About 400 students, faculty and guests gathered at the Yale School of Management April 1 to attend the 18th annual Yale Healthcare Conference.
This year’s conference, which was organized by students at the Yale Schools of Management, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health, focused on patient-centered healthcare.
“The last two years have laid bare the stark challenges, inequities and inefficiencies that face our healthcare system,” Daisy Bourne. MBA/MPH ’22, Lydia Li, MPH, HCM ’22, and Hil Moss, MBA/MPH ’22, three student co-chairs of the healthcare conference, said in a joint statement.
“Fundamentally re-thinking the system will require bold, creative, and innovative solutions. And it all begins with returning to the heart of healthcare: the patient,” they added.
Yale School of Public Health Dean Sten Vermund, the Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health, opened the conference.
“Patient preferences are considered a core part of treatment, yet for decades, it’s shocking how patient points of view have not been highlighted or respected,” he said in his opening remarks.
Vermund pointed out the gross disparities that exist between the U.S.’s large investment in healthcare and the nation’s relatively poor health outcomes compared to other countries.
“The entire gross natural product of Germany and India is about the same as our [U.S.] healthcare expenditure,” Vermund said. “This just goes to show the vastness of the resources and stakes that are involved.”
Vermund cited former YSPH Dean Paul Cleary’s work with patient satisfaction surveys, known as Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) surveys, as one tool that can be applied to help reduce healthcare costs while ensuring the delivery of quality healthcare.
“These surveys have increasingly been used for health system assessment and for opportunities to increase care and trust within health systems,” Vermund noted.
Vermund also highlighted the work of other YSPH researchers, including that of Associate Professor of Public Health (Health Policy) Zack Cooper, whose 1% Steps for Healthcare Reform initiative explores small, yet tangible, solutions to reduce healthcare spending without compromising quality.
“The [1% Steps for Healthcare Reform] initiative brought together the most creative thinkers in health policy and produced discrete evidence-based interventions that would lower healthcare costs,” Vermund said.
Bourne hopes that attendees left the conference with a better sense of what patient-centered innovation truly means.
“Really driving patient-centered change requires unpacking what that phrase means, and the many parts of our system that need to be fundamentally changed in order to achieve a goal of patient-centered innovation,” she said.