What is the top challenge or obstacle facing health care today?
The top challenge facing health care today is low health literacy rates. According to the CDC, only 12% of Americans have proficient health literacy, which is the ability to understand health care information to make appropriate decisions. Because of a physician's time constraints, there just isn't time for adequate patient disease and/or medication education. Patients often don't understand their total picture of health, and this often causes additional health problems, which leads to higher healthcare costs and waste.
What do you feel are the key drivers of health care transformation?
From my perspective, the key drivers of healthcare transformation are individualized patient care, digital technology innovation, and data.
What are some of the key trends you are seeing with respect to employer-sponsored health care?
The increase in high deductible health plans coupled with low health literacy rates can be a bad combination because members don't always know how to use their health benefits or they don't use them at all. In pharmacy, we like to say, the most expensive medication is the one that isn't taken correctly. The same analogy holds true for healthcare in general. Improving employee health literacy should be an overall goal in effort to improve health outcomes and reduce employer and employee cost.
Another trend we have seen with the onset of the pandemic is an increase in mental health concerns. Many employers are now seeing mental health ranking in the top 5 cost categories. Mental health impacts overall health and the ability to make appropriate healthcare decisions.
Finally, employers are excited about digital technology, data integration, and ways to use data to improve outcomes and member experience.
What motivates you to keep doing the work that you do?
I have always been passionate about pharmacy care and the impact Pharmacists have on the care management team. My team consistently delivers on our founding values of providing patient-centered care and advocating for people with chronic disease. By always doing the right thing for the patient and the client, we're really moving the needle in clinical and financial outcomes. Non-optimized medication use is a very expensive problem that hasn't always been a priority. My team remains committed to ensuring our patients are taking the right medication, at the right time, to achieve the best outcomes.
What's the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring health care leader?
Be a good listener. The best health leader is listening to their patients and providers to understand the problems and challenges they are facing, versus relying on perceptions. This allows healthcare leaders to ensure they're solving for the problems that affect them.