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From Axios, July 25, 2019

This Wednesday, Axios’ Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Chicago, digging into the state of health care access and affordability in Illinois.

Local leaders, health tech innovators, and advocates discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable, high-quality care.

Creating inclusive and comprehensive health care

Melissa Maguire, Executive Director of the Free and Charitable Clinics, left, next to Laura Starr from CommunityHealth, right.

Melissa Maguire, Executive Director of Free and Charitable Clinics at the Axios table. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

How to measure the impact of effective care was a significant topic of conversation, as well as the fundamentally integrated nature of health across dental care, reproductive care, mental health services, and more.

  • Clark Stanford, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, discussed how dental health acts as a useful indicator for a person’s overall health: “Health disparities are revealed in dental care — dental care reflects a patient’s larger quality of life.”
  • Felicia Davis, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, unpacked the importance of measuring health outcomes versus outputs: “For example, if we give a girl a backpack, does her attendance improve? While saying we donated one thousand backpacks is measuring the output, we want to be measuring outcomes.”
  • Paula Thornton Greear, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois,expressed support for measuring outcomes over outputs, and approaching the concept of health as not subdivided into different fields: “In reproductive health…we need to work with our partners in the mental health space. We need to put our best foot forward, but we can’t do it in a silo.”

How to use data in providing better care

Bonnie Lai from Lumere in conversation at the Axios table.

Bonnie Lai, Head of Technology at Lumere, discussing the complexities of health care data. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

As health providers become increasingly dependent on data, the importance of accurate and accessible information is paramount in providing effective care.

  • Bonnie Lai, Head of Technology at Lumere, advocated for a more integrated approach to health data: “We need data to understand the needs of patients, but the data is siloed and it’s hard to break out of that.”
  • Jason Montrie, President of Pareto Intelligence, stressed the need to make data more accessible to patients: “How do we democratize this data? That structure needs to be furthered. Patients should be able to change [their information] so it’s always updated and accurate. [And then] how do we take the whole picture of someone, and give that to [a health care provider] who can act on that information?

Health insurance and challenges of access to care

Paula Thornton Greear from Planned Parenthood in conversation at the Axios table.

Paula Thornton Greear, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, in discussion at the Axios table.Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

Challenges presented by the complexities of the current systems and addressing the needs of all patients featured prominently in the conversation.

  • Laura Starr, Director of Development and Communications at CommunityHealth, focused on the importance of preventative and integrated care: “We need to do what’s most cost effective and that’s prevention…and integration makes everything more effective.”
  • Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me discussed the challenges of the current health care systems and addressing the needs of different populations: “There are really three different health systems: Medicaid, employer-based, and Medicare. How can we lift everyone up? Especially when there are different levers, different populations to serve. What this goes back to is to start people young and focusing on preventative care.”
  • Regarding the cherry-picking of patients with different types of coverage: “The reality is that dentists don’t want to see Medicare patients.”

The original newsletter article from Axios can be found here.



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