Q&A with Dr. Jha

By: Ashish Jha, MD, MPH | Posted on: 28 Jul 2021

The American Urological Association (AUA) is excited to welcome Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, as the keynote speaker of the 2021 Annual Urology Advocacy Summit. As a globally recognized expert on the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and response, Dr. Jha brings a uniquely qualified perspective to the current health care landscape. Here are insights from a recent Q&A the AUA had with Dr. Jha. Join us virtually for his keynote on July 21.

As Dean of Public Health at Brown University, a researcher, a physician and global health scholar, what is the future of our American health care system?

I think the future of the American health care system is very bright. We have been through difficult challenges, but I expect that over time, as we develop better payment models, we will see highly personalized medicine where a person’s social factors and public health context are woven into their care.

More than 70% of urologists adapted to some form of telemedicine encounters during the ongoing public health emergency. What role will telemedicine play in health care delivery? What are the concerns moving forward?

Telemedicine will become one of, though by no means the only, way that we care for our patients. The pandemic has highlighted both the benefits of telemedicine (the convenience, ease of connection) along with its shortcomings (the difficulty of building a relationship, limitations on physical exam etc). We will find ways of using telemedicine as a supplement to the standard patient-physician relationship.

In your opinion, why is health care advocacy important to physicians, specifically specialty physicians? Why should medical students, residents, fellows and young practicing urologists be involved in AUA advocacy?

Advocacy for smart, evidence-based policies is critical to the functioning of our health care system. Physicians, especially specialty physicians, must advocate for payment and delivery systems that optimize care for our sickest patients, and should advocate for public health investments that keep patients safe and healthy.

You have been part of the national conversation tackling the public health crisis of the pandemic. What observations have you witnessed that expose the strengths of our nation’s health care system? What about the weaknesses?

The strengths of the health care system have been on full display—the heroic physicians, nurses and other providers who have tirelessly cared for sick patients during the darkest of days, our health care system that created capacity, found [personal protective equipment] and saved lives by improving care delivery.

The weaknesses of our health care system were also on display, including poor flow of information that made it difficult to track the spread of this disease, and payment models that left many hospitals and physician groups struggling.

July is Advocacy Action Month! It culminates with the 2021 Annual Urology Advocacy Summit (July 20 and 21). There’s never been a more critical time to engage in the legislative process! Registration is free and all programming is virtual. Learn more at www.AUASummit.org.

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