Former US Secretaries of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy Thompson are co-chairs of the newly formed Aspen Health Strategy Group (AHSG). The Aspen Health Strategy Group comprises 23 senior leaders across influential sectors such as health, business, media, technology, tasked with providing recommendations on important and complex health issues to promote improvements in policy and practice.
Each year AHSG will tackle one issue for a year-long, in depth study. The first topic is how to improve end of life care. Do you have ideas to address this issue? Submit them to us online by filling out a short form no later than June 1, 2016.
Below, Sebelius and Thompson ask us to consider how we can improve healthcare at the final stages of life.
No topic is more personal than end-of-life care, an issue that impacts all of us. Care toward the end of life reflects the best and worst of American healthcare: amazing medical advances delivered by dedicated clinicians, but reflecting the fragmentation of the health system, its high costs, and its resistance to incorporating patient preferences.
How do we honor the oft-stated desire to “die with dignity?” How do hospitals and other healthcare settings prepare to make sure people’s wishes are honored and their medical, social, and spiritual needs are met? How do we help people have effective conversations about this highly sensitive, and sometimes politicized, topic? What is the role of public policy in improving end-of-life care? These are all questions the Aspen Health Strategy Group plans to explore.
America needs new ideas to address our most complex and controversial health challenges. In 2014, we spent $3.0 trillion, or 17.5 percent of our GDP, on healthcare even as our people suffered from unnecessary illness, health disparities, and unaffordable costs.
As the healthcare system goes through unprecedented transformation and biomedical innovation accelerates, the politics of healthcare has become extraordinarily polarized. This is why the Aspen Health Strategy Group is seeking to promote innovations in healthcare that break through existing political and institutional barriers.
In the tradition of the thought-provoking conversations and ideas shared at the Aspen Ideas Festival and Aspen Spotlight Health about how to solve critical societal issues, we are looking for big ideas that will transform the way we provide end-of-life care. They should be “big” – as in meaningful and bold – and “ideas” as in reflecting thought and not just an exhortation that someone do something they should be doing already.
We know that good ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, so we are opening up our solicitation for big ideas to everyone. If you have an idea for improving end-of-life care or the end-of-life experience, we hope you will share it with us. The AHSG staff and members will select up to five that will be presented during a session of the Aspen Institute Spotlight Health event in June in Aspen, CO, and be included in a paper that will be prepared later in the year. This isn’t a competition — there is no prize — but your big idea just might become the starting point for much-needed change in healthcare.
For complete information about our guidelines, and to submit your big idea, go here.