Change the World

Our blog about working together to help people with vulnerabilities live rewarding lives.

Innovation: The Future of Health Care Reform

On Capitol Hill, Senator Upton gained enough bipartisan support in advancing HR 6; the 21st Century Cures Act. The National Council of Behavioral Health specifically called out these focuses of the Act as important components they were focused on:

  • Modernize clinical trials to streamline the approval of drugs and devices;
  • Integrate the patient perspective into the regulatory process;
  • Promote better access to and sharing of information such as genomic and other clinical data to foster more collaboration among researchers;
  • Invest in the future of science to support and encourage young, emerging scientists;
  • Incentivize new drugs and devices for unmet medical needs.

It’s what I saw in DC for myself. On May 15th and 16th I attended Digestive Disease week at the Washington Convention Center in DC. Attended by over 18,000 of the top doctors in digestive health from around the globe, this annual conference is a mecca for leaders in all areas of digestive health to not only convene, but to share new innovative practices in their areas of expertise.

The buzz of collaboration was on the convention floor, with endoscopes, discussions on surgical techniques, and researchers huddled discussing their particular laboratory’s focus. It’s a wonderful event for these leaders to collaborate and “catch up”.

What else were they talking about? Enter Jeff DeGraff, aka, the Dean of Innovation. Jeff’s credentials are numerous as a known speaker and educator at the University of Michigan. The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract brought Jeff to discuss Leading Innovation in the Age of Health Care Transformation- his message?The Opportunity to innovate may be in front of your eyes, but turn around or blink and you will miss it.” The physicians were riveted to the lecture. I’m smiling because we at Access are innovating every day.

And it gets better. Health Care reform was the buzz; with innovation at the forefront and improving outcomes for patients the epicenter of the conversations. Video sharing of how major institutions are improving patient outcomes like this one which my husband helped develop at Columbia University Medical Center’s Pancreas Center were on loops at all of the Hotels around the convention center.

And as we moved from one conversation to another with doctors- I found myself surrounded with conversations focused on “detect the disease”; move forward and treat it and be able to measure your success. Valued Based Outcomes. Call me the grinning Cheshire Cat. Right on Docs! Now you are talking my language.

On May 21st, Congress voted to move the 21st Century Cures Act bill forward in the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee.

Senator Upton made this prolific statement about advancing change in outcomes for patients no matter what their vulnerabilities.

As we sit in this room and discuss the details of this bill, I can’t help but think of the patients who are

sitting across from their doctors about to get news that will change their world forever.

One of my dear friends likened that moment to being thrown out of a plane without a parachute.

It is not just the disease that makes them feel powerless and vulnerable; the very system designed to

help them has not kept pace with scientific advances.

They need the next generation of treatments and cures, but they do not have until the next generation to

wait. They don’t care that the timelines, the failure rates, the size and the costs of conducting trials are at all-time

highs. They just care they can’t get the therapy that might save them. That is why we need 21st Century Cures.”

The world is changing and so are we.

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