Opportunities, from Lewis Sandy

Jan 11, 2008, 12:00 AM, Posted by RWJF Blog Team

Lewis Sandy, M.D., is Senior Vice President, Clinical Advancement at UnitedHealth Group, where he leads efforts to promote efficient and effective health care, provide tools and information to doctors and patients to promote health and foster the growth of evidence-based medicine. He is formerly Executive Vice President of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where he led Pioneer at its early outset, and served as an internist and health care center medical director at the Harvard Community Health Plan in Boston, MA.

Sandy stressed the importance of Pioneer’s thinking of its areas of interest as questions, not as projects or programs. Questions he raised for us include:

  • What impact will virtual communities and social networks have on health?
  • Should there be a Public Health “Special Forces” that can deal with Andrew Speaker or pandemic flu?
  • What would create a breakthrough in increased adherence rates to medical therapy and behavior changes, say to 90% over two years?
  • How can health-improving actions be designed to create the same dopamine release stimulated by risky behaviors (drug use, eating, gambling, etc.)?
  • What policy constructs would support defaulting to change (e.g. access expansion) rather than defaulting (as we do now) to the status quo?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.