Hats Off to Sanjay Gupta – A Strong Voice for Personalized Health Care

I have spent almost 40 years as an academic physician involved in research, teaching, practice, and administration. During this past decade, I have become increasingly convinced of the need to change health care from its current disease event-oriented approach to one that is personalized, predictive, preventative, and focused on personalized health planning with an engaged, empowered individual at the center of their care.

I have written, spoken, organized symposiums, and created model delivery programs. Yet, my overall impact on fostering change, if any, dwarfs in comparison to the power of the mass media to gain the public’s attention. Dr. Gupta’s August 28, 2011 show on CNN entitled, “The Last Heart Attack”, while presenting some controversial views, clearly portrayed a powerful message to a vast audience. The number one killer of adults in our country is largely preventable. To do this requires personalized planning and intense engagement on the part of the individual (patient), hopefully in collaboration with an enlightened care delivery system. This is what personalized health care is all about.

True health care reform requires far more than what can ever be legislated. It requires a change in how one values health and, therefore, acts accordingly. Health is amongst our most important resources. It can be managed and enhanced but to do this most effectively, care should be personalized, planned and supported by coordinating clinical infrastructures.

When directed by enlightened individuals such as Dr. Gupta, the media can play a major role in leading health care reform by gaining the public’s understanding and support. While politicians are embroiled in issues such as health insurance and mandates, true reform requires a change in the delivery model itself. To do this appropriately, the public needs to understand the stakes and become involved.

Hats off to Sanjay Gupta and others for bringing this story to the public. As for this academic physician’s attempt, you may want to read my piece from the Huffington Post.

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