by Sheryl Marlar

Nationally renowned physician, healthcare speaker, and author Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel was the speaker at the University of West Georgia Tanner Health System School of Nursing’s Inaugural Healthcare Speaker Series held last week.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel Speak for the Tanner Health System School of Nursing’s Healthcare Speaker SeriesAfter an introduction by UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero Dr. Ezekiel spoke to a standing-room only crowd in the nursing building.

“To have such a speaker here as Dr. Ezekiel is not only a testament to our program, but to the importance of healthcare for all of us,” Dr. Marrero said. “As a leading practitioner shaping the future of healthcare, we’re thrilled to have him here.”

Dr. Ezekiel spoke on future of the American healthcare system, and how the Affordable Care Act could impact healthcare.

“The United States spent $3.24 trillion on healthcare in the last year,” he said. “The entire GDP of Great Britain is $2.94 trillion. Only Germany, Japan, China, and the U.S. have larger economies, making American healthcare the fifth largest economy in the world.”

The Affordable Care Act was introduced six years ago, and was not necessarily favorable. But according to Dr. Emanuel, the uninsured rate in the country has decreased dramatically. In addition, Dr. Emanuel points out a substantial reduction in hospital visits due to sickness and infections.

In his book, “Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System” (2014), Dr. Emanuel pointed out a series predictions, or megatrends, of the future in healthcare.

One of those predictions is a movement from offices and hospitals as technology improvements will allow for digital and telemedicine. More and more surgeries can be done in ambulatory centers rather than hospitals, and follow-ups can be done virtually or through home visits by doctors and nurses.

According to Dr. Ezekiel, patients who recover at home recover faster and report a higher level of patient satisfaction with their care. Over time, the need for brick and mortar hospitals will decrease, thus creating more savings.

Other trends in his book include the end of health insurance companies, the end of employee sponsored health insurance, and lower healthcare inflation as costs are brought down.

“I’m an optimist, a glass half-full kind of person,” Dr. Ezekiel said. Despite dramatic change and much anxiety, he sees a very bright future for the American healthcare system.

Posted on March 31, 2016