Physicians, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies and government agencies dominate American health care, with patients largely left out of the process. Imagine a different system, where, with the aid of the Internet, electronic medical records, cell phones, and remote monitoring devices, the patient is in charge. People monitor their own weight, blood pressure, pulse, and sugar levels, and send test results via remote devices to health care providers. Patients take responsibility for their routine health care and rely on physicians and hospitals for more serious medical conditions.
On October 8, The Brookings Institution hosted a policy forum to discuss how digital technology could empower patients and enhance the American health care system. Brookings Vice President Darrell West presented a paper, Customer-Driven Medicine: How To Create A New Health Care System, and a panel of experts explored ways to create a more personalized system of health care that improves quality while also reducing costs.