Max Gallivan ’16 – So the Affordable Care Act comes around and throws everyone for a loop. Now what? As a freshman aspiring to get into Med School, it is important to know where health care is heading so I can adapt and thrive. Today really opened my eyes to the future and what I need to do to prepare.
We started the day by talking to John Miller ’76 of New Castle Family and Internal Medicine. Though he is mainly a primary care physician, his focus and passion is on improving wellness programs in health care, to insure people are actually healthy and not just free of disease. He referred to Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, which focuses on a holistic sense of well being to insure a quality life. From making good career choices to hanging out with friends, the book offers good advice for how to improve your life and hopefully prevent unhealthy lifestyles that cause people to have stress related illnesses that plague hospitals today. Miller then showed us what his hospital system is doing to encourage wellness and the impact it has brought to his community.
After the talk, we took the refreshing walk to Eli Lilly & Company. Though we could have spent hours on end admiring how thriving the company is, we had the privilege of talking and having lunch with Mike Haugh ’86, one of the main Corporate Strategists of the company. After being introduced to how the company works and how it thrives despite the long process of FDA approval and the fight against generic companies, Haugh shifted his focus to how the company is adapting to the future of our world. Though the ACA is causing them to shift their business model, the real impact of change is coming from a rapid growth in biological technology we have seen in the past few years. With genomics allowing people to find out what drugs and treatments will work best with their specific genome, drugs will begin to become patient specific and will be more valuable because they have a higher chance of working. With the amazing advancement of apps that can perform EKGs and ultrasounds, patients will have easier access with diagnostics and will be more accountable for their own health. This will change the role of physicians and health care specialists by focusing on a joint interpretation of a patient’s results instead of providing the services that produce the results. This change in how health care will run was an eye opener, and a great start at how to look at my future that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
We ended the day by returning to the hospital and talking with Jim Miller ’80 from IMA Consulting. His talk enlightened us on how insurance and government program like Medicare and Medicaid work and then focused on the nuts and bolts of the ACA and what will actually change in health care. Though no one is quite sure how the act is going to affect the entire health care system, it was easy to see the trend that most of our speakers are seeing: a focus on large hospitals and a shift to preventative care. The focus on the quality of service instead of quantity forces health care professionals to improve services so patients have little to no complications while still finding a way to make money without overloading patients with treatments and diagnostics.
It’ll be interesting to see where the future will take us. I’m glad this program has tried to prepare me for the ride. I encourage all those striving to be a part of health care to get informed and prepare themselves for the arduous road ahead of us, by either taking part in this wonderful program in the future or by reading the many sources out there.