Our healthcare system isn’t broken. Despite the flood of statistics on rising costs and mediocre outcomes, it does what all systems do – produces precisely what it’s capable of producing. The shock of McAllen, TX – where a Medicare person’s annual cost of care exceeds the average citizen’s income – wasn’t that it exposed a system run amok, but one that was functioning quite naturally, and similarly to every other major city in the US.
Such consistency, especially in the face of sometimes draconian efforts, implies that our issues are less the work of ‘malfunction’ and more the result of design; today’s healthcare system simply isn’t capable of producing anything fundamentally different. If we want something different, we must not “fix”, we must design. We must learn to see our problems anew, including what is missing.
Among its missing pieces is something all true systems have: robust feedback loops. Since healthcare’s only systemic feedback loop is financial, we get a kind of myopic fiscal opportunism in a system with no real brakes (other than regulatory), no power of observation, and thus no built-in ability to learn from the myriad things being experienced every day. Crossing the Institutes of Medicine’s chasm means addressing healthcare’s learning disability, and BIG DATA may be just what the doctor ordered.
Carol is Chief Innovation and Analytics Officer of Tenzing Health, creating community-based health cooperatives that link people, organizations and resources. The future of health and well-being lies in the idea that ‘all markets are conversations’ and creating this ongoing conversation with all it implies. Tenzing’s innovations in analytics and human-centered design stimulate new notions of health, care, community and sustainability, and accelerate their integration.
Prior to joining Tenzing, Carol was vice president of R&D in Humana’s Innovation Center where she pioneered novel computational approaches in prediction, knowledge discovery and simulation. She launched Humana’s innovations in personalized medicine research and led their Health Services Research Center, emphasizing research in population health, health outcomes, health economics, drug safety and the psychology of health behavior change. Carol also launched and served on the board of Green Ribbon Health, delivering innovations in health services to seniors in Florida.
Carol served as a member of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) and as advisor to the HRP Scientific Program Board. Carol is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
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