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Every Revolution Starts with a Single Act of Courage

Power of Ideas
Every Revolution Starts with a Single Act of Courage

This is our act of courage: to create a health-care model that turns data into wisdom that benefits patients everywhere.

The revolution we are leading calls for a new approach that radically transforms patient care while addressing the countless inequities built into the current system. We are moving from a reactive health-care ecosystem to one that is more preemptive. We are shifting from symptom-based medicine to one focused on molecular medicine, which incorporates advances in genomics, proteomics, and our emerging understanding of the microbiome. Equally important, we are changing our focus from late stage to early detection, from de-personalized to personalized medicine, and from in-person patient care to an ecosystem that enables patients to receive care anywhere.

We are at this rare moment in history when technology, policy, and urgency to change converge to create a perfect storm of innovation.

At this time in history when the country is experiencing workforce shortages, supply chain breakdowns, and pressure on the bottom line, embracing change is hard. But at the same time, we are at this rare moment in history when technology, policy, and urgency to change converge to create a perfect storm of innovation. And we must not allow this opportunity to go to waste.

Technological advances in artificial intelligence/machine learning allow us to detect diseases faster and earlier than ever before, giving patients a chance for a quicker recovery. These models can pick up signals and subtleties that humans cannot detect. We’re to the point where there’s so much data that physicians need augmentation so they have more time for the patient.

Our policies and reimbursement support health information exchange momentum and data liquidity as well as new ways of delivering care. Finally, the pandemic response has demanded connected, coordinated, data-driven actions and reshaped our culture and expectations around the use of technology.

We have more demand for telemedicine and telehealth than we anticipated pre-pandemic. Thousands of patients are now receiving hospital-level care in their living rooms. We learned that these virtual first models are safe, drive excellent outcomes, and make patients happier than when they interact with a traditional health setting. What we thought would take a decade to accomplish has become an expectation, a societal imperative.

The fruits of the revolution will not survive unless we expand the boundaries of medicine to include platform thinking, an approach that allows each participant in the ecosystem to benefit from the presence and interactions of others.

To fully realize the untapped potential of data and technology, we need to provide an open, interactive, participative infrastructure for interactions, where everyone can confidently expect answers, convenience, affordability, and accessibility. The platform revolution that transformed industries such as transportation, hospitality, commerce, and banking is coming to health care and will democratize access to care as well as innovation.

The future of health care demands a platform approach, the humility to look outside of conventional medicine, and the audacity to challenge the reductionistic approach to clinical research and innovation. It also requires unconventional partnerships. The pandemic has broken down competitive barriers, and we must resist sliding back.

“The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered,” said William Mayo, MD, more than a century ago, and added: “In order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary.” The wisdom of one of the founders of Mayo Clinic rings true today more than ever.