MiOra (www.miora.org) President Dr. Ozlem Equils and MiOra mentor Dr. Alex Chen, VP of Quality and Safety @AltaMed (one of the largest FQHC’s in the nation) participated in a panel discussion organized by the University of Southern California (USC) Premedical Honor Society Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED).
Following the excellent presentations by Professor Dr. PH. Michael Cousineau, Head of the Health Policy track for the USC MPH Program and Sean Patrick Nordt, M.D., Pharm.D., Assist. Dean for USC Pre-Health Undergraduate Studies, the panel members, including the Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. James McPherson, MD, MPH, FACS discussed the impact of ACA from different perspectives and answered the students’ questions on the future of healthcare environment.
The pre-health students learned that ACA’s goal is to provide health insurance to everyone, even to individuals with pre-existing conditions. ACA’s mission is to keep people healthy by emphasizing preventive care not just disease management. ACA prioritizes patient satisfaction and quality care. Although initially the waits to see a provider may be longer and the healthcare costs may be increased, in the long run, keeping the patients healthy will pay off and stop the continued rise in the healthcare expenditure.
The need for primary care physicians will increase and the demand for specialists will decrease. Although the primary care physicians (Pediatricians, Internists, Obstetricians and General Surgeons) experience work overload right now, over time, they will become the specialists, similar to Europe and Canada, and provide care to complex patients and coordinate patient care provided by the nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
In addition to the physicians and nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will have a growing role in providing direct patient care in their own outpatient clinics and at the retail pharmacy settings.
Large provider organizations and hospital systems will continue to engulf the individual physician practices. This helps decrease the overhead costs and administrative challenges for the individual provider; however it also decreases the autonomy of the provider.
Technology will be utilized more often to provide care through telemedicine, iPhones and apps will be used more routinely to facilitate patient-provider interactions and patient care. Electronic medical record (EMR) systems and health information technology will continue to capture complete and uniform patient medical information, but as long as the EMR systems from different provider organizations do not communicate with each other, the continuity of care will be challenging for the patients who move. There is a cost and time associated with updating the EMR systems with new treatment guidelines as they come about; this leads to delays in implementing the cutting edge treatments and is an area of opportunity for improvement.
The pharmaceutical companies will focus on developing new treatments that are cost effective and easy to use. The clinical trials will include more diverse patient populations and will be more applicable to real world situations.
The medical students will need to learn more about quality improvement strategies in healthcare, cost-effectiveness and pharmacoeconomics, communication skills to improve patient engagement and satisfaction and leadership skills to manage their team.
The panel agreed that ACA led to significant improvements and challenges, and will only become more effective with the continued effort and partnership of all involved parties.