Topics: Treating Rural America, Nonprofit Generics, Diabetes Care, Personalizing Medicine
On this episode of Solutions News, we focus on solutions in HealthCare, with origins in advances in communications technology, socially responsible business approaches and human centered thinking. We discuss the growing role of nurse practitioners and telemedicine in improving medical services for rural communities in the US. We also shine a light on a new nonprofit generic drug company that’s pushing back on big pharma, and we’ll discuss new targeted and personalized approaches that are revolutionizing medicine. We are also excited to introduce our audience to our guest, Dr. David Kerr, who leads the world renowned Sansum Diabetes Research Institute located here in Santa Barbara.
Story #1: The Lack of Doctors in Rural America – Citizens of rural America are at greater risk for health challenges due to the lack of doctors in rural areas. One potential solution for this issue is that of modern communication technology. Nurse practitioners complete much of the necessary routine medical work and are trained to diagnose problems and prescribe medicine. There are 243,000 licenses nurse practitioners in the United States, but many doctors worry that these practitioners cannot quite live up to primary care physicians. But at this time, it is necessary to put the patients first when this is the only option. While there is a massive shortage of doctors in rural America, there is an increasing market for medical practitioners that are able to provide adequate care in bustling urban areas and rural America alike.
Story #2: Hospitals to the Rescue – Continuing our theme of shortages, many hospitals are running short on necessities because the Big Pharma restrictions. But, as you know, there has to be a solution, and this time it is a big power move for hospitals. Hospitals are banding together to eliminate shortages and reduce the costs for patients. Not only will this stock up hospitals, but it will actually drive down the costs that patients have to pay for necessary healthcare. Civica Rx, a not-for-profit company, is behind these advances. The band of big and local hospitals is working to protect patients and citizens from Big Pharma gouging.
Story #3: Personalized Medicine – With more and more information on genes, data, and personal microbiomes, medicine has been revolutionized. Germ theory can no longer be the basis of diagnosis and treatment. Our immune systems are incredibly strong and able to attack certain types of cancerous tumors through immunotherapy. It has become easier to target more specific molecules of cancer cells through Precision Medicine. Hopefully, treatments will soon be so personalized to specific cancers that patients will be treated through personalized treatments and medicines. While precision medicine is not yet part of routine care for most patients, it is progressing more and more every day.
David Kerr MD is a UK trained physician and endocrinologist who is currently Director of Research and Innovation at the world famous Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI), here in Santa Barbara (www.sansum.org). This is his third time living in the US having been a researcher at Yale in the 1990s, and then an Editor of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology in 2010 while he lived in the San Francisco Bay area.
David went to school and University in Scotland and subsequently spent most of his professional life being a full-time clinician and researcher focusing on all aspects of diabetes. David is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University and for many years has held a Gold Clinical Excellence Award from the National Health Service in the UK.
David joined SDRI in April 2014 and currently is leading major research initiatives aimed at reducing the disproportionate impact that diabetes has on minority populations in the United States and also how a return to focus on healthy food could have dramatic and important benefits for children and adults wherever they live. You can find out more about his “Eat Your Medicine” program at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter - @godiabetesmd.