Technology. The key to health in the future?

“People do not want robots to care for them,” Indu Subaiya, a physician and executive vice president at Health 2.0 told commissioners at the second convening of the Future Health Commission in Los Angeles. “We still want human interaction. The question is what can technology do to augment care.”

Technology and its growing role in health in California was front and center at the Nov. 8 meeting. Jana Katz-Bell, MPH and assistant dean at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, demonstrated how telecare is bringing specialized care to underserved parts of the state and how emerging approaches not only help to treat patients, but also build skills for health providers in more rural areas. Ginna Baik of CDW Healthcare talked about wearable technologies, or “wearables,” that have a high adoption rate among people over 65 and can cut recovery time.

Presenters raised provocative points: “We’re always going to have a maldistribution of health providers in this state. That’s the reality,” Katz-Bell told commissioners.

While technology will factor into the strategic plan for California, there are shortcomings. As Asm. Jim Woods, who represents fire-torn Santa Rosa and other counties in Northern California, noted, the recent fires took out as many as 80 cell phone towers.

Other presenters included Dustin Corcoran from the Leading the Way Coalition; Carmela Castellano-Garcia, CEO of the California Primary Care Association (CPCA); Jennie Chin Hansen formerly with the American Geriatrics Society; and Dr. Christine Cassel, planning dean of the new Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. Additional topics ranged from behavioral health and system transformation and the gap in long-term caregiving.

For more information on topics of discussion and presentations, visit the “Meetings” section.

Looking Forward

  • Subcommittees on care for the aging, behavioral health as well as primary care and prevention have been formed and are diving into the details in these three critical areas.
  • The Future Health Commission is on track to release preliminary recommendations in February 2018.
  • The Technical Advisory Committees will next meet on February 1, 2018.