The HPM Healthcare Conference addresses changes in an evolving health system and brings together prominent leaders from various sectors to discuss critical public health issues and possible solutions. The conference includes over 200 participants, including alumni, current MPH/MHA and executive masters students, and prominent healthcare leaders.
The next HPM Healthcare Conference is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2019.
Student Responses to the 2018 HPM Healthcare Conference
Michael Ludwig, Director and head of Healthcare Technology at MTS Health Partners, led an engaging roundtable discussion on M&A trends in healthcare and the evolving role of technology. One participant asked an insightful question about the potential role of technology in caring for the elderly, setting off an interesting discussion about the unique challenges of innovation in this subsector. In many of our courses at Mailman, we highlight the aging population as a key trend, but seldom delve into the complexities of elder care businesses.
Mr. Ludwig brought an interesting business lens to the topic, highlighting challenges that tech companies seeking to operate in this space often face. Home health, skilled nursing, and long-term care businesses are smaller and more fragmented than hospital systems, making it difficult and resource-intensive to sell to them as the primary customer. They often have low margins because their revenue is dependent on government payers, particularly Medicaid, and may not have funds to invest upfront in innovative solutions. Pointing to existing tech companies trying to enter home health, Mr. Ludwig also noted the time scale and approach is fundamentally different than tech entrepreneurs are accustomed to with other ventures. Overall, it was fascinating to go beyond the demographic trend and learn about the opportunities and challenges for technology in caring for our aging population.
--Katrina Verbrugge, MPH '18
During the roundtable discussion on Global Health, Jason Kang, of Kinnos, spoke about how he and his co-founders developed a product called Highlight to help prevent the spread of Ebola among healthcare workers. Highlight is an additive that, when combined with bleach, makes the solution appear blue. This allows healthcare workers to see when surfaces and protective equipment have been thoroughly disinfected. This product has greatly improved the process of decontamination. Making a simple change can have a significant impact on the healthcare experience.
Isaac Wagner, of Memorial Sloan Kettering, brought up a similar idea during the Reshaping Healthcare Using Big Data & Analytics panel. Mr. Wagner spoke about using data to set patient expectations and emphasized the importance of communicating information clearly to the patient. For example, explaining how a patient might feel as they are recovering from surgery can help set more realistic expectations, and ultimately alleviate the patient’s stress and anxiety during recovery. One strong takeaway from the day: small changes can have a big impact in the healthcare system.
--Mollie Kurshan, MHA '19
Dr. Blumenthal’s morning keynote discussed the arc of healthcare history and emphasized four enduring aspects of health policy that have guided the American health odyssey:
- The Jefferson vs Hamilton debate regarding the role of government still stalks the political stage.
- Once granted, benefits are hard to take away.
- The arc of history is long, but it bends towards coverage.
- A new president’s best opportunity for health reform requires commitment, passion and prioritization in year one.
The American healthcare system stands out uniquely among other OECD countries. The United States spends far more on healthcare than all other OECD countries and yet has failed to deliver better health outcomes. Among other high-income countries, the US is the only country that does not provide universal health coverage of its citizens. As someone who grew up in a universal healthcare system, I’ve always struggled to understand the American resistance towards adopting universal coverage. Dr. Blumenthal’s keynote highlighted this fundamental cultural and ideological debate regarding the appropriate role of government and how these contending perspectives have animated healthcare debates throughout American history. Understanding this ideological debate and the progressive arc towards coverage has helped me appreciate that, in addition to economic factors, this deeply ingrained debate is what is fundamentally driving the design of the US healthcare system.
--Angela Li, MHA '19
What do you feel when you put on a hospital patient gown? Is it anxious? Confused? Uncertain? Uncomfortable? Vulnerable?
During The New Health Economy roundtable discussion with Joe Leggio, Senior Director of Patient and Customer Experience at Lenox Hill, attendees tried on hospital gowns as an interactive and illustrative exercise to begin our discussion on what patient experience truly means. Using this exercise, the group was able to better conceptualize, not only the patient journey, but also the emotional state of the patient, which impacts perception. Perception was a term at the forefront of the discussion—we talked about how healthcare experiences are shaped by the care a patient receives in addition to the patient perception of how the care is delivered.
At Lenox Hill, Joe Leggio and his team are examining every stage of the patient experience, from arrival to discharge. We discussed how moving forward, it is crucial to create a balance between patient and provider experiences through diverse representation in decision making—bringing patients, administers, clinicians, and hospital staff all to the table.
--Patricia Donskoy, MHA '18
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s leadership exemplifies authenticity, compassion, and integrity. During her afternoon keynote speech, it was inspiring to learn about her determined efforts to promote economic and social development. Many of the programs and initiatives she has led have—directly or indirectly—promoted public health in New York City. Her work on the Paid Sick Leave Law and free school lunch regulations shows how comprehensive public health is, and emphasizes the value of multi-sector collaboration in promoting health initiatives. Another key point that Brewer made was the noted absence of academia in policy making. Brewer’s keynote was inspiring, and I believe her ‘call to action’ for academia to be more engaged in informing regulations was a very apt wrap-up to the day.
--Sneha Soni, MHA '18