Increasing knowledge of the human genome, wider acceptance of digital and wireless technology, and the use of advanced imaging systems are rapidly changing the face of the healthcare industry. As a result, transformation of the healthcare paradigm from "after-the-fact treatment" to "before-onset care" is well underway.
Those assessments were among the comments last week in Washington, D.C., at a forum sponsored by GE Healthcare.
GE Healthcare President and CEO Joseph M. Hogan said the major trends and challenges facing the healthcare system include aging populations, increasing costs, shrinking capital and the need to increase quality of care and decrease medical errors.
"One of [GE's] goals in transforming healthcare is to create new, improved clinical processes enabled by information technology," Hogan said. "As we've already seen at digitally advanced hospitals, information technology can help improve efficiencies, reduce costs and errors and increase the overall quality of patient care."
Also on hand offering their insights were Phyllis E. Greenberger, president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research; David Veillette, president and CEO of The Indiana Heart Hospital; James M. Rippe, MD, founder and director of Rippe Lifestyle Institute and associate professor of medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine; and Gene Saragnese, vice president of global technology for GE Healthcare.
The escalating risk of heart disease and the benefits of information technology also were at the forefront of the discussion.
"Every person needs to know that 80 percent of heart disease can be prevented with simple measures including increased physical activity, proper diet and regular check-ups and an active dialogue with their physician," said Rippe, who is also founder and director of the Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health in Orlando, Fla.
Greenberger urged members of the panel to continue their efforts to research and develop new treatments that will improve the health of women. The Society for Women's Health Research advocates increased funding for research on women's health, encourages the study of sex differences that may affect the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and promotes the inclusion of women in medical research studies.