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Health care is poised at a pivotal moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned so many of our previous assumptions and practices upside down. And it has revealed to us, with painful clarity, our shortcomings. But this time has also opened up a rare chance to recast the future. So as we emerge from the pandemic, we don’t have to go back to where we were. In fact, we shouldn’t. We have a chance now not just to tinker around the edges, to make small improvements, but to reimagine healthcare and redefine health itself.In this final episode of season 2, Jodie Lesh breaks down our biggest opportunities and most urgent priorities with Kaiser Permanente’s Senior Vice President and Chief Health Officer, Dr. Bechara Choucair. Dr. Choucair has pursued healthcare transformation at the smallest and largest scales, through his work as a family physician and, more recently, as President Biden’s national vaccine coordinator in the White House. He and Jodie explore what it would look like if our healthcare providers could address our complete scope of needs, including physical, mental and social health. And how we can go from caring for individuals to also elevating the well-being of entire communities and ultimately our country.
Changing people’s behavior is arguably the holy grail of medicine. To keep patients healthy, we ask them to do all sorts of things—come to their appointments, take their medications, get their vaccines. And beyond the clinic, we want them to exercise, eat healthily, get enough sleep, limit alcohol, avoid smoking, and lately wear masks and take COVID-19 tests. If we could collectively succeed at this kind of health-supporting behavior, we could solve a whole lot of the sickness and death that prescriptions and treatments alone can’t fix. But time and again, behavior change has proven incredibly hard to achieve. Why?In this episode of Ahead in Health, Jodie Lesh digs into that question with Andy Slavitt, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, author of the book “Preventable,” and host of the “In the Bubble” podcast; and Katy Milkman, behavioral economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, author of “How to Change,” and host of the podcast “Choiceology.” Together, they explain many of the complex factors that drive our choices, from misinformation to the conditions we face in our everyday lives. And they identify how health care could tap into the growing insights of behavioral science to help all of us live to our healthiest potential.
We are awash in data. In health care, we (and our doctors) are constantly generating medical data from our health apps, connected devices, electronic health records, labs, images and treatment plans. Yet, very little of it is used or interpreted in a way that produces meaningful insights… or helps us predict or prevent a problem before it starts. In this episode of Ahead in Health, host Jodie Lesh talks to Dr. Ashwini Zenooz and Paul Meyer, two people who are revolutionizing how patient data is used, and modernizing an industry that still uses fax machines and CDs to convey crucial patient information. Together they discuss how to get our records into our hands – and phones – so that we can get seamless care anywhere. That future is closer than you think. Dr. Zenooz is the CEO of Commure, where she has created a platform that makes it easy for companies to build the next generation of healthcare applications. And Paul Meyer is founder and president of The Commons Project. They’re the ones behind the SMART Health Cards that make COVID-19 vaccination and testing records easy to access on our smartphones. A note about this episode: Kaiser Permanente takes a robust, consistent, transparent data privacy approach to patient health data privacy. To learn more about our policies in this area, click here.
Our caregivers need their own support systems. Most caregivers are women, and over a third of women have skipped important doctor’s visits since the pandemic began. Part of that is overwhelm. But another part of it speaks to the fact that health care is not plugged into women’s lives in ways that make it easier for them to access specific services at key moments or phases of life. In this episode of Ahead Health, host Jodie Lesh talks to Kate Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven Clinic. Maven’s mission as a digital health platform is to connect women with the providers and information they need to start and raise a family. They discuss the gaps in care that women still face, fusing digital and traditional care, and getting women accurate information in culturally sensitive ways. 
Virtual health care boomed in the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s undoubtedly a huge part of the future of medicine. But is that good news for everyone? Underserved communities are at risk of being left even further behind as the most affordable, timely, convenient care increasingly happens online. Digital care actually has the potential to do the opposite—to improve access, personalize care, and reduce historic health inequities—but only if we design it right, and do so right now.In this episode of Ahead in Health, host Jodie Lesh talks with professor john a. powell, director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, and Abner Mason, CEO of the patient engagement platform SameSky Health. They illuminate the steps needed to make health care inclusive, explaining how to use data to treat patients as individuals, how to design digital care to bridge mistrust, and what it means to truly belong.
Health care has expanded beyond the clinic, the lab and the hospital. Today, more people than ever are using virtual health. It’s in our homes, parks and gyms. Even before Covid accelerated these trends, there were more and more health apps, wearable technologies, and ways to message or video chat with your doctor. AI is being used for early detection and for decision making.In this episode of Ahead in Health, host Jodie Lesh talks to Daniel Kraft M.D. and Jordan Shlain M.D., two noted health care innovators and futurists. They examine how the emergence of these new tools has reshaped patients’ mindsets and habits, how to build and design for trust, and medicine’s next big leap.
Season 2 Trailer

Season 2 Trailer


An inside look at the future of healthcare. In each episode, Jodie Lesh, Chief Transformation Officer at Kaiser Permanente, speaks with thought leaders and care providers who are helping shape how we all access care — from cutting-edge technologies, to designs and innovations that challenge the status quo. Ahead In Health delivers critical conversations about what state-of-the-art, equitable and ethical care can be.
As we have developed into a world living with COVID-19, an astounding amount of processes and procedures across sectors have been transformed. And as the situation evolves, we continue to live in a state of regular and massive change. So what does innovation mean in this world of rapid evolution? How can we take the shifts that this pandemic has induced -- in markets, regulation and policy, digital transformation, health management, etc. -- and learn from them in order to better motivate change and navigate our current moment? And how can we do this in favor of true revolutions in health, justice, and human flourishing. 
Advanced technologies provide a unique ability to process data in efficient and smart ways, allowing healthcare providers and administrators to anticipate patients’ needs, design targeted preventative programs, innovate remedies, and remove burdensome tasks from these processes. In this episode, we look at the implications and opportunities for the use of AI in Healthcare. How can we streamline and verify quality data to ensure our AI decisions are instructive, ethical, and valuable? How can we demystify AI for increased transparency and utilization, both to improve performance and reduce doubt? 
Health care is ripe for digital innovations to break down barriers and improve access and convenience. What technological bridges must we cross to build this future? How do we design the infrastructure today to ensure high quality care is low-cost and accessible, and can be delivered conveniently, in the right place at the right time? Beyond simple video calls with physicians, the future hinges upon our capacity improve connections between the clinic and home. By building viable modalities of virtual care that can address barriers such as transportation, mobility, and provider access, the future promises improved care for all. 
While virtual models of work and healthcare have taken precedent in the year of COVID-19, how people interact with the physical spaces of our world is ripe for innovation. How might we reimagine our built environment to meet the growing need for flexible work spaces and blended models of in-person and virtual interactions? What innovative partnerships are needed to create healthy ecosystems across rural and urban environments? The spaces we inhabit have a strong impact on our sense of safety, dignity, and identity. What is needed across businesses and healthcare to meet people where they are? 
For decades health reformers have been pushing American medicine to adopt more proactive models of care -- led in large part by Kaiser Permanente and its deep history in preventive medicine. Yet focusing healthcare conversations on maintaining health rather than managing sickness appears to be a constant challenge. Today consumer technologies are driving people to monitor, track and manage more and more elements of their lives, in pursuit of total health and wellbeing -- from mental to physical health and all of their intersections. Are these digital tracking technologies then enabling our pursuit of wellness, or are there more systematic interventions on social determinants of health? What are the current models of health that point us towards an ideal future of integrated mental, physical, and social wellness, and how can we ensure that all people access these means to truly thrive? 



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