By Spitz (@SpitzStrategy)
This week’s imminent Supreme Court ruling will prove pivotal not only for the future of “ObamaCare,” but how our complex healthcare systems overcome challenges and embrace the incredible potential of new technologies. From the rise of mobile health to personal health records, cloud computing to the tantalizing but risky possibilities of Open Data, science fiction is inexorably becoming reality as the elusive goal of the “quantified self” has already lead to astonishing advances in patient outcomes.
When it comes to forecasting the evolution of healthcare, few are as engaging and voluminously published as Dr. Jeff Bauer. Putting walk to his talk he goes beyond speculation to offer specific proposals for the creation of an efficient and effective healthcare delivery system based on multi-stakeholder partnerships focused primarily in the private sector. Here he summarizes some of his groundbreaking and prescient philosophy with DJ Edgerton at Digital Pharma West one year ago:
Clearly skeptical of any centralized authority driving the healthcare transformation, Jeff insists that the job of optimizing delivery systems should rest in the hands of all vested stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers, and technologists. An optimistic proponent and advocate of healthcare’s “Age of Experimentation,” Jeff asserts that physicians, not politicians, should lead healthcare. By making key decisions based on evidence-based solutions rather than relying on external, political factors, Jeff sees a bright future in information networks that fuel innovation and collaboration.
That spirit also drives change within the pharma space, as blockbusters not only succumb to patent expiry but to a better understanding of disease, increasingly pointing to targeted therapies. Veering away from associating cancer with a particular organ, for example, researchers are discovering multiple orphan states that encourage highly specialized approaches only made possible through the current revolution in bioinformatics, mobile health, and data sharing. Throughout all this Jeff remains not only hopeful but excited, as our digital health dreams can and will come true if we only let them.
But for now other pressing social issues take center stage, including the incontestable fact that many millions of Americans suffer from unaffordable healthcare, or have no health insurance at all. Regardless what the Supreme Court decides this week, we can only hope that the spirit of creativity, exploration, and compassion central to both medicine and technology will guide the path ahead, proving Jeff right in his assertion that despite all the landmines and obstacles ahead, we nonetheless have compelling reasons for being digital health optimists.
Only time will tell: Onward!