Population and Public Health

Accelerating Public Health and Technology

Public health during a pandemic


This episode of the Accelerate Health Podcast features co-host Indu Subaiya, president of Catalyst @ Health 2.0 and senior advisor to HIMSS speaking with Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, co-founder and chief executive officer of Aledade and former head of the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Dr. Mostashari provided his perspective on what a 21st century public health system could look like including real-time disease surveillance, targeted prevention and the smart allocation of resources. He also discussed how healthcare providers can effectively partner using new technology and data-enabled primary care models.

“There are two parts… that I think about,” shared Dr. Mostashari. “One is the environment. And what is the context within which each of us makes decisions—that’s public health.”

Dr. Mostashari explained that whether people have places where they can walk, whether people can afford their medications, whether healthy options are available, etc., are what create an ideal system. This system should be one where, for all of us, it's easier to do the good thing for our health than the bad.

And with the pandemic, technology that was once a trend or not used to its full capacity, like telehealth, was accelerated. “[These] are the kinds of radical changes that make you realize, no, revolutions are possible, change can happen. And it can happen quickly. And you can remind yourself like, ‘Oh, I can still sprint,’ you know? And I think healthcare showed that it can be very adaptable, very quickly. And things can change. That's mostly what I'm taking away from this experience: these things are not givens.”

Moving forward, Dr. Mostashari expressed the need to maintain sufficient capacity and resourcing for when the next pandemic or crisis arises, there will be enough of a capacity of local responders to respond. “These surveillance systems are smoke detectors,” He explained. “You still need firemen to go into the building and see what's going on. And if you have cut the funding, year over year, every year… then when the fire alarm goes off, there'll be no one there.”

The views and opinions expressed in this content or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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