Susan shares her thoughts about NEHI, membership and what she's excited to start working on.
Susan Dentzer, expert in health policy and veteran journalist, starts as the new President and CEO of NEHI.
We asked Susan what she’s most excited about and how she’ll be working with our membership.
What is it about NEHI that attracted you to become the new President and CEO?
Susan Dentzer: The world of health and health care in the United States is made up of all the organizations represented in the NEHI membership, and more. The genius of NEHI has been drawing on the strength of the membership across all sectors, and looking for areas where there is broad agreement that there should be change and innovation. If health systems, health insurers and other payers, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and even patient groups agree that there needs to be change or a set of changes that creates a powerful set of forces to bring to bear on devising strategies for change and then putting them in place. NEHI offers the opportunity to help foster change that that can improve human health, improve health care, and lead to more sustainable health care spending – all the goals of the Triple Aim.
Are there any specific policy issues you’re looking forward to addressing with the cross-sector NEHI membership?
SD: Three in particular come to mind.
What can the NEHI Membership expect from you in your new role?
The NEHI membership can expect a lot of energy, commitment, and engagement, from me as NEHI’s president and CEO, but also from the entire NEHI team. We want to tap into this powerful brain trust to understand better what is really happening on the ground in health and health care, what innovations are playing out internally within organizations, and what needs to happen to achieve the Triple Aim. And we want to build out the membership to bring in more organizations that are playing an increasingly important role in transforming health care, most notably through information technology. So today’s members can expect us to build an even broader brain trust to foster ideas and road maps for innovation.
What makes you passionate about advancing innovation in health care?
I am passionate about innovation in health and health care because it is vitally important that it continue and because there is so much potential for constructive change. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 declared that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” We haven’t fully delivered on that implicit promise as a nation, and innovation in how we advance health and deliver health care must play a role in getting us there. The Institute of Medicine’s 2001 report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, noted that U.S. health care was not sufficiently safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, or equitable, and although we have made some progress since then, most experts would agree that there has not been nearly enough change. The health and lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, and billions more worldwide, hang in the balance.