Health Care’s Double McTwist

Dr. Brailer’s Presentation Had Students Taking Out Their Phones.
As soon as Dr. Brailer started speaking, the cell phones came out. It wasn’t, however, a sign of boredom or disrespect. It was all part of an engaging and informative talk, and something the audience came prepared for. 

After being introduced by his son Preston ’19, Brailer gave a presentation called “Health Care’s Double McTwist,” which likened our country’s task of navigating the ethical and financial challenges of health care to the difficulty of executing Sean White’s notorious snowboard maneuver. Using real-time polling via the audience's mobile phones, Brailer presented an overview of dilemmas our country faces as it works to improve the health care system.

We pay more and get less value for it than other developed countries. Meanwhile, breakthroughs in medicine are adding to ethical quandaries related to access and priorities. As Dr. Brailer outlined some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in topics such as physician-assisted suicide and personalized medicine, bar graphs displayed behind him grew and shrank as audience members weighed in with their views, which often changed as he elaborated.

Following the talk, Brailer held a breakout session in the Thacher Room for upperclassmen and faculty. The next day, he continued the conversation with visits to Mr. Popa’s economics classes.

Dr. Brailer has a wealth of experience working to advance health care delivery in the United States in both the public and private sectors. In 2004, Brailer was appointed by the administration of President George W. Bush as the nation's first “Health Information Technology Czar.” In this role, he developed the nation's strategy for electronic records, information sharing, consumer empowerment, and transformation of research and public health. Today, he is chairman of Health Evolution, a firm devoted to the education of health care leaders in a rapidly changing industry.

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