Defining Our Health Care Future
In April, we hosted AMCP 2021. While we look forward to the time that we, as an AMCP family, can be safely back together in person, I am proud of our efforts and success in presenting an informative and thought-provoking event. To that end, we were pleased to at which we welcomed general session speaker Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, DFAPA, MFPM. During her 35-year career in medicine, Dr. Lewis-Hall has been on the frontlines of health care as a clinician, educator, researcher, and leader in the biopharmaceuticals and life sciences industries. Lewis-Hall is a powerful advocate for health equity and improved outcomes for all patients. The ideas she shared with attendees can help inspire us to transform our ideals into realities. I’m excited to share some of my key takeaways from her session that we can all use to transform our ideas into reality.
Dr. Lewis-Hall stressed that the U.S. health care system is poised for change. Data on spending, outcomes, risk factors, prevention, and quality demonstrate long-standing and systematic inequities, especially for Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous patients. COVID-19 accentuated those disparities of care and outcomes.
“We saw our system crack or bend in front of us, but we also saw the human consequence of the need for a better, stronger, more resilient health care system,” Dr. Lewis-Hall said.
Conversely, COVID-19 enabled and accelerated some improvements, such as increased use of telemedicine and quicker assessments and decisions. Additionally, expertise and knowledge were shared across borders and disciplines to drive vaccinations and new treatments at record speed. Dr. Lewis-Hall stressed that some improvements should remain and can serve to fuel future change.
She quoted an adage her mother often used: “Don’t let the storm disrupt your journey; let it clear your path.”
Putting Patients at the Center
Looking forward, people and patients should be the center of the health care system, Dr. Lewis-Hall emphasized. She urged attendees to consider value when they are thinking about health care and ask themselves, “Value to whom?” The answer should be patients.
To put patients at the center of health care will take greater collaboration across disciplines and across the health care system as a whole, she said. “All hands-on deck is what we need … if we really want a health care system that has a response to these longstanding, vexing questions on health outcomes.”
Dr. Lewis-Hall challenged attendees to think futuristically when addressing health care inequity, offering gaming, prizing, and crowd sourcing as examples. “We have an opportunity to deliver a health care system that makes the differences that we want: better patient outcomes, improved wellness, and improved health.”
We at AMCP are working to deliver on the promise of better patient outcomes, improved wellness, and improved health. With AMCP’s new strategic priorities, we are striving to address inequalities and barriers in our health care system and effect positive change within each focus area: value and access, health disparities, and membership growth. I invite you to consider these strategic priorities and how you might want to get involved. Thank you for your dedication to managed care pharmacy.