The healthcare industry is one that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind and conversations these days. Regardless of what side of the political aisle you sit on, there is no denying that we have some issues to work through in the American healthcare industry today.
Especially in the Greater Boston area, where we have many of the world’s greatest doctors, healthcare facilities, and research teams, we are making medical advances daily. At a recent Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Laurie Glimcher, President of Dana Farber, discussed advances that are allowing them to map cancers in new ways and provide treatments that never existed before. This is a very exciting time, but as she said “This is just the tip of the iceberg – we are at the end of the beginning.”
Being at the end of the beginning means that we still have much work to be done. Unfortunately, government funding is often cut from hospitals, putting up roadblocks to the potentially groundbreaking research. Additionally, as insurance policies continue to change, patients are left with questions about what is covered, how much procedures cost, and surprise expenses.
So, what can we do as consumers? I know you don’t want a communications professional such as myself in the labs looking to solve these challenges. But what people like me (and you) can do is actively participate in your health. That could mean 30 minutes on the treadmill each morning, or opting for the stairs rather than the elevator (a more serious challenge at a place like Full Contact with our 7th floor space). It also means taking part in regular doctor’s visits and screenings. When we catch diseases earlier, there are more options and more cost-effective ways to provide treatment. And many of these preventative activities are covered by insurance companies.
I also see this action as an opportunity for the many hospitals in the Greater Boston area and beyond. The more that patients know about their options, the more likely they are to visit the doctor and get the necessary screenings. There has never been a more important time for hospitals and healthcare networks to differentiate themselves and make meaningful connections with consumers as a way to attract the right patients and stay ahead of current healthcare challenges.