A Healthy Debate

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The interest in healthcare continues to grow at Booth. Just within the last year, Booth job postings in the healthcare industry have increased 40%, and companies like Abbott and Medtronic participate as sponsors for our Management Labs each year. Booth is excited to announce the addition of the Healthcare Operations class, which launches this spring, and that five of the ten New Venture Challenge finalists are in the healthcare-related space. Clearly there is strong momentum for those interested in healthcare at Booth.

Last week, I attended the 11th Annual Healthcare Conference - “Healthcare in Transition: Envisioning 2020” managed by Booth’s Healthcare Group, one of our 70+ Groups. I was blown away by the event’s agenda for the day: five engaging panels, three impressive keynote speakers, and plenty of time to network. Well over 100 people attended the event, ranging from current students, alumni, staff, and industry experts.

The day started with a morning keynote by Andrew Hayek, President & CEO of Surgical Care Affiliates. He spoke of the range of procedure costs and how the increase in overall spending has not equated to a higher life expectancy. The healthcare system is broken and veering away from the true competition of free markets.

We then participated in two panel discussions: Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital and Providers & Organizations. It was interesting to hear their take on healthcare reform and the overall challenges and opportunities that our nation will face in the years to come. With change, comes rewarding entrepreneurial ventures and those who understand the industry and best practices can be very successful. However, there is still great risk as many ventures funds have closed their doors over the past three to four years.

Over lunch, Stephen Bonner, the President & CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America spoke to the uncertain state of healthcare in our nation. His company has been innovative in creating an organization built on access and fair cost - consumers should be able to shop around and easily navigate the opportunities in the market, skip unneeded procedures and focus on well-being of the patient.

Overall, each panel and speaker returned to the same overall themes; the need for better transparency and accountability for the system to work. The economics are changing and healthcare finance is becoming more and more vital. Policy vs. Political differences will need to join forces begin to do the right thing.

And all of this was only the first half of the day! This is one of many conferences I attend each year to learn more about our students' interests and industries. The Healthcare Group’s annual conference was a great learning experience for me and I commend the group for an amazing roster of speakers and participants.