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December 21, 2017

The must-read stories of 2017, according to 11 experts

Daily Briefing

    The Daily Briefing asked 11 Advisory Board experts to share their favorite pieces of health care journalism from 2017. Here are their picks:

    Megan Tooley

    Megan Tooley, Practice Manager, Cardiovascular Roundtable

    Megan's pick: "The Heroism of Incremental Care," by Atul Gawande, The New Yorker

    Atul Gawande highlights the incredibly valuable—yet often underappreciated—work done by primary care physicians and other clinicians managing chronic conditions, from cardiologists to geriatricians. While these aren't the services that necessarily make it into local headlines, care management and preventive care are essential to improving the value of our care delivery model. These physicians are ensuring patients have access to health, not just health care.

    Jared Landis

    Jared Landis, Managing Director, Post-Acute Care Collaborative and Philanthropy Leadership Council

    Jared's pick: "The Last of the Iron Lungs," by Jennings Brown, Gizmodo

    I was captivated by this story on polio survivors who still rely on the support of an iron lung machine. The story caused me to reflect on all the reasons I work in health care: The impact on individual lives. The amazing breakthroughs and advances in treatment. The value of support from family and friends. The need for our industry to always think about how we can get better.

    Deirdre Saulet

    Deirdre Saulet, Practice Manager, Oncology Roundtable

    Deirdre's pick: "The Fantastic Voyage of a Bag of Cells Shipped West to be Trained in the Art of Cancer Killing," by Damian Garde, STAT News

    This is my pick for 2017—a year that for those of us in oncology will be marked as a breakthrough year for immunotherapy, especially CAR T-cell therapy. Amid all the excitement, it's easy to forget what this therapy looks like from the scientific and patient perspective. As an immunologist by training, I love how this article takes that on as it follows a bag of T cells back and forth across the country.  

    Rob Lazerow

    Rob Lazerow, Managing Director, Health Care Advisory Board

    Rob's pick: "How We Found Tom Price's Private Jets," by Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan, Politico

    Amid all of the outstanding journalism this year, what I'll remember most vividly is the reporting by Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan on former HHS Secretary Tom Price's use of private jets. Their series of articles provided a notable example of how journalism can affect the future of public policy. While their investigation led to Secretary Price's resignation this year, we're likely to see the full impact on the direction of national health policy in 2018 and beyond, once Alex Azar presumably takes the helm of HHS after the holidays.

    Jennifer Stewart

    Jennifer Stewart, Executive Director, Nursing Executive Center, Physician Executive Center, HR Advancement Center, Talent Development

    Jennifer's picks: "Pregnant and Far from Home, a Sisterhood of the Expecting," by Kirk Johnson, New York Times; "Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses and Doctors Leaving London," by Katrin Bennhold, New York Times

    The first story caught my eye for several reasons. It's a lovely story of a local community and hospital supporting a public health need (to provide a temporary home for pregnant women who live in such remote Alaskan communities that they otherwise wouldn't be able to receive medical care during child birth). As the article explains, the home's roots trace back to 1967, when a pregnant woman made her way to the town which housed the hospital, but had no place to stay. She was found sleeping under a boat on the banks of the Kuskokwim River. The story so touched people in the community that they began informally putting up women for their final weeks of waiting—a function later taken over by the hospital.

    It also resonates with me on a personal level. As someone who passionately cares about rural healthcare, I have to agree with the opinion of one of the women served by the maternal home, who states, "This seems like something that could work far beyond Alaska."

    The second story spotlights the already tight health care labor market in London and how Brexit may dramatically increase the workforce shortage. Many of the concerns voiced by those in this story will resonate with U.S. health care leaders who are facing local (and national) labor shortages.

    Rebecca Tyrrell

    Rebecca Tyrrell, Senior Consultant, Pharmacy Executive Forum

    Rebecca's pick: "A Focus on Health to Resolve Urban Ills," by Amy Maxmen, New York Times

    2017 was the year hospitals started getting serious about addressing the social determinants of health. This piece so nicely articulates the importance of investing in our local communities to improve health for the long haul.

    Marisa Deline

    Marisa Deline, Practice Manager, Nursing Executive Center

    Marisa's pick: "Executive Mentors Wanted. Only Millennials Need Apply," by Kevin Roose, New York Times

    My favorite article of the year was the New York Times (and Daily Briefing) piece on "reverse mentoring"! In 2016, millennials became the largest living generation in the United States. Yet they are often looked down upon in the popular press, painted as lazy, self-centered, and attention-seeking. The idea of reverse mentoring flips these stereotypes on their head. It asks senior leaders to keep an open mind about the youngest segment of their workforce—and tap into their unique strengths.

    Some health care executives are getting in on this trend. For instance, a handful of CNOs mentioned to us, in the course of our research on winning millennial loyalty, that they had already adopted or were planning to adopt a millennial mentor.

    Yulan Egan

    Yulan Egan, Practice Manager, Health Care Advisory Board

    Yulan's picks: Reporting from the New York Times, Politico, Daily Briefing, and others on efforts to repeal the ACA and overhaul Medicaid

    I couldn't have done my job this year without the hard work of countless health care journalists who tirelessly covered the rollercoaster efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and overhaul Medicaid. From Politico's play-by-plays to the New York Times' infographics and our own Daily Briefing's side-by-sides, this year's reporting helped us keep our research up-to-date and our members up-to-speed on every last twist and turn.

    Brandi Greenberg

    Brandi Greenberg, Managing Director, Health Care Industry Committee

    Brandi's pick: "Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2018," Cleveland Clinic

    I always look forward to Daily Briefing's "Top 10 Medical Innovations to Watch" article each year. I spend a lot of time working with our medical technology and biopharmaceutical members. This summary of cutting-edge research and breakthrough technologies celebrates the scientists, clinicians, and business leaders from across the health care ecosystem who are finding new ways to combat disease and save lives.

    Rachel Sokol

    Rachel Sokol, Practice Manager, Health Plan Advisory Council

    Rachel's picks: "WellCare Tests Artificial Intelligence to Help Improve Patient Health," by Kim Nash, Wall Street Journal; "Nevada's Legislature Just Passed a Radical Plan to Let Anybody Sign Up for Medicaid," by Sarah Kliff, Vox

    I enjoyed this Wall Street Journal piece on how artificial intelligence may help plans identify which of their thousands of members need care right now.

    And amid a sea of unpronounceable acronyms (AHCA, BCRA, HCFA), Nevada this year gave us one of the best names for a health care plan: SprinkleCare.

    Eric Fontana

    Eric Fontana, Managing Director, Data and Analytics Group and Financial Leadership Council

    Eric's pick: Reporting on nutritional science

    No story per se, but I think it's been really interesting to see the ongoing flow of research demonstrating advances in nutritional science.

    It's a tricky area of research. However, the conventional wisdom that fat is a prime driver of cardiovascular disease has unraveled, and the spotlight has swung towards other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates and interactions between them. Ongoing advancements in nutritional science have important implications at the intersection of food and health policy, leading to approaches that may reduce chronic illnesses in populations that hospitals are often on the hook for (think readmissions). It will be interesting to see how this space evolves in the years ahead.

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