What is the top challenge or obstacle facing health care today?
Equity – particularly as we think about underserved populations and their ability to have access to care. Many factors impede access, but equity is first and foremost among them. If we can begin to call out and address equity, that’s how we move the needle.
What story or theme has impacted health care the most over the last two years?
The escalating cost of health care. As a society, we focus on cost, but often at the risk of quality and equity. Value-based care models allow us to demonstrate that we can reduce costs, while addressing quality and equity.
What is the most promising development in patient care that you have come across, and why?
Value-based care is beginning to address social determinants of health and start conversations that impact health care. Integrating behavioral health, for example, or providing oral care – putting the mouth back into the body, as we often say – enables us to provide comprehensive whole-person care. Innovation is another key piece. We’re thinking much more holistically about the modalities we use to increase access to care, whether it’s through community-based care or teledentistry. We’re putting things in the right place at the right time at the right cost.
What has you most optimistic about the future of health care?
The multidisciplinary approach of care teams and system design. We’re looking at how to elevate every person on the team to the top of their licensure. In addition, when we expand the scope and composition of care teams – i.e. include nurse care managers, medical assistants, behavioral health providers, dentists, and other ancillary providers – the team is more informed, creates better solutions, and creates more access for patients. This allows us to keep the patient and the family at the core of the work that we do, to think about the whole person and provide more comprehensive care to underserved populations.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring health care leader?
Stay true to the mission, first and foremost. Stay true to the reason why you’re entering the field. Remember that it does take a village to do this work – and that experts may present themselves in different ways. Take a broad approach to system solutions and make it an inclusive process. Recognize that every person has value to share.