Osler symposium discusses future of health care

By LAURA WADSTEN | February 14, 2019

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CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lizardraley99

The president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Redonda G. Miller, spoke at the symposium.

The Osler Medical Symposium hosted a talk on the future of health care in America on Tuesday, Feb. 5 called “Reimagining Healthcare for the 21st Century.” The event consisted of a presentation by Dr. Redonda G. Miller, president of the Hopkins Hospital, and a discussion moderated by Perry Tsai, president of the American Medical Student Association. 

Miller highlighted challenges currently facing the field of health care and explained how the Hopkins Hospital was addressing those challenges through technology, value-based care and operational innovations. 

Miller expressed that one of the largest obstacles facing the Hopkins Hospital was community trust and that the hospital is seeking to improve this in multiple ways, such as including programs that train and hire Baltimore residents. 

Miller and Tsai brought up another challenge of the system caused by new technology. Miller explained that Amazon is competing with traditional health-care providers by using artificial intelligence to diagnose patients. 

“[Amazon will say] we don’t need you to see your primary care physician... just ask Alexa about your symptoms,” Miller said during her address. 

Miller also highlighted how Amazon’s mass of distribution centers could allow them to quickly ship prescription medications to patients after they are seen virtually. 

While technology is challenging hospitals, Miller explained how the Hopkins Hospital is using technology to improve the patient experience and care at their facilities. 

Some innovations in practice at the hospital include the distribution of an iPad to every hospital patient that they can use to see details of their care, like their scheduled appointments and medical files, the monitoring of all hospital beds from one large command center, and the improved communication of all medical machinery in an intensive care unit (ICU). 

Miller explained that making these changes is not always easy, but her team is committed to making it happen. 

“It means overcoming company boundaries, but we can do it,” Miller said. 

Tsai questioned Miller on the role doctors will play in health care and if they will continue to be as important in the field. Miller highlighted how the Hopkins Hospital takes a team approach to care. 

“The health-care workforce is changing dramatically. There will always be plenty of work for physicians... [but] the physician has a certain expertise that is different than what a nurse brings to the table or a physical therapist... so we divide up the labor,” Miller said. 

Junior Pavan Patel, one of the Osler Medical Symposium’s co-directors, explained how the event matched their theme of health, equity and justice in Baltimore. 

“This year we decided to really broaden the scope of what we were looking at... It’s not just a meet-and-greet sort of event, it’s really to push the status quo in a direction that promotes health equity and justice,” Patel said in an interview with The News-Letter

Senior Marian Park recounted that her reason for attending the discussion was her admiration of Miller. 

“Dr. Redonda Miller is a huge role model for me because not only is she a female, but she’s the first female president of the Hopkins Hospital, and she has been doing so many great things to advance health care,” Park said in an interview with The News-Letter

Attendees of the event highlighted what they learned and expressed optimism regarding the future of health care in America. Park mentioned the role that Hopkins plays as a leader in the field. 

“One of the things that stuck out to me was the role that the Hopkins Hospital played toward alleviating not only health but also the socioeconomic status of the residents of Baltimore,” Park said. 

Sophomore Pranav Reddy also expressed his excitement of being near an innovative hospital like Hopkins. 

“At Hopkins, having access to the medical school here, even as undergrads, we’re really exposed to the future of health care, and we’re right here at the forefront,” Reddy said in an interview with The News-Letter.

Sophomore Christina Boatwright, one of the co-directors of the Osler Medical Symposium, explained in an interview with The News-Letter that the organization wants all students to feel comfortable attending these talks.

“Our lineup this year is especially great because we have individuals from a lot of different parts of health care. We have an event coming up in a couple weeks with... two individuals at the Johns Hopkins Hospital who were involved in the first penile transplant, and that will touch on the more clinical side,” Boatwright said. 

She added that some of this year’s events will focus on the social aspects of healthcare.

“We also have the Henrietta Lacks family later in April, which touches on the justice side of health care,” she said. “There’s something for everyone this year, we have the clinical side, the business side and the justice side.”

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