By: Charlotte McHenry, Senior Connection Center, Inc. “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” Charles Darwin Leadership Tampa’s Health Care Day, that took place on January 23, 2019, was one that appeared to bring anticipation and excitement for everyone, especially those who had an interest and possibly previous or current work experience in the healthcare arena. The day started at USF Health’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), where three dynamic healthcare executives spoke on their experiences in the field, including their views on leadership. These executives were: Kelly Cullen, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Tampa General Hospital Kimberly Guy, Senior Vice President and Market Leader for Hillsborough and South East Pasco, BayCare Health System Charles Lockwood, Senior Vice President, USF Health and Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida These executives shared their respective healthcare facility’s perspective on achieving quality care while ensuring their connection to the community by improving access. It was refreshing to see their mutual respect for one another and each other’s facilities. Information was shared on the prominence of Tampa General Hospital as a Level 1 Trauma Center, their partnership with GE to advance predictive models and analytics for care coordination, as well as their service to the community as a premier transplant center. BayCare Health System’s focus on quality was highlighted through their Community Health Needs Assessment, their partnership with Publix and their development of HealthHubs, a convenient neighborhood place to check in for your health care needs, which could include such amenities as walking trails. USF took a different tactic in presenting to the class. Dr. Lockwood shared that the biggest threat to the economy, the rising cost of medications. He shared that $3.5 trillion is spent on healthcare costs, which equates to 17.9% of the GNP. Of the $3.5 trillion, $500 billion is spent on medications. The average profit of drug companies is 25%. Some of the issues that are impacting the expensive nature of drugs are as follows:
- The US sets own prices for branded drugs
- The government permits high prices
- Brand drugs can make subtle changes to gain new patents and prevent generics from entering the market
- Physicians write expensive prescriptions (partly due to patient requests due to drug advertising)
- The US disallows drug imports
- CMS cannot negotiate drug prices
It was also noted that pharmaceutical companies comprise the single largest lobbying group. However, it was emphasized that one cannot overlook the role the US plays in the development of incredible drugs that are life-changing, as well as life-saving. The US is undoubtedly the envy of other countries in these innovations and developments, and there is nothing wrong with making a reasonable profit. The tour of the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) was incredibly enlightening. This type of teaching environment is critically important since medical knowledge changes every 73 days. In addition to all the simulated teaching opportunities for medical students, the method of teaching has changed to one that is more team focused, using the soft arts as a way of training and teaching medical students. This method of teaching helps students with situational awareness which can translate to a better bedside manner. Learning the art of proper handwashing to prevent the spread of contagious conditions was a memorable part of this tour. One sometimes hears, “Have there really been advances in cancer care and research?” Well, a behind-the-scenes visit to Moffitt Cancer Center would give you a clear and resounding “yes” to that question. A fascinating presentation from Dr. Sandy Anderson on mathematical oncology showed how applying math to cancer helps revolutionize therapies. Mathematical models have helped determine the point at which cells become resistant to treatment thus determining the Minimum Effective Dose (MED) versus the Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD). The MTD could potentially destroy the cancer cells, but likely create an environment where cancer would come back aggressively and be nonresponsive to treatment. The MED does not focus on cancer cell eradication, but cancer cell control which allows cancer to be treated from a chronic disease perspective. A visit to the vivarium at Moffitt included a stop at the decontamination chamber to ensure the environment remained in its ideal state before the visit could continue. Dr. Engelman shared how the thousands of mice housed within this lab are genetically perfect models for cancer research which results in developing treatment modalities tailored to an individual’s specific type of cancer and tumor. Ending Health Care Day by learning more about Tampa General Hospital’s premiere Transplant Program and spending time with four individuals who have benefited from the program was very rewarding. Hearing their stories was a perfect way to end the day by bringing a face to healthcare. Reflections from Health Care Day should be one focused on gratitude regarding the resource richness of the healthcare systems of Tampa and using the words of Dr. Lockwood, the “collective intelligence” of the excellent professionals that are part of them. Gratitude was heard in the voices of individuals who benefitted from Tampa General Hospital’s Transplant Center and hope resonated within the walls of Moffitt Cancer Center. However, reflections from Health Care Day should include an examination of critical questions, including 1) With all the innovations and technology available in the US, why is Slovenia the only country that ranks below the US in terms of health outcomes? 2) How large a role does access play in shifting the needle? and 3) How large a role does patient accountability play in shifting the needle? A special thank you to Tampa General Hospital, the sponsor of the day, along with the Day Chair, David Robbins, and all the committee members for planning a fabulous day!