This is a defining time for healthcare. As costs continue to rise and our understanding of the root causes of poor health deepens, it’s clear that advancing health today means doing things differently from yesterday.
We need fresh thinking, new energy, and a return to core questions. Is our healthcare system fair? Is it sustainable? What is our responsibility as an industry for ensuring the health of our communities? And at its most basic, what is health?
It’s time to intensify our focus on equity, transformative care for all patients, and growing the models that work. That’s where HealthCity comes in.
Where we are today
Healthcare spending in the United States is expected to hit nearly $3.9 trillion in 2019, and yet we're not getting any healthier.
Rates of obesity and diabetes are at an all-time high. Our decades-long progress in reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease has slowed. Suicide rates are rising, and fatal overdoses — many of them fueled by the opioid epidemic — are skyrocketing. For the first time since World War I, U.S. life expectancy has declined for several years in a row.
Effective treatments and interventions exist for these ills and more — but barriers keep millions from accessing them. Nearly a decade after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 27 million nonelderly Americans are still without health insurance. Medicaid eligibility and benefits are under attack in statehouses across the country. And just under 40 million people are living in poverty, many of them struggling to secure stable housing or enough food for their families.
Despite spending the equivalent of Germany's GDP on healthcare each year, we're failing as a society to provide the means and opportunities that people need to stay healthy and well.
A way forward
Now for the good news. The legion of people dedicated to righting these inequities and reimagining healthcare is broader and more diverse than ever before.
Providers, researchers, policymakers, funders, business leaders, and community organizations of all kinds are weaving together their expertise to uncover, understand, and address the systemic barriers to health. Important conversations — about poverty, housing, racism, violence, trauma, mental health, and more — are taking place across domains and silos. New connections are being made.
HealthCity was born to hasten those connections and fuel those conversations. A project of the Boston Medical Center Health System, HealthCity is an online platform dedicated to exploring the most pressing issues in healthcare today. Through commentary, discussion, and original reporting, we'll shine a light on the gaps and the success stories we see.
Transformation is a team effort
Our home, Boston Medical Center, is the largest safety-net hospital in New England. We wear the safety net label proudly because of the mission and the responsibility it represents.
But perhaps it's time to retire the label. We don't want to catch people when they're already falling. We want to be part of a cross-sector effort that reimagines healthcare — through innovations in clinical care, public policy, and the healthcare business itself.
Join us. We know we can't go it alone. Tackling systemic problems requires partnerships, persistence, and an eagerness to share insights and learn from each other. HealthCity isn't a solution, but we hope it makes the flow of ideas just a little bit freer and our actions a little more urgent.