Leading Through COVID-19: Healthcare Case Study with Greg Horne, Global Principal, Health Care, SAS

4 minute read

How does data help change outcomes?

How does it help build a better healthcare system?

How will it help us predict the future?

How do we use more data to optimize resources?

In IOG's latest live webcast, Leading Through COVID-19 #leadingthroughC19, Greg Horne posed these and other key questions for our listeners to ponder. As Global Principal of Health Care at SAS, Greg is a thought leader in healthcare strategy and an expert at providing valuable insights to questions such as these. Interviewed by IOG President Toby Fyfe, Greg discussed how data can be analyzed and applied to the current COVID-19 crisis, and what the future might bring to us as patients, and our country as a whole.

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Greg began by highlighting the value of healthcare data that has been collected in the past, and how it has been used thus far to analyse the health system and its performance. Presently, during the Covid-19 crisis, he is "starting to see more people saying -- how does my data help me change outcomes? How does it help me build a better healthcare system, and how does it help me predict all kinds of things that will be thrown at me in the future?"

He explained that in order to learn from the coronavirus and apply it to improving our healthcare system, "it really is about understanding processes, plans for care, and applying data to those things to ensure that we deliver care that follows a very structured approach." He noted that we need to take a look at our current processes so that we can take this opportunity to improve. He continued,"If we were optimizing our healthcare system just as something we do all the time, it would really help us with these crises when they hit us."

Greg also stressed Canada's role in assessing the crisis by looking inward, "we can't just necessarily rely on what other countries have done -- we need to apply local knowledge to everything we do."

Using acute conditions versus chronic conditions as an example, he went on to analyze our healthcare system's strengths and weaknesses from a cost perspective. He explained, "In Canada we have a phenomenally good healthcare system for dealing with acute conditions, (heart attacks, strokes, accidents).We do less well with chronic conditions -- and the chronic conditions are what cost a lot of money, take a lot of time, and there is a lot of involvement between patient and physician. We know from looking at modeling in healthcare in general, the highest quality healthcare and the safest healthcare is actually the cheapest healthcare -- so often, we can actually drive better outcomes by spending less money than if we spend more."

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Post-Covid-19, he went on to emphasize what he predicts will be a major health-related factor -- mental health -- and how virtual care may help streamline service and delivery of mental health services. "One of the things that's going to be a big issue for us in Canada as a result of this crisis is going to be a big uptick in mental health requirements and mental health needs. We already know that our mental health delivery has not always been up to standard, but certainly with virtual care, we can really accelerate a lot of the ability to treat and understand people's problems who don't need to be in a hospital but do need to have a medical consult."

In closing, Greg asked what he saw as the big "takeaway" question -- "how do we use more data to optimize resources?" He went on to analyse further, "if we can utilize predictive tools to understand that, when the next crisis comes along we won't necessarily need to lock down the whole economy -- we can be much more smart and understanding of areas where we need to focus our effort, and therefore we can keep some of those other healthcare, economic and education needs running while we only focus on lockdowns in places that are really in need of it."

Thank you to Greg Horne for joining us on the Leading Through COVID-19 Webcast. Join us for our next webcast, this Thursday, May 14th at 12:30 PM EST where IOG President Toby Fyfe will be speaking with Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Bill Matthews, who will be sharing his leadership lessons and visions for the future.

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This webcast series is brought to you with the support of SAS. Together, we can make a difference with passion, expertise and technology. Click here to learn more about SAS COVID-19 Response in this resource hub.

About the author

Institute on Governance

Institute on Governance

Founded in 1990, the Institute on Governance (IOG) is an independent, Canada-based, not-for-profit public interest institution with its head office in Ottawa and an office in Toronto. Our mission is ‘advancing better governance in the public interest,’ which we accomplish by exploring, developing and promoting the principles, standards and practices which underlie good governance in the public sphere, both in Canada and abroad.

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