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San Antonio Comes Together to Improve Healthcare

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Author: MaryAnn Hobbs | Category: Beyond The Bench | August 28, 2017

The Health Cell event “The 360° Approach to a Stronger Health Care System,” hosted on Thursday, Aug. 24 in downtown San Antonio at the Historic Pearl brought together healthcare professionals, providers and community members to discuss the ways in which San Antonio can become a healthier city.

This networking event was encouraging the meeting of healthcare professionals to unite in one vision: “healthy patients and healthier communities.”  The Health Cell is an organization that promotes collaboration and development among those in the healthcare community. They teamed up with companies like HumanaWellMed and many more to bring these minds together to get people talking and thinking of how to improve patient care and reduce repeat hospital and doctor visits. Throughout the night, speakers from different academic backgrounds and places shared their experiences and thoughts on dealing with the current state of healthcare.

Dr. Robert Ferrer is currently the Vice Chair for Research in the Family and Community Medicine department at UT Health San Antonio. The main points he made at the event centered on community and environmental factors affecting one’s health. He encouraged physicians and health care providers to take into account how these outside factors might affect current and future patients, highlighting how investing in accessible resources can ultimately lead to healthier people, and therefore fewer hospitalizations. Dr. Ferrer also encouraged non-healthcare professionals to get involved and to be aware of the specific needs in their neighborhood or community, and work together with other people to fill these gaps.

Former UT Health San Antonio professor  Dr. Fernando Triana and current Physician in Chief for cardiovascular services at Methodist Healthcare systems also offered up some future directions for efficiently streamlining some aspects of healthcare.

He spoke about using real-time predictive models with patient data that include many variables to assist the physician in proceeding with the most useful preventive measures. He gave the example that in a soccer penalty kick (just one offensive player from one team shooting at the other team’s goalie from 11 meters out) the goalie has a 40 percent chance of stopping the ball if he just stays in the middle of the goal, and only about 12 percent chance of stopping the ball if the goalie jumps to one side of the goal or the other; yet 90 percent of the time the goalie’s jump to one side or the other. Dr. Triana gave this example to show that using statistics and predictive models and understanding all the factors that could help trim the wasteful medical practices and focus on the effective treatments available.

Dr. Alyn Casal-Fernandez, is the CEO of Advinity and physician here in San Antonio. She stressed that even though every provider and patient both want more seamless and streamlined patient care, the level of care and patient-physician interaction time will not be slighted. Dr. Fernandez spoke about how comprehensive and collaborative care is not only the future of medicine but necessary to provide quality care.

With organizations and leading healthcare professionals all aligned to the goal of creating healthier patients and healthier communities, there is no doubt that San Antonio will continue to be an example to other communities in collaboration and innovation to better the overall healthcare experience. At the event, every speaker challenged all the attendees to be a proactive and involved member of their community.

The speakers also challenged the physicians that attended to take the extra time to really care about their patients and take into account the socioeconomic needs of those patients as well, and realize the time they take to provide exemplary care may ultimately reduce the amount of times one patient is seen. It is clear that while maybe not everyone agrees on how healthcare should be improved, everyone wants healthcare at the best value. 

About The Author 

M aryAnn is currently a research assistant in the Cellular and Integrative Physiology department, with hopes of attending a Biochemistry and Structural Biology graduate program in fall 2018.

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