Regent for Florida-Eastern, Don Henderson, FACHE
Message from Your ACHE Regent
Recently I was honored to attend a healthcare conference at the University of Miami sponsored by Dr. Steven G. Ullmann and their MBA program in Health Administration. The keynote speaker at this event was Dr. Julio Frenk, who is not only the university’s President, but also a physician and former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Frenk’s topic was on the future of healthcare, and he made several compelling points that I would like to share.
Dr. Frenk noted that the future was not to be experienced, but invented. Here are some of the desirable characteristics of this future state that should be aspirational goals for all healthcare executives and caregivers:
-First, healthcare services should be anticipatory and predictive. In other words, technological capabilities should be leveraged to put the emphasis on anticipating and treating disease states before they actually manifest themselves and result in harmful patient outcomes;
-Second, the provision of health services should be individualized and respectful. As our ability to understand and customize the administration of health services evolves, those delivering care should be mindful about the unique characteristics and needs of each patient who enters our healthcare delivery system. An underlying tenet of this approach is to recognize diversity, and appreciate each patient as an important participant in their own healthcare treatment process;
-Third, that healthcare should be comprehensive, incorporating the entire lifecycle of patients from birth to death, but also incorporating a holistic approach to the disease cycle itself, from prevention, to acute treatment, chronic care management, and finally palliative care as needed;
-Fourth, that the delivery of health services should be diversified into many settings and not “hospital centric”, with a focus on the full continuum of pre-and post-hospital care delivery. As part of this diversification, there should be a specific goal of providing health services in the patient’s home whenever possible;
-Fifth, that healthcare should be multidisciplinary, with an understanding of and appreciation for the unique contributions of each member of the care delivery team that works toward positive patient outcomes;
-Sixth, that healthcare should be networked, in that interoperability and the ability to share data across multiple care networks and platforms should be a goal of the entire healthcare system in order to better treat disease and provide a means for research to advance knowledge in the medical field;
-Seventh, that healthcare services delivery should be sustainable, in that the provision of services should be cognizant of economic realities, including performing ongoing calculations of the cost/benefit tradeoffs of incremental medical progress vs. exorbitant additional costs;
-Eighth, that healthcare should be accountable for providing optimal care for each patient, and that the care delivery system as a whole should not deteriorate into a tiered structure based on ability to pay;
-Ninth, that healthcare should be innovative, constantly striving to adopt new technology, and realizing that innovation can often come from unexpected and serendipitous sources; and
-Tenth, that healthcare should be quality-driven, putting the welfare and outcome of patients and their families at the forefront of the health delivery system.
Dr. Frenk, from his unique perspective as an administrator, a physician, and an academician has clearly given a lot of thought to the topic of the future state of healthcare. I found his message to be inspirational, as it clearly was designed to overcome some of the negativity that often pervades our field. I would challenge all of my colleagues to join with Dr. Frenk in fostering the climate where most if not all of these goals are achievable, as we continue to lead our healthcare delivery system into an exciting and sustainable future.
Don Henderson, FACHE
Regent for Florida – Eastern