By Cecilia Arradaza, Communications Director, FasterCures
In yesterday's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne makes the case that this year, is "healthcare's year." He claims "this is the year Congress will finally give every American access to health insurance." As "healthcare reform," mainly healthcare coverage, continues to rise to the top of the nation's domestic priorities, the biomedical research industry needs to continue to work fast and furious to ensure that we will actually have available the safe and effective drugs and devices that we've worked so hard to get covered.
The process of bringing drugs to market is laborious, complex, and lengthy. Shareholder-driven entities and public organizations need to take high risks. Advocacy groups need to be armed with the right tools to support and scrutinize. Healthcare consumers need to understand and appreciate what medical research entails and be willing participants in the process, ideally before they become patients. Medical providers need to be able to go beyond the six-minute window they have to "deliver care" and actually provide patients with easy-to-grasp information that will empower them to make right decisions and engage them in the process of finding a cure.
At FasterCures, our efforts focus on finding new medical solutions by seeking ways to disentangle conflicting incentives that permeate the medical research environment, misaligned priorities, and often, misplaced regulation. We share this commitment with numerous like-minded organizations. But we can't continue talking among ourselves. We need diverse voices because disease and disability knows no bounds.
We need effective messengers championing our cause. Athletes and actors have amplified healthcare messages and most of them have done so because they, too, have been struck by the lack or absence of treatment options. We need leaders from other industries to understand the need not just for healthcare coverage but also for medical solutions and become engaged advocates. We need Jesse Dylan and those like him. As profiled in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Dylan gives those of us working to address the many challenges facing medical research - hope. Because he gets it. He gets the complexity of science, the challenges of the research, and more importantly, he gets the need to package this for the shrinking attention span of the YouTube and Twitter generation.
Late last year, Dylan had participated in a FasterCures leadership forum on social and cure entrepreneurship (thanks to ScienceCommon's John Wilbanks for connecting him to us). The forum's discussion bounced back and forth between the need for more information and the centrality of patients and the transformative nature of empowering them to play a greater role in research. And throughout the day, he aptly reminded us that efforts to fix our broken healthcare and health cure systems must include simple, short, and sensible messages.
We need more un-scientists experimenting with science.
P.S. Coming Soon: FasterCures' report "From Social Entrepreneurship to Cure Entrepreneurship" -- watch this space!