Could technology one day replace humans? In the field of health, it is unlikely.
The one-day Stern Future Healthcare Workforce Summit at the University of Delaware’s STAR Tower brought together speakers from around the world to discuss this and other topics on the future of healthcare.
Kathy Matt, dean of UD’s College of Health Sciences, says that while the COVID pandemic has opened up a world of possibilities for health technologies, the human side of the field can never be replaced.
“I think that’s why we call it ‘the healing arts’ and ‘the art of medicine,'” Matt said. “It also makes me think about how we train our students and what we teach them. So the connection with individuals, empathy and compassion, and just really a sensitivity to understanding their patients and caregivers and their lives and their family members.
Speakers like Robin Goldsmith, director of health innovation at Verizon, and Bertalan Meskó, director of the Medical Futurist Institute, have discussed how telehealth, home hospitals, and artificial intelligence diagnostics can be beneficial, but require a reliable broadband to operate. And Matt says interconnected training for the workforce of the future is also needed.
“Like we can medically treat you, but if you don’t have all these other things that are positive in terms of social determinants of health, you’re going to get sick again,” Matt said. “So how can we rethink this?”
She also highlights the pressure on academic institutions, like UD, to expel work-ready healthcare graduates, and more.
“We really have to partner with that,” Matt said. “Because we need to know at the clinic and in the hospital, and where our students will be employed, what do you need those workers to be able to do and look like and what characteristics will be best for you and high functioning And then, on the academic side, we have to integrate that into our training. But financially, we all have to work together on that.
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President and CEO Patrick Harker announced the launch of the first-ever national dataset measuring the importance of anchor institutions to their regional economies. Data shows that Delaware is 23% more dependent on eds and meds for jobs, revenue, and gross value added than the country as a whole.
Harker also says the extremely tight supply of doctors in the United States is keeping costs high, and in Delaware there are relatively few doctors to serve the aging population.