Esther Dyson discusses how the roles of for-profit hospitals and hospital administrators will evolve to resolve the healthcare crisis. She also talks about how insurance companies are beginning to create programs focused on promoting community health.
- The key roles are really, on the one hand, anybody who provides the education, the incentives, the tools and programs to live by, and the direct care, and then there are the individuals themselves. So there are lots of people and institutions involved. First of all, there's clinical people of all kinds, doctors, nurses, people in the hospital setting just, in a sense, there job is, indeed, healthcare.
And then referring people to the providers of health, who are the people outside the hospital system, the gym coaches, the health coaches. But also people where health is only part of their jobs, police, teachers, educators, even employers need to understand the importance of their worker's health because when they hire them and keeping them healthy on the job, providing exercise facilities, understanding people have a life outside work.
And they'll be better workers if they eat well and get enough sleep outside. In terms of jobs I see a huge increase in, call them broadly, health coaches but that's everything from prenatal care workers to early childhood education, to gym coaches, to sports coaches, to, again, police and other people just interacting with kids in a way that fosters health rather than shuts the kids down. And financially that's the biggest thing to figure out and that's where we hope the big data will help us by showing the economic impact of these things.
We need to start paying the parties I just mentioned to be part of that cultivation of health, to understand what they contribute to the health of the community. Ironically, it's kind of like advertisers, you know. Did this person buy the red sweater because of the Google ad, or the social media post, or they saw someone wearing it on TV? In the same way, are these people healthy because of the gym, the school? We can parcel that out, intellectually, with big data.
We never know about the individual but societally it's going to be clear, all these different entities, all these different people contributed and that needs to be a part of their salaries. And then there are going to be lots of new companies and entities that are going to be a part of this. There's, some of them already have been around for a long time. The Nurse-Family Partnership which is non-profit is the gold standard for prenatal care. Parenting Journey, for helping parents deal with their own demons and become better parents.
And then there are for profit organizations, like Armata Health in which I'm an investor and Blue Mesa Health in which I'm not, both on prediabetes prevention. And there's protocols for addiction recovery, apps to help you with your mental health, apps to motivate you to run, apps to, all these kinds of things. These are all an important part of the infrastructure as well but I think most of them will be more effective when used in a combination of the app plus coaching, plus a community group.
And then there's also going to be, as I mentioned, non-invasive blood testing. You can test your blood sugar, you can test your sleep patterns, you can, a whole lot of self-monitoring will be possible. Some people will do it, some won't but the social dynamics around it more people will be doing that kind of thing and other people will be just, they'll start taking it for, well, of course, people are concerned about getting to bed on time, of course people know that this stuff isn't good for you. So those people are, call them fanatics like me, will influence the others so not everybody has to use the tracker because that kind of behavior will become a social norm.
We also need to talk about the role of the insurance companies. It's turned into something where their role is simply to distribute, and pay for, and move the cost of healthcare around but they are more and more getting involved in actually keeping people healthy. The challenge is to have them do that on a longer timescale. Let me give this specific example, Humana, whom I was just visiting a couple of weeks ago. They're, they now have something called the Bold Goals Program where they're getting, also, quite involved in community health and they're doing, again, some of the same things we're doing.
They're working with the healthcare system but also working outside with social workers, local institutions, teacher's groups, to provide healthier communities because in these communities, they're working in, they have a large part of the population and even if they lose some of them some year they'll come back the next year. So they're beginning to think longer term. They're also looking at this partly as charity but they're partly looking at it as good business and getting ready for the Accountable Care Act to be in full bloom. Whether you're a leader in business, or a government, or a particular community, you need to look at the long term impact of what you are or not doing right now because it's going to be a financial impact, and it may be a political impact, a reputation impact, or simply the happiness of the community where you live.