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School Forum Focuses on Innovative Strategies for Improving Health Care in Latin America

May 28, 2014
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Arun Sharma, professor of marketing, explored how standardization of health care procedures can reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. 


Standardizing health care procedures like cataract and open-heart surgeries can increase access to care, reduce overall costs and improve patient outcomes, according to Arun Sharma, professor of marketing at the School of Business. 

"This is the future of health care," said Sharma in a talk on "Industrialization of Procedures and Increasing Access” at LIFE2014, a forum that brought together nearly 70 health care executives from South Florida, Latin America and other parts of the world.

By industrializing medical procedures like eye, heart, cancer and joint replacement surgeries, leading health care facilities in India have shown how to drive down costs without jeopardizing the quality of care, said Sharma during the forum, organized by the School’s Office of Executive Education and Center for Health Sector Management and Policy in collaboration with Boston Scientific.

For example, physicians at Narayana Hospital complete 30 cardiac surgeries a day at a typical cost of $2,000 with patient safety rates comparable to leading U.S. hospitals.  "This is a very different than the U.S. approach toward personalizing medical care," Sharma added. "But the industrialization of healthcare procedures could certainly help improve access and quality in emerging markets like Latin America."

Another forum speaker, Juan Enriquez, director of Excel Venture Management, focused on Latin America's agricultural, energy and chemical sectors as sources of innovative genetic therapies.

"We could use plants, cows or bacteria as 'factories' for new pharmaceuticals that alter genetic codes, and build a powerful new industry in Latin America."

Steve Ullmann, director of the School's Center for Health Sector Management and Policy, noted that health care is moving towards a business model based on shared risks and rewards.

"Health care today is moving away from the traditional model based on patient volume," said Steve Ullmann, director of the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy.  "Instead of focusing on treating sick patients, healthcare is moving into a value-based model with a system of shared risks and shared rewards."

However, access to care remains a key concern in South Florida, said Ullmann, who moderated a panel discussion with Penny Shaffer, market president for Florida Blue; David Zambrana, CEO of University of Miami Hospital; and Marisel Losa, president and CEO of the Health Council of South Florida.

“Miami-Dade County still has about 600,000 uninsured residents," said Ullmann. "We need to reach this population and deploy systems that can deliver high quality, patient-centered care for everyone. That's a win-win for patients, providers, insurers and employers."


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