Richard S. Isaacs, MD, shares how COVID-19 catapulted health care into the future at SXSW Online

Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, shared ways the COVID-19 pandemic propelled health care into the future and additional transformational changes he hopes to see during “Reimagine, Reboot, Retool: Healthcare Post-COVID,” a virtual panel at this week’s SXSW Online conference.

Richard Isaacs, MD

Dr. Isaacs, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group and president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, said the pandemic accelerated and highlighted changes that Kaiser Permanente has made during the past 2 decades, including a shift to telehealth facilitated during the pandemic by regulatory and billing changes.

He added that improving health care for people across the entire United States will require additional technological, regulatory, and structural innovation, as well as strong public-private partnerships.

“One of the most important things we need moving forward is a focus on integrated care and coverage, where the incentives are aligned to promote health, to prevent disease, and get away from the fragmented, fee-for-service world that … is very coin operated,” he said. “If we have organizations that are focused on population health and the prevention of heart attacks and strokes, and the prevention of complex disease, that’s the future, and I feel we are in a very good position right now, coming out of COVID-19, to build those blocks for the American health care system.”

Moderated by Reed Abelson, health care reporter with The New York Times, the panel also included  Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, cardiologist and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Northwell Health; and Lisa Suennen, Digital and Technology Group lead, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and lead partner of Manatt Ventures.

Note: To view the virtual panel at the SXSW Online Conference, visit Reimagine, Reboot, Retool: Healthcare Post-COVID (registration required). Conference registrants may also join a session viewing party to ask questions and text chat with the panelists on Friday, March 19, 2 p.m. PT/4 p.m. CT.