How to prepare for the next health crisis? Epic, Teladoc and others have ideas

How to prepare for the next health crisis? Epic, Teladoc and others have ideas


A coalition of more than 100 healthcare stakeholders released a report this week  outlining policy and regulatory recommendations to improve the country’s response to future health crises.

The collaboration, which was convened by the Health Leadership Council and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, included private-sector, nonprofit and government organizations.   

Its report focused on actions that could be taken to improve data and evidence generation; strengthen innovation and supply chain readiness; and innovate care delivery approaches.   

“In each area, the report outlines key actions private sector leaders can commit to accomplishing together and identifies recommended actions for public sector leaders to improve coordination and collaborations for public health emergencies,” wrote the report authors.  

Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems, stressed the importance of data standardization and sharing during the webinar, and of getting public health organizations more modernized and able to participate in doing so.   

“Otherwise you’re sending meaningless data back and forth,” she said.  


The report brought together a range of stakeholders, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai Health System, Teladoc Health, the National Minority Quality Forum and the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative.   

Federal participants included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; the Office of HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.   

“The heavy lifting was how to get these large private organizations to agree on the framework,” said Emad Rizk, chairman, president and CEO of Cotiviti, during a webinar presenting the recommendations.

When it comes to principles for improving data and evidence generation, the coalition recommended:  

  • Reforming data collection, coordination and utilization approaches to support disaster preparedness
  • Modernizing national, state and local health IT systems and capabilities
  • Strengthening data reporting and transparency around supply chains
  • Expanding data and evidence generation practices for biomedical innovation  

With regard to supply chain readiness – a sore spot for both COVID-19 personal protective equipment and vaccine allocation, among other issues – the report recommended improving communication and coordination (including reducing regulatory barriers), strengthening stockpiles, improving visibility and expanding capacity.  

The report also emphasized the importance of improving care delivery, noting how organizations can build on the lessons learned during the pandemic. 

It recommended focusing on:  

  • Identifying and increasing adoption of best practices
  • Strengthening public/private communication and coordination
  • Streamlining regulations Improving equity
  • Ensuring healthcare payment supports resilience   

“The COVID-19 pandemic and immediate response has exposed vulnerabilities in the nation’s ability to handle a national-scale crisis,” said Dr. Mark McClellan, founding director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, in a statement. “A positive sign was the organizations and people in the healthcare space who typically are competitors showing willingness to work together for the good of all Americans.”


As McClellan noted, the COVID-19 crisis both revealed and exacerbated existing weaknesses in the country’s ability to handle health disasters. And from chaos around the patient tracking system to a patchwork vaccine rollout, the nation’s health systems have felt the consequences.   

President Joe Biden has taken some steps to move forward, including making several key healthcare hires, but many of the recommendations in the report also require action from the new Congress.   


“Public emergencies will continue to happen and may become more frequent and severe,” said Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, in a statement. “The next pandemic, natural disaster, or global crisis can be handled more effectively with better preparedness.  

“That begins with the government at all levels and the private sector taking action now, while lessons from COVID-19 are still being learned,” she said.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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