by Gail R. Meneley, Co-Founder and Principal
I have worked with hundreds of C-Suite executives over the last 20 years. Before I agree to serve as their advisor, we talk about our relationship and how we will build it to last throughout their careers. (Without that mutual commitment grounded in trust and candor, having an advisor is a waste of time.)
If you are a follower of my occasional LinkedIn and blog posts, you know that I have the privilege of working with extraordinary people every single day. It is one of the many things that make my work so incredibly compelling.
I worked with Dr. James Madara when he was transitioning from CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center to take a well-earned sabbatical and explore what he wanted to do next. After weighing offers from academic medical centers, private equity and venture capital firms, publishers, global consulting firms, among others – we concluded that his greatest contribution would be as CEO of the American Medical Association where he could participate in developing a strategy to begin to solve one of the country’s most critical political challenges: health care reform.
Jim is one of those people whose background makes you wonder why you bother to get out of bed in the morning. He is a genuinely nice guy, a noted academic pathologist, an authority on gastrointestinal diseases, an author of more than 200 original papers, Past President of the American Board of Pathology, an esteemed research scientist and an award-winning professor at Harvard Medical School. (Now you understand that why in my role, no one intimidates me.)
When I need intense brain stimulation, I have lunch with Jim. We catch up on family stuff and then I ask, “So…what’s going on?” and wait to hear vivid stories about the societal, academic, analytical, and political forces transforming the world of medicine. With that, let me give you a glimpse into just a couple of things that the world’s largest physician organization thinks about:
- Focus must be shifted to prevention of chronic disease within communities at greatest risk.
- Establishing metrics that tell us the real cost of healthcare is calculated based on a combination of year over year GDP growth, then the growth due to medical costs
- Integrating data analytics from health care providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and others to enhance health care outcomes, drives down costs, and eliminates redundancies in the system.
- Encouraging the aggregation of venture capital to fund university research centers where advances are being made in DNA and other genomic research that will lead to customized medicine
- Optimizing products, services, and medical resources. Patients can visit their doctors without leaving their homes using technology like telemedicine and videoconferencing, to be replaced within our lifetimes by holograms.
- At the core of the AMA’s work and mission is the physician-patient relationship, which becomes increasingly critical as our disease burden becomes less episodic and more chronic.
- Recent AMA-RAND studies of physicians across multiple practice types, geographies, and specialties reveal that the primary incentive for physicians is face-to-face time with patients, and that excess administrative complexity and clumsy electronic health record platforms tie them to keyboards and keep them away from direct patient care.
Given the many needed “fixes” in the physician environment, the shift to focus on chronic disease, and other changes in the health system, the AMA launched an innovation ecosystem in January 2016 at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare meeting in San Francisco. Health 2047 is an independent, for-profit integrated innovation studio located in Silicon Valley that enables rapid prototyping design efforts to convert interesting ideas into investible concepts to improve the health of our nation. Health2047 integrates deep AMA expertise with many health micro-vertical domains with the creative technology-oriented Silicon Valley community.
So, rest easier knowing that we have some of the greatest minds in the country working on one of our most challenging issues.