part of your care team. There are easy-to-use technologies and applications (apps) that now allow you to invite these valuable (yet often under-utilized) people to be on a team with you –  giving them a way understand the plan for the patient, know their role in the plan, and how they can help you. Acting as a team and leveraging external knowledge and resources to holistically manage the patient will benefit everyone.

Payers – get out of your silo

I am talking to payer executives weekly about their evolving needs, challenges, and strategies. Your role is being redefined and, like other constituents, you have an opportunity. You have data, resources, and experience. Use them wisely and work as a team with providers and members to move the needle.

How?

  • Make data easily accessible
  • Help providers identify high-risk patients
  • Share care management best practices and resources
  • Invest in modern technology that is team-based vs the traditional care management silo
  • Get everyone on the same page and collaborate in order to accomplish shared goals
  • Meet members where they are by providing a combination of modern and intuitive technology and resources to help them move through their care plan
  • Act like you care about your members by delivering comprehensive and individualized assistance to members (I wouldn’t answer the phone either if I talked to three people from one payer who each didn’t know the different components of my plan)

Need an example?

I had the opportunity to meet Megan O’Boyle last week. She’s a force of nature in advocating for patient rights and data access. She’s driven by her personal experience with her daughter struggling with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. It’s a compelling and inspiring experience of someone who acts like they care. She’s not waiting around for change; she is owning the problem and removing obstacles in her path to change what we understand about this disease and working to ensure the best care for her daughter. Inspiring.


We all play a role. We all need to act like we care. I do and I believe you do, too. Lets revolutionize healthcare by each doing our part.